The other day I was on a city bus and a stranger started talking to me, as strangers are wont to do. He mentioned he had gone to Berkeley, and the conversation traveled to where we had hung out, and where we had lived, when he mentioned he had lived in the same co-op that I had. Without even hesitating, my gut reaction was to bust out with the following line:
"fuck shit up"
and he laughed knowingly
We were 6 years apart.
I found this both bizarre and comforting. I mean, it's been years and years since I lived in Cloyne Court. But without even thinking I yelled out this wholly ridiculous catch phrase. For a second I had a wholly transporting moment in which I remembered living in this huge, crazy, dirty, disorganized, indulgent and occasionally destructive environment, and loving it. I found it comforting that the man sitting next to me had apparently had the same experience.
And it was timely that when I came into work today somebody I worked with pointed out the following headline:
Now I never truly lived in Le Chateau. But I spent a bit of time there. And it was part of the same system and of the same ilk, in many ways as the house I lived in.
When I read some of the claims:
"flinging chunks of a cooked pig" and "beheading a chicken with garden shears" I started to laugh. My general reaction to people who would complain about the Noise at Cloyne was "don't buy a house next door to 150 college students and next door to a university"
I also approached these allegations with a grain of salt: Did I believe that the residents of Le Chateau flung pig at others. Yes. Hell Yes. Did I believe they beheaded a chicken, a LIVE chicken, with Kitchen Shears"? No. Not really. The first strikes me as immature and irreverent, and when imagined in certain scenarios, sort of funny. The other just strikes me as gross and violent and a little out of the league of your average drunken college student.
Or perhaps I don't want to believe it. I mean I still regard those days in my past as fun and funny and formative and mostly harmless. I felt a bit defensive about those students, even though I wholly believed they might have done some damage and that they might need to be held responsible for their actions.
I mean, hell, random acts of vandalism offend me and I tend to reserve destruction for only my most necessary and demonstrative moments. Buts that's another story.
I guess the point is: college students are not wholly formed adults. Sure, they legally vote and fuck. Sure, they are responsible, legally, for all sorts of shit. But as 30 becomes the new 20 and people breed later and later and kids are apt to stay dependent singletons well into their mid twenties, you gotta admit: the social and interpersonal needs of a college student tend to be different than your average 30 year old.
As such, you should expect them, from time to time, to, ehem "fuck shit up"
Hell, you should respect them for it the same way you should respect a certain level of teenage rebellion.
And you shouldn't live next door to them if you can help it.
And while you have every right to walk down a street in the Campus area of Berkeley and not expect to be whacked in the face by flying pork, should you really approach the situation the same way you would if you were in...say...downtown Charleston? And if, say, your uptight persnickety neighbor were to the recipient of such flying pig action, shouldn't you find it just a little bit funny?