83.7 F

Davis, California

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Pants optional

This weekend I told my parents I was “camping and got in a car then got on a boat then got on an island that essentially beat the crap out of me. It was awesome.

There was much (okay, maybe just some) concern raised last week over the issue of whether or not ASUCD should use school funds to fund Safeboats, something ultimately designed to act as a raging First Aid kit for the little drunk college coeds on Lake Shasta. I kind of doubt that anyone was actually against the idea, they just didnt want to support a weekend of extreme drunkenness and dangerous activity.

I argue that its not what houseboats is about – hell, it is both those things, but its also something of an ethnographical field study. You can actually observe things while witnessing thousands of drunks running loose on an island. I say drunks because there werent just college students there. Some bachelor party dudes gave me a cigar and some 40-year-old women may or may not have roofied my friend (shes fine, no worries).

Youve all read Lord of the Flies, Im sure, and if you havent, I can tell you that youre not missing out on much except for a bunch of English schoolboys being left on their own to survive in the wild. They pretty much go batshit crazy and start killing each other. It wasnt that brutal, but me and some peeps I know made some observations about how this trip brought out the animal in everyone.

In fact, the one notable wave of guilt I felt was when a family made the mistake of driving by the clusterfuck of college kids in the middle of the lake. Im sure that to them we all really did look like animals chugging beer out of Flabongos.

For one thing, you get pretty scrappy when your resources are limited. You do what you have to do. When your food starts running low, you start hoarding it in your pillowcase. When you start to run out of beer, you switch to rum. When your boat gets confiscated because people were taking an octabong on it while the EMTs came in to clean up some blood, you put all your stuff in a little knapsack and set up housing in the woods with a hammock for a bed. When you pirate another boat and yours takes off without you, you jump in the water and Michael Phelps it back where you need to go. Theres no such thing as hesitation.

One of my friends in Davis swears by the statement that people who go to the gym everyday are either gay or sexually frustrated. Houseboats is like one humongous mating ritual. To avoid uninvited sexual assault, as opposed to invited sexual assault, I simply wrote “Stage 5 Clinger on my arm. You can literally get picked up just by walking down the island. But those who cant fork opt to fight. Hence the rock fight that Im very sad to have missed.

Theres always a moment of still silence right before the sun comes up. Its a little after everyone passes out and right after their friends finish drawing dicks all over them with Sharpies that a slight peace drifts over the lake. This is the time when you can actually enjoy living up the great outdoors. Ish.

Despite the savageness of everything, in a strange way we were all more civil to each other in a weird kind of way. If ever there was someone whom youve passed on campus everyday of your life, looked at, known who they are, but not said anything, this was the place to become their new best friend. Like that one dude who kept muttering “Youre so cute while on the verge of falling into my boobs. I remedied that social disaster by yelling “Peace homes!” and booking it off the boat on a waterslide.

Theres only one real rule on houseboats, which is simply to not die. Other than that, its pretty much an “anything goes world, and its extremely liberating. Im not gonna lie, the return to reality has been a bit of a drag. Sure, I got to shower the Lake Shasta sewage off me and finally put some hydrogen peroxide on my battle scars, but Im gonna miss not having to wear real clothes and dining with Captain Morgan for breakfast in the mornings. More than you can imagine.


MICHELLE RICK is amazingly not sick of “Im on a Boat. Share your plethora of stories at marick@ucdavis.edu.


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