How not to do the Plattsburgh Walk of Shame
1982 Plattsburgh Memory?
The ease of high school over, college was going to take some doing. So I had great angst entering Plattsburgh State as a Computer Science student and feared that I wouldn’t have the goods. Things did work out, but the pivotal unraveling actually played out memorably on the famed Plattsburgh Walk of Shame. I think…
In other words, I’m sure not if the crescendo that drew the drama to a close actually happened. But all the motivations and uncertainties were there. So I’m going for it.
In case we must, let’s define. The walk of shame is when someone goes back home the morning after hooking up with someone, typically after much partying and wearing the same clothes from the night before.
Unfamiliar to me and before ever bearing judgmental witness with my peers during Saturday or Sunday brunch, I was dialed into Pascal. I wrote simple Basic code in high school but coding in the big leagues - who knew?
Those first few weeks, slowly learning the language, I was dying. I needed to know now if there’s was any future. Otherwise, if couldn’t master the lexicon, the adventure of Plattsburgh would soon be a distant memory.
Yes, I over dramatize and just because I know myself, doesn’t mean I can deal. My hands tied, all I could do was wait patiently. Yeah, I ain’t so good at that either.
Nonetheless, I participated in all parts of the decedent extracurricular activities. Weekends that started downtown on Wednesday, late night laughter with Bruce and George in 51C and the excessive dorm blowouts - we were the lords of all creation. Of course, all the gory details were dutifully examined, and the best venue was weekend Brunch at Clinton Dining Hall.
A bunch of 18 year old boys, we had little restraint, and the location only added to the sophomoric discourse. At the far end of campus, returning from anywhere meant walking past Clinton. Thus, the walk of shame was front and center.
Let’s start with the girls, and the unfair adolescent judgments that we meted out. All disheveled, was she with boyfriend or involved in something much less permanent?
Either way, the veterans knew how to feign the proper level of indifference. An uncaring walk, the noncommittal lear through the glass and easy look away conveyed her message. I was with my boyfriend, and I could care less what you hard up losers think.
Ouch, you go girl.
My optics weren’t going so well, though and the learning curve seemed unending. My roommates weren’t enjoying my anxiety either but cut me plenty of slack.
The first programming assignment finally came and what a monumental endeavor. Read in a series of grades, sort and compute an average - Alan Turing himself would have winced.
I went to work nonetheless, and into the drama, came a complexity of the age. We only got two hours a day on the Burroughs B-6800.
Literally on the clock - the minutes would tick down before your eyes. You also had to find off-hours like Friday night or weekend mornings to slog through.
Even so, I had more to learn at Clinton. What was expected of a guy on the walk. Staring down and shaking your head wasn’t a good look, and said, the all nighter didn’t fully develop.
Fruition, though, still required that you didn’t tip your hand. A slight slouch, a leisurely pace and you avoid eye contact. This way a sense of old hat had came across, because you didn’t want to look like this was the first time you kissed a girl.
That was obviously going to be my cross to bear. Still, I had other things to worry about and fortunately my algorithm looked good on paper. On the computer however, compilations errors, run time errors and logical errors derailed my optimism.
In short, I was doomed.
On the other hand, I’m pretty persistent and the scarcity of CPU time didn’t deter me. Friday and Saturday night sent me home early so I could queue up in the morning.
I inched closer. But Saturday crunch time elapsing, the Monday due date loomed and the Sunday morning showdown arrived. Hammering away at the keyboard, the sorted numbers suddenly came scrolling across the screen - and wait for it… Class average : 00
The four letter words came out in full force. But my future was at hand, and several keystrokes later, the force of my intellect exploded the final two digits on the screen. The lords of all creation? I was a conquering hero and here to stay. Brunch time baby !
But remember, all roads lead back, and in my state of elation, I completely forgot the shameful protocol. Now on the other side of the glass, eye contact was in order and finding my fifth floor compatriots meant only one reaction would do.
Dropping my cross, I threw my arms in the air, and there you have it, how not to do the Plattsburgh walk of shame. I can only imagine how the elders reacted.
So did my little dance actually happen. Well, a few years ago I was recalling that first shining moment in the computer room, and the desire I probably had to share my triumph and utter relief. I definitely walked path and most assuredly looked into to see my friends. Thus, it occurred to me that my arms may have very well shot up in oblivious abandon.
Now I could see if any of my friends remember, but why let the facts get in the way of a good story.
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