42.4 F

Davis, California

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Column: Hit the trail

The arboretum. As you may know, it won two Best of Davis awards this year – most picturesque and best place to take a date, if memory serves me correctly. Right on.

Friday night found me and some friends strolling around in the arboretum with a few road sodas and a pleasant state of mind. We went out walking mainly because we weren’t feeling the bar scene, and we’d already logged a pretty good chunk of time sitting around watching Conan the Barbarian. (Props if you can tell me what is best in life.)

Anyway, we figured it’d do us good to get into the great outdoors and amble around, take in some of the crisp winter/spring night air.

We were on foot, as strolling and ambling suggests. Normally, I’m adamantly against going anywhere in Davis without my bike. I’ll turn down rides and bike to meet up with friends just in case I … I dunno, just in case I need to bike somewhere.

Maybe it’s my yearning to live in the Arizona Territory in 1881 so I can ride around with Doc Holiday, but I feel a man shouldn’t be caught without his bike or horse. (Don’t worry. I rarely carry a six-shooter.) Well, I’ll tell you now, it was a lot of fun walking along that lovely green cesspool of a river and wandering into the southern territories of the UC Davis campus.

I discovered that there are a lot of cool buildings around campus that I never see. The Mondavi Center looks awesome at night. So do the water towers – even the mathematics building. In fact, I was really impressed by the math building, and for a brief instant, I wondered if I should try to take a class there. I then remembered that I’m an English major and I have the math skills of a troglodyte. (Ask the guys I live with. I don’t do numbers.)

English majors are pretty much confined to Wellman and Olson. I spend a fair amount of time in Voorhies, too. Nice buildings, sure, but they’re nothing more than little concrete bunkers. Whenever I go into Olson, I wonder if I’m going in to try to learn something or to protect myself from an aerial raid. (I was about to make a joke about blackout curtains from WWII and the regular blacking out, but I got nothing.)

When I was in the arboretum, I was also without a cell phone. Let me take a second to describe my phone to you: It has no touch screen or keyboard, only some chipped plastic and a really short battery life. Honestly, every time I make a call longer than five minutes, I lose one of those little slices of battery power at the top of my screen.

Anyway, my phone died Friday night. I was incommunicado – and it was great, too. I know a lot of you out there have cool phones that can play Tetris and get to porn sites or whatever, but next time you’re out and about, turn your phone off or maybe leave it at home. I know that will be tough for all you CrackBerry addicts, but give it a try.

It’s quite liberating. You don’t have to worry about work, your douchebag friends or that girl you’re trying to get with calling. You don’t have to worry about anything. Not a call from the chief of police asking for your help in a sting operation or text message clues from crafty serial killers. No e-mails from the international space station reporting the approach of an apocalyptic extraterrestrial war party. Not having access to that broad universe that we’re always so plugged into puts you very much in the moment.

Give it a try. Run around Davis with some friends, howl at the moon, check out that math building and leave your cell phone at home. When I got home and plugged back in to the matrix, no one had called me anyway.

WILL LONG delivered some plants to the chancellor’s gig at the Conference Center on Tuesday. If you’re the girl from Freeborn he was talking to, hit him up at wclong@ucdavis.edu. He has something to tell you.


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