Since I started college several years ago, I've come to realize that college culture is extremely unique. I grew up in Albuquerque, and continue to live here. But the image I had growing up, even visiting the university back then, and my perspective as that of college student now are two vastly different things.
College is like its own little world, stuck in the middle of a city that is very different from it.
Mostly, I think, what sets colleges so far apart from the cities in which they reside is the people. Sure, there's the usual college crowd, people straight out of high school who think they're all grown up. Freshman, who seem to get younger every year, are lots of fun. They start out timid, then grow confident, then grow stupid, and then finally start to grow into real people. It's fascinating.
Then, too, there are the older students, graduate or otherwise, who have grown accustomed to the system and numb to it. And finally, there's my favorite of the student crowd, the older adults who return to get an education after getting sick of the career they had, and want to start fresh.
There's all sorts of interesting people. And lest I forget, there's also a wide variety of bums around campus, to beg or provide some sort of amusement. Bums are rarely memorable, and something tells me they like to stay that way. The memorable ones can be either funny or annoying, depending on your mood.
The college newspaper published an editorial last semester that I found wildly amusing. The author spoke out against the "dancing burnout losers" on campus. I must admit, I love that phrase, it cracks me up.
The first "dancing burnout loser" that comes to mind is a guy who I think is a student, at least on occasion. He wears bad retro clothes and cheesy derby hats. He started out with a portable CD player with portable speakers and has graduated to a huge portable boom box, which he plays at full volume outside. The "music" is supposedly stuff he mixes himself, and he wants to show the world that there is music to listen to! Philanthropic, eh? So anyway, as his music blasts, he stands by it and dances in little circles, trying to do rave moves to it. He only knows a few moves, so it's pretty repetitive.
Our next contestant is a rather large character. Apparently, this guy never made it into the new millennium. Nay, not even the 90's. This guy screams 80's from the moment you see him. He wears a hat sideways, bright clothing contrasted with black, a giant bling necklace (by giant, I mean it covers approximately half his girth), and big black sunglasses. His costume comes replete with an old school boom box, the kind that only sports a cassette deck and radio tuner, from which blasts 80's rap for all to hear. To top it off, he perches the boom box on his shoulder and struts around campus in a slow saunter.
Next up is a guy who is actually quite peaceful. Yes, it's the Hare Krishna guy, who sits outside the parking building and plays his guitar and croons about peace and harmony. He's actually pretty good, but all his goodwill goes unnoticed, as people seem to get annoyed by him, and start yelling at him. Personally, I like the guy.
And last, but not least, comes the newest player to this arena. This guy is middle aged, or thereabouts. He comes to campus in jeans and a tee shirt, and also wears a light windbreaker or baseball jacket. He also wears a hat. If he's sounding pretty normal, don't be fooled. He picks a spot, sets down his bag, and then breaks out the walkman. On go the headphones, on goes the power, and off he goes, singing loudly to the music in his ears. Quite often, it's Oldies he sings, the Beatles being one of his favorites. Tolerable, you might think, on the condition that someone can sing. However, he's terribly tone deaf. This doesn't stop him from belting out those tunes at the top of his voice, and smiling at everyone who passes him by.
As I look back over this list, I see that none of the contestants are women. To be honest, no women around campus do anything of the sort. In fact, very few of the bums are women, interestingly enough. The only ones who come to mind are the following: the lady missing half her teeth who forever went around asking for change for the bus, the lady who would sit somewhere indoors and clear out the area in a matter of minutes, and the lady who would go to the library, put on her music on the computer, sew her clothing/bedding, and sing so that everyone in the library could hear her.
Wow. What a unique place college can be.