While I was peacefully sleeping one morning, the eccentric voice of a very animated pirate entered my dream. However, this was no Johnny Depp. Shortly thereafter I opened my eyes and, to my surprise, the hearty huffs and growls echoed on. WTF? After the initial haziness faded, I realized that the voice was not some random construction of my subconscious. Rather, the infamous Isla Vista Pirate was sitting on the steps outside my bedroom window and talking to himself. Although this was a harmless situation, I felt uncomfortable nonetheless. The Pirate had violated my personal space before but this time he had gone too far by actually infiltrating my dreams!
When I moved into my apartment, my landlord warned me that Pirate liked to hang out in the parking lot behind our unit. For days following the aforementioned dream infiltration, I was unwillingly serenaded by Pirate, who had decided to camp outside my kitchen window and incessantly sing and bang on a bucket. This situation wasn’t resolved until my roommate, who definitely has more balls than I do, confronted Pirate and threatened to call the cops if he didn’t vacate his newly preferred hangout spot. Even though Pirate hasn’t returned to our complex since, I continue to have uncomfortable interactions with him on almost a daily basis.
Fortunately and unfortunately, I live right behind Keg N Bottle, which, for obvious reasons, is one of the most convenient locations in I.V. However, trekking to campus or any of the fine eateries on Pardall means passing through the T-shaped intersection that is basically a bum’s paradise. A liquor store, market and park all converge in one location. What more could a perpetual hobo ask for?
Consequently, every time I walk out my door I’m bombarded with suggestive comments, whistles and questions like “What’s your name?” or “Can I have a quarter?” I try to avoid the clusters of bums whenever possible, especially when two or more of them decide to act as sentries to the entrance of Anisq’ Oyo’ Park. Whenever this happens, I divert my path and take Pardall even though it would be faster to just cut through the park to get to the ATM on the other side. The harassment isn’t worth it.
On a recent walk back from the Study Hall, two friends and I were approached by Pirate. My female friend and I continued back to my place while our male friend stayed and chatted. A couple minutes later he excitedly returned and explained that he had just witnessed Pirate smoking a cigarette through his eye socket. I don’t know where my friend has been for the past three years, but the novelty of Pirate’s trick wore off for me a long time ago.
As a sophomore, I enjoyed explaining to non-Isla Vistans all the oddities that make our community unique. It was cool to say that I’ve had an albino raccoon hang out in my yard and that our town has its own Pirate. While Albi still kicks ass, dead or alive, I’m so over Pirate and his cronies.
In the recent election, I voted “No” on Measure D thinking that it would not be sensible to turn Anisq’ Oyo’ Park into a parking lot. Now I’m not so sure. I doubt that I will ever really enjoy the benefits of the park since most of the time I avoid it like an awkward encounter with a random ex-hookup. I also doubt that Pirate and company are going to wake up tomorrow and make some life changes. Since our interests will continue to be at odds, I just ask that the bums leave me alone when I choose to venture out of my apartment. Even better, perhaps Liz Buda could spruce up the otherwise useless Pardall Gardens and make it the new haven for Isla Vista’s homeless. I know relocation doesn’t solve the problem, but at least my walk to Silvergreens would be more peaceful.