So I set a fire in the Juilliard School tonight. It wasn't on purpose, of course, and nothing burned down.
Ya see, what had happened was ... at a party for Group 36 (the 2006-2007 fourth year drama students), Nate - formerly number 14 of the Duke University Men's Basketball Team and the fiance of my best friend and fourth-year Juilliard student, Tokii - had removed the chocolate on his chocolate-covered strawberries and had left the uneaten chocolate on a nearby table. He doesn't like chocolate, which I find to be absolutely absurd and an unacceptable quality in any human being. To be honest, that dislike for chocolate alone has me wondering what Tokii sees in him ... ok - aside from being attractive, charming, successful and witty. All the things that some women want.
In any case, upon realizing that he had cast the chocolate aside, I walked over to the table, moved the napkin placed atop his plate, and transferred the foolishly discarded chocolate to my own plate. A few minutes later, as I was gleefully consuming my own chocolate-covered strawberries and Nate's chocolate shells, one of Tokii classmates motioned to the table: "Fire!"
Sure enough, the napkin I had moved was on fire as I had inadvertently placed it too close to one of a few dozen tea candles in the middle of the table. As her classmate extinguished the fire with bottled water, I leaned over to Tokii and yelled over the music, "I think I did that."
"The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire," Jamario chanted with his beer held high in the air. The night continued without mishap. I sipped wine, snacked on finger foods and groved to hip hop music unaware that a longstanding Juilliard tradition was looming.
We heard shrieks as the members of Group 36 came running from the lobby wearing nothing or as little as they felt comfortable wearing. They raced around the party twice surrounded by laughter and screams at the sight. I sat there with my jaw dropped as I watched everything bounce and flap by. What better way to celebrate and honor the completion of four years of intense drama study and training? There is no purer form.
Now that I have seen most of Group 36 naked, I feel like my becoming-a-New-Yorker experience is nearly fulfilled. And it has become one of the reasons why I think the Juilliard School is the coolest school ever. I can think of 15 specific reasons, but things happen there that - while deemed illegal in most states - become magical.