The problem with living in a college town is that you have four months of gorgeous summer to forget that you live in a college town. (Ironically, this is also the problem with living in Michigan in general…four solid months of warm weather that allows you to forget that the other eight are below zero.)
All summer long, you can walk, drive, bike, eat, shop without a care in the world.
And then comes September. Anywhere you look there’s exposed skin and mid-afternoon underage drinking, I-pods and earbuds and excess stupidity. Kids who have had nothing better to do all summer but run to amplify the perfectness of their still teenage bodies and lay out for endless hours to improve their tans, and of course spend Mommy and Daddy’s money on new clothes, shoes, Coach bags and enough make-up to camouflage a cow.
In no time we can add to this clever group the infamous leggings/Uggs combination, since winter immediately follows the return of undergrads in this glorious town we call Ann Arbor.
And now they’re back. They’re walking in the middle of streets and throwing red Dixie cups at passers-by. They’re tossing footballs over cars and playing their ipods loud enough to get the cops called. They’re wandering around like lost little doe-eyed sheep when alone but confident as vultures in large groups. They’re obnoxious.
And what’s worse? Their parents are here too. For this first fantastic week before Labor Day, the parents drive their sweet babies to their new big city school.
And their parents are the ones who, rather than stop or just keep going at a crosswalk will slow down to the point where I have to fully stop on my bike, then continue along their way once they’ve made sure I’ll have to work extra hard to make it home today. Their parents are the ones who demand different seats in the restaurants because “this table has a little something on it” or “that table has better lighting.” Their parents are the ones who unload their luggage into the middle of the street while their precious little angel is carrying a bookshelf up the stairs in her miniskirt and heels, and then wonder what all the drivers are getting annoyed at.
To ensure me that all of Ann Arbor is excited for the return of the undergrads, I actually saw my three favorite Ann Arborites today, for the first time this year. The bikini wearing, bicycle riding homeless man. And the pinkie holding, tie-dye shirt wearing unicyclist couple. Ahh...college towns.