Saturday, August 23, 2008

They're Baaaaaack!

The quiet that is COMO has come to an end over this past week. The kids are back. They've staked their claim on our coffee shops, bars, and parking garages. The quiet is no more.

Like all college towns, once the spring semester ends (or do we call it "winter" here?), things slow down and get really quiet. There's always a spot to sit in the coffee shop or room at the bar. The streets are relatively quiet and safe. Our town's population feels the effects of losing 20,000 bodies every summer.

Then, they come back. And they have a profound effect on our lives. Everything we've taken for granted over the summer is now gone. We are now on guard as the invasion begins.

Don't get me wrong. I like the injection of youthful exuberance COMO gets with beginning of every semester. There are good kids out there that keep the town up on trends, in touch with the beauty around them, and supporting great music. However, this is not the majority of college students. The majority have a rather adverse effect on little COMO.

Here are a few examples of how life will change in the coming weeks...

I still get carded. Never mind that I go into Arena Liquors on a regular basis. Forget that I routinely purchase bombers of top-of-the-line beers whose 22 ounces are equivalent to half a case of whatever swill college kids consider to be beer these days. The guy behind the register at Arena laughed as he checked my ID the other day. He explained, "We have to check now that the kids are back. And I just noticed your gray hair as I handed back your ID." Thanks for noticing, bub.

As you may or may not know, my nine-month-pregnant partner works for the university. She had to drop off some things on campus this week and was nearly run over in her parking garage. You see, the students have parking on the upper-most floors and often like to speed to the top with little regard for whomever might be trying to reach their own cars. Thanks, dude. Now I worry every time R has to leave the house and navigate the streets within a mile radius of campus. All that I can picture is a jackass in Mommy and Daddy's SUV making illegal u-turns and speeding through stop signs in order to reach the bar so as to have enough time to pound one more Natty Light.

This one happened to me two years ago. The Friday before classes started, my co-workers and I decided to head downtown for a happy hour. On my way home, I was pulled over for what was arguably no traffic violation whatsoever. The problem for me was that my car was covered with rock band and progressive bumper stickers. It screamed, "I'm a nasty college kid who has no regard for your silly traffic laws. Stop me before I cause an accident." Luckily for me, I am way more persistent than the average Joe College and fought the ticket. Three months later, my record was clean. But the point is that I was profiled as a college kid and it almost cost me a fine and raised insurance rates.

I don't mean to sound like a crotchety, old man, but I sort of am. Several students at Mizzou have been very good to me and have won permanent places in my partner's heart, but I can't help but to complain about the effect it has on the place in which I live when the college kids return for the school year. So, just beware that they're back and will be around through March '09.

1 comment:

ATR said...

Ah, yes. I recall the late summer of 1999, as a newly arrived Columbian, I drove around town thinking, "Hey, this is great. Not much traffic, easy parking, it's relatively safe walking around downtown (this is BD (before "The District")), no hassles with crowds. Awesome."

A week later, it was like Daytona Beach in March. Okay, maybe that's a stretch, but, it was a remarkable change in climate, really. I'll never forget it, that first return.

I totally feel you, man.