The balcony of my apartment these past few months has provided me with an opportunity to play Jane Goodall, and in the past three weeks I’ve collected enough information on the wildlife of I.V. to write a dissertation on human evolution to rival that of Darwin’s Origin of Species.
Some of the things I’ve seen make me realize that it’s no wonder people look at the student population of I.V. and denounce it as New Sodom.
The other night was a perfect example. After coming home from a long day of classes and work, I barely had time to pop in a CD and stretch out in my cozy balcony chair when my simian neighbors decided they wanted to start a band. They cranked their amps up as high as they would go and attempted to master just one note for three hours. I retreated inside my apartment and protected myself with a nice thick layer of Nirvana so loud my ears bled.
Once the musicians finished beating their guitars with a dead cat, I figured it was safe to go outside again. I had to wait but five minutes before a troupe of freshman baboons strutted down the street, chattering wildly.
The alpha male reared back on his hind-legs in an impressive display of evolution gone wrong and proclaimed that he and the rest of them needed to “get fucked.” He professed to know several women that lived on his floor who would perform numerous lewd deeds. This got the rest of the pack grunting and beating their chests wildly.
While the bio-psychologist in me was intrigued by this display, the human in me thought it disgusting, and I retreated inside to take a shower.
Feeling refreshed, I returned to my perch, waiting to see what else the evening had in store. Nothing happened for quite sometime, and I was about to call it a night when I noticed a group of four – two males and two females – stumbling down the street. One of the males was slobbering incoherently and had a Chevy’s sombrero cocked at a dangerous angle on his head. I could tell he was one mean hombre.
They moved to the complex across from me, where three of them entered an apartment and the fourth, the chimp with the hat, stayed outside. He thought it would be a good idea to batter the door of the apartment with a cardboard box, longer than he was tall, that he found on the ground.
After struggling to get his newly developed thumbs around the box, he rammed the door, nearly knocking himself unconscious in the process. He lay moaning on the ground for a few minutes, and where a lesser beast would learn its lesson, he got up and rammed the door again, determined to teach it who was the lord of the suburban jungle.
Apparently, the apartment door is now the king of beasts.
While my neighbors provide a great deal of entertainment that blows reality TV out of the water, I get the feeling that it’s these people outsiders look at when they pass judgment on I.V.
We like to cite UCSB’s accolades as a top research institution and the fact that we’ve produced numerous Nobel Prize winners over the past few years as evidence that we are not what we seem. The problem is, however, that the apes in I.V. are the most visible, and we allow it.
The rest of my neighbors are wonderful; they may have parties, but they know how loud to keep their music and when to shut it off. There is a family across the street whose father plays the piano and violin, and I can hear his beautiful music sometimes in the early evening.
Once we are respectful to the other people in this community, including ourselves, there won’t be anything left for outsiders to be critical of.
Something tells me though, that the missing link will continue to be our loudest representative. As one so eloquently grunted, “Hey, man, but this is I.V. Ook, ook.”
Daily Nexus columnist Steven Ruszczycky hopes his neighbors haven’t evolved enough yet to read, but if he finds his door covered in feces, he’ll let you know.