“I am exhausted,” I said to every person who asked how I was doing during the first week and a half of the semester. Naturally, the question-askers wanted to know why I was exhausted, and my answer was simple: the Princeton Triangle Club’s 2020 tour of “Once Uponzi Time.”
In reality, the answer wasn’t that simple. Fifty-four students and our trusty chaperone/icon, Delia, had just spent a week stuffed inside a coach bus, traveling from the Orange Bubble down to Miami, Fla., and back — getting off the bus only to go into a theater to set up, perform, and tear down our show in about 12 hours. Five times we did this — each time in a new city — so of course I was exhausted. Everyone was exhausted, especially after we arrived at our dorm rooms at the end of the week at approximately 4 a.m. on the Sunday before classes started.
But “exhausted” only captured my state of being after the tour. During tour week, I was, in fact, tired, but only if I stopped to think about it. And I rarely had the time to stop and think about it. I was too busy putting on a show for each of the satellite Orange Bubbles — the local Princeton alumni associations — that hosted us. Though, more importantly, I was too busy enjoying the company of the Triangle company to feel exhausted.
As this was my first tour with Triangle, I had no idea what to expect for the week, but that didn’t end up mattering because I couldn’t have ever dreamed of the incredible whirlwind of tour.
Thanks to a brief informational blurb sourced from Wikipedia, I learned that we can all technically be considered residents of Silver Spring, Md. Because Silver Spring is an unincorporated area, its borders are not officially defined. As a proud adopted son of Silver Spring, Md., I went outside to explore the town exactly one time, for about 30 seconds, when I accidentally walked through the wrong door of the theater. As a member of Triangle’s tech crew, and specifically the Master Electrician, I spent nearly the entire day going up and down stairs between the stage and the catwalks in order to make sure the actors’ faces could be seen. That being said, I at least had a spectacular view of the Washington Monument from the bed in my alumnus host’s 10th floor Logan Circle apartment.
I would not recommend spending more than 10 hours on a bus, but if you must, having more than 50 of your at-first-forced-but-eventually-voluntary friends with you definitely makes it better. Eventually, when the bus finally stops for the night, they will enlighten you to the fact that Cracker Barrel’s chicken fried chicken might actually just be James Bond saying “fried chicken.”
This was the day I nearly broke down, and it was entirely my fault. One of our standard models of lighting instruments has shutters, which allow the user to adjust the shape of the beam of light depending on how the shutters are moved. If closed all the way, no light escapes even if the lamp inside is set to its highest intensity. I spent about 30 minutes troubleshooting the programming of an LED instrument, which I thought wouldn’t turn on, before I accidentally touched the side of the lamp’s housing and felt its warmth. It had been on the whole time — I had just forgotten to open the shutters. On the upside, other Triangle members asked me over our walkie-talkies if I had eaten dinner so many times that the question eventually became a meme that lived on throughout the week.
At the end of this day, I entered a house unlike any other. Our gracious host told the six Triangle boys staying at his house that we were his most famous guests this month. Next month, however, he was to host Pete Buttigieg for a reception. We were in the wine cave. Earlier in the night, we had been driven in a white passenger van to this house with a group of four girls staying at a neighboring house. What transpired at the girls’ homestay is its own long story, but it changed the rest of the tour. The only sign of their host was some eggs, boiling in a pot on the stove one moment and then fully cooked and in a bowl on the counter when they returned to the kitchen a few moments later.
I broke one of the eggs. Three other Triangle members and I decided to run to a coffee shop while everyone else boarded the bus. Unfortunately, we overestimated how long it would take everyone to load onto the bus, so we arrived late. As the four of us boarded the bus, everyone else understandably chanted “Shame!” I rushed to sit down and accidentally sat on one hard-boiled egg inside a Ziploc bag. However, the egg was under a blanket, so I didn’t notice it until later during the bus ride, when the girls who had stayed at the egg-house told the story of the the hard-boiled eggs. At a pivotal moment in the retelling of the story, the egg was beckoned as evidence. It was at this moment that I discovered the hard-boiled egg, cracked and flattened under my leg. From that moment, the egg became the symbol of the tour. I’m not sure where “UWU” came from, but from that same moment, it was no longer Triangle’s 2020 tour — it was the UWU Egg Tour 2020.
I missed the opportunity while on tour to shout “I’m going to Disney World!” like NFL players do after winning the Super Bowl. But we went to Disney World, and the tech team was too fascinated by the mechanics of the Haunted Mansion to be scared.
It was our last show. It went well. I saw Atlanta only during the two minutes I spent walking between the theater and the coffee shop next to the theater. When I went to bed that night, I could hardly believe that the tour was about to end.
But the UWU Egg Tour 2020 wasn’t going out without a bang. We left Atlanta early in the morning and stayed on the bus (with some short breaks along the way) until we arrived at the warehouse over 12 hours later at approximately 2 a.m. However, we still couldn’t return to our dorm beds because we first needed to unload the semi-truck into the warehouse. It wasn’t until 4:30 a.m. that I finally climbed into bed, marking the end of the tour.
I woke up by noon on the Sunday before spring semester classes started, and I was exhausted. But I was also very happy.