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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

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Feven Getachew
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Michael Lozada
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Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
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Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
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Don’t get stung at the wasp’s nest

Steve Yang

Cribz - Alberto Vazquez
Pyzik posing with her art-covered walls. Photo by Alberto Vasquez.

Welcome to the Wasp’s Nest, home of Editor-in-Chief Kelly Pyzik ’16. Located at 1205 Broad Street, the Wasp’s Nest is beautifully decorated, relatively elevated and carefully protected by the multitude of aggressive wasps that swarm around the covered staircase attached to the house.  Yet, within its cozy interior, Pyzik has made this space truly her own — a fortress that she defends fearlessly from sting-happy intruders lurking outside.

“It’s a constant battle of wits. … At night, I have to open the door, stick an arm out and spray the shit out of the whole staircase with wasp spray,” Pyzik described. “A bunch of them will come out buzzing, fall to the ground … sort of seizing. Then I shut the door, I lock it and in the morning I sweep away the corpses.”

Pyzik is the sole resident of the Wasp’s Nest, which makes it a play on words, as it is also arguably the elevated home of a white, anglo-saxon protestant. Pyzik explained that she always has company, even when she isn’t holding potlucks with friends, making use of her luxurious countertop square footage. 

“I never truly feel alone because there are so many bugs. Most of them hang out in the covered staircase, but sometimes they come inside for dinner,” she said.

Bugs that wander in have the chance to enjoy the lovingly arranged artwork all over the walls, which imbues a sense of hominess and comfort.

“The space that I live in is very important to me, so there’s been a lot of curation that has gone on,” Pyzik said.

One piece sitting opposite the door, for example, is a surrealist drawing that depicts a tree and a raft adrift in the middle of the ocean — the middle of the tree is filled with blood vessels. Behind the tree is a sideways hourglass, and a screaming moon, behind the horizon of the ocean that looks to be shouting “Kill me, I want to die” or drinking in the ocean, as Pyzik described.

“My best friend and I made it, and … I just really love how perfectly weird it turned out. Everybody sort of sees the same thing, but it creates a different story in everyone’s brain, and they’re all sort of equally frightening,” Pyzik recalled. “It’s tilted intentionally: the first thing was the tree in the corner, and we just decided that it was the way that made the most sense to orient it.”

Opposite the drawing resides a somewhat torn poster of Halloween Hugo Sanchez, an advertisement for an event at a gay bar in Madrid, Spain. There is more to the bright green and purple poster with the oiled and muscular man than first meets the eye, however — Pyzik explained that it is the prize from an unforgettable night with Susanne Bushman ’16.

“We were walking through downtown Madrid and we saw this poster on the outside of the building, and it was just incredible. We were absolutely amazed at its imagery, and I was like, ‘I have to have that poster,’” Pyzik said. “We had spent several hours at a tapas bar, and the promoter who had just put up the poster was on the other side of the street. We just ripped it down and just booked it. I carried it around for the rest of the night and brought it home to the States.” 

Life at 1205 Broad was not always meant to be. Pyzik explained that a previous arrangement to live in apartment with friends did not work out, but this apartment fit both of her basic qualifications: big and clean. Although there is enough room for a king-sized mattress, sacrifices were made with the size of the stove, a source of puzzlement that forced Pyzik to buy smaller baking sheets to accommodate this oddity.

“My stove isn’t a normal size. It’s absurdly six inches less wide than a normal stove, [but] there’s definitely room for another six inches,” she said. “It’s a really slender stove, a Stove Mini.”

Behind the stove is a classic piece of Americana: yellowing wallpaper with apple branches creeping down its length, which led Meghan McDermott ’15 to nickname the apartment “Scary 1970’s Murder House.” Despite its weirdness, Pyzik says that she has slowly “grown to appreciate it and accept it for what it is.”

But perhaps it is the apples that keep the doctor away. Pyzik credits the fact she hasn’t gotten sick for almost the entire year to living outside the dorms and limiting her germ exposure. In addition to her improved health, however, she adds that the Wasp’s Nest hosted one of the best nights of her last semester at Grinnell — pre-gaming for Disco.

“I have all these crazy lights I slowly acquired, my stepdad lent me his really awesome speaker system for the year, and it finally all came to its peak the night of disco,” Pyzik said. “We just turned on all the cool lights, bumped the bass, and danced on my purple carpet. It was beautiful and everything I’d hoped and dreamed for.”

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