Every couple of years it’s nice to go back to the institution that now refers to me as “Borrower.” I owe it to my alma mater, UC Santa Cruz. Stepping foot on a college campus now that I’m 28 makes me appreciate how far I have come.
On a recent visit my girlfriend and I traversed through a large chunk of the 2,000 acre campus. I acted as tour guide pointing out my dorm and the health clinic that gives away free condoms. We admired the redwoods and the sensational views of Monterrey Bay and the Pacific Ocean. I felt very nostalgic but the more I looked at the students whizzing by us, the more I felt out of place. Between the sweats and pajama bottoms, I felt like I was staring at a sea of Lena Dunhams. The student body changed as well. I started our tour trying to spot the Jews. I left the tour trying to spot the whites. At one of the colleges I noticed two white guys throwing a football. At that moment I felt like I was truly back on campus, especially when one overthrew the other by a good five yards. I hearkened back to the time I accidentally tossed a football that grazed a pregnant woman in the back. College…
Because we would soon leave to visit my girlfriend’s sister at Stanford, I decided to play a game of “Which Campus has the Hottest Student Body.” I noticed a striking brunette with red lip stick. “She’s hot.” I told my girlfriend. My girlfriend shot me a look of disgust. And that was the end of that game.
In an effort to stay true to my college experience we saw more of my smoke spots than we saw of lecture halls. After walking across wooden bridges through the forest my girlfriend seemed to have a favorable impression of UC Santa Cruz. I waited for her return from the bathroom before we would drive up to see her sister at Stanford. “There’s poo on the toilet seat,” she cried.
We left for Stanford soon after. For a school filled with geniuses you would think they also would know how to flush a toilet. Older and seemingly wiser, I flushed a genius’ pee. Like Santa Cruz, it was difficult to find many white people until we reached frat row, the surprising location of my girlfriend sister’s vegetarian cooperative. Walking to greet her sister, we noticed a student hanging upside down from a tire tied to a tree. A few others wearing tie-dye gathered around picnic tables drinking beer. Conversation centered around the line up for Coachella. The majority of acts like Stone Roses, Grizzly Bear, and Bingo Players sounded like names of other vegetarian coops.
After seeing my girlfriend’s sister’s debut as director/playwright of “Terminus 2 Terminus” set aboard the Paris Metro, we found ourselves invited to a wine tasting in our honor at the coop. My girlfriend and I sat Indian style in a 10 x 13 dorm room with 30 others waiting to taste $5 merlots.
“Where do you guys go to school?” I was asked by a freshman girl sitting next to me.
“We go to work,” I explained nicely.
Sampling the wines was different this time. This was the first time I poured wine not in my mouth, but out the window. By no fault of my own, a half a bottle of red spilled on the carpet and onto my girlfriend’s leggings. One of the stars of “Terminus 2 Terminus” sat in the wine puddle, not seeming to mind at all.
In college it’s fine and acceptable to glide around in pajama bottoms, not flush toilets, and sit in wine. It’s this kind of attitude that most seems to exemplify college. I’m just not in college anymore, but it's good to remember I once was….(cue: sound of toilet flushing).