By Rising Tide, alias Hannah Drummond, and Budding Oak, alias Jenette Kloss
First beginning during our expedition and continuing in the yurt village, Arcadia, the Adirondack semester students of 2012 have adopted a method of classifying fun. Although this might seem odd to some, our assistant director Mabel, sometimes known as Emma Carlson, introduced us to the “types of fun” system while we were getting to know each other. Our group is very lighthearted and during fits of laughter one of us will shout out a type of fun from the list of five, making us all succumb to even more giggling. The levels of fun categorization system can be applied to a variety of situations that occur here at the yurt village in our daily life.
The generic definition of fun is type 1: good ol’ plain fun, and you know it when you see it. Surprisingly, this can often be applied to our academic classes. This past week (the first week of classes for us) we spent an afternoon exploring our back yard in canoes. If you didn’t know, Arcadia is located on the shores of Lake Massawepie, near the town of Tupper. We were able to see our lake through the eyes of a fish living in it: temperature, water clarity, oxygen saturation, ph. levels, and the like. What a difference there is between learning in a lecture and learning by sticking your hands in goopy green lake sediment. The three-plus hours of class flew by, especially when we jumped into the water to go snorkeling.
Sometimes, despite your best intentions, you just have to laugh at your peers. This is Type 2 fun. On the expedition, we came up with the brilliant idea of reinventing ourselves. Once at Arcadia, this culminated in a naming ceremony. Individuals were sent out of the community yurt while the rest of the group deliberated on that person’s new name. The two of us, for example, became Rising Tide and Budding Oak. Type 2 fun occurred when our exhausted, overworked director Doug declined our invitation to join us at the naming ceremony so that he could rest instead. Since he still needed a name, the group unanimously decided to dub him Dismal Pond, which is in fact a real place. Much to his chagrin, and our collective amusement, this name has stuck.
We hope that everyone has experienced the next type of fun at some point or another. Type 3 is when the hilarity of a situation overcomes the voice of reason. Another word for this condition is slap-happy. At Arcadia, this occurs most often at meal times. The twelve students and two assistant directors eat family meals three times a day. The culminating effect of all our unique and dynamic personalities leads to uncontrollable laughter often. At this stage the laughing usually snowballs out of control. Annoying to an outsider? Possibly. Unavoidable for us? Definitely. A recent example: for the past week we have been sharing the boy scout camp with another college. Despite there being plenty of open space and wilderness to share, a recurring joke at meal time concerns Kalamazoo College and one particular male student whom we have renamed (see Fun Type 2) the Massawepie Heartthrob. (Heartthrob, if you’re reading this, you are wanted in the kitchen. We have saved you a seat at the table.)
Type four fun often makes for the best of stories. It’s defined as not fun now but fun later or fun now, but not fun later. A routine part of Arcadian life is our effort to wash away the mud, dirt, and sweat which we accumulate over the days. A very effective way of cleaning is to take a sauna. However, being the young, crazy, college students that we are, we often decide to do a “smoke out” at the end of a sauna session. If you are not familiar with sauna terms, this means that all the water is poured onto the piping hot stones, increasing the temperature by what seems like 50 degrees, until your face begins to burn and it hurts to breathe. The goal is to suffer inside the sauna for as long as possible, at which point you bolt outside and jump into the nice cool lake. Once in the water you instantly feel refreshed and the “not fun” becomes “fun.”
The final type of fun is an odd one. It can be defined as not fun now, not fun later, but since it is classified, then by nature it must be fun. We have debated over what a possible example of this could be, and have come up empty-handed. Perhaps the only real example will be when we must leave our home of Arcadia. But it’s not fun to think about that now.