With Winter Break over and all of you back in town, the peace that comes with the end of finals is officially over. I must admit, I missed all of you and some of your alcohol-fueled antics.

Many times during the week I’m awoken in the middle of the night to the cheers of a crowd around somebody doing a keg stand at a nearby party. There’s the newcomers that think most apartments are walkways to the next street. My personal favorites are the tired drunks that make my doorstep an impromptu park bench to discuss the meaning of life with each other. Yeah, the fun never ends.

It can’t be said that I’m innocent of the aforementioned chicanery. To me Isla Vista has always been the last bastion of free expression left before you enter grow up land and then all the fun will be gone. As a perpetual kid, my option was to never leave this place.

I committed my share of silly human tricks. Here are but a few examples: Skateboarding the banks on the roof of the Broida lecture hall, water balloon launches from Trigo to Del Playa, Super Soaker drive by shootings, fire extinguisher wars and many more dumb acts, some too incriminating to mention.

The tales of debauchery were many, as were the players and victims. But everybody shall remain nameless, not to protect the innocent, as there were none, but to avoid future repercussions from vengeful parties.

Many have moved on to what they saw as greener pastures. To those who did, my best wishes go with them along with many thanks for great memories and good times.

Maybe that’s why I could never force myself to leave Isla Vista. It’s not as if the forces necessary for change weren’t there. It’s just that I love this place and the surrounding youth perpetuates the good times. Basically, there’s no need to be a bitter old curmudgeon who calls the cops whenever there’s a party.

People who don’t live in I.V. don’t understand and probably never will. If given the proverbial dollar for every time asked, “How can you live in I.V. ?” then the proverbial millionaire I would be.

One would think that we’re living in a caste system and living in I.V. is the lowest of low. To this I scoff at and go on my merry way. After all, there’s trails to ride, waves to catch and curbs to grind.

My humble guess is that some people have issues with youth. Where is it written that when you turn a certain age you’re supposed to turn sour about anything youthful?

While it is true that youth is the main provider of jackass behavior, you have to chuckle at the reality that we all are prone to such behavior and chances are that we’ve even participated in said behavior at one time or another in our youth. All that differs is the ability to roll with the punches and take it as a joke.

Sure, the paintball gun has come out a few times to ward away some drunken idiot trying to make firewood out of my fence or trying to start a fight with my defenseless mailbox.

But that is so minimal in terms of what happens in other places. Instead of paintballs it’s high-speed lead from real guns, and the inanimate objects beaten are actually people.

Living here does have its price in terms of crowding, lack of parking and loudness. But the breaks come when all of you go away for holidays to be with your families and this town becomes the sleepy beachside community it once was.

The streets are empty, plenty of parking to be found, no lines at the Cantina, no off-key bands trying to cover the latest hit on KJEE and the line up at Devereux is minimal. But then I start to miss what makes this place alive.

So welcome back and best of luck with Winter Quarter. Winter Quarter sucks, but at least you have Spring Break to look forward to, and from what I hear, it’s going to be a good snow year. My board is already out, waxed and ready for Tahoe. Oh to be young, a state I never left and hope to never leave.

Henry Sarria is a longtime Isla Vista resident.