In college, I lived for a year in a trailer with a guy on the soccer team named Smitty. Smitty had been a conference all-star the year before, but in the year I lived with him he fell into a season-long goal-scoring slump. Maybe it was the trailer’s proximity to the Long Trail Tavern right across Route 100. Maybe it was the series of keg parties we had at the trailer. Maybe it was the trailer itself. The year before, Smitty and I had both lived on campus, within the comforting institutional embrace of the college, and now here we were subsisting on three-for-a-dollar boxes of macaroni and cheese in a narrow thin-walled rectangle on wheels, exactly the kind of place that I kept encountering in my study of contemporary fiction as a site of things going terribly wrong. Nothing went terribly wrong in our trailer that I was aware of, but I was always partially braced for it, and then after I moved on to other living arrangements I retained that half-braced posture toward life, even on up to the present moment. Maybe something similar happened to Smitty, and it affected his goal-scoring abilities. Read the rest of this entry ?