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Davis

Davis, California

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Column: Gutterland

A particularly odd thing happened to me this weekend at Whole Earth. I was strolling along Sunday afternoon, headed toward Voorhies Hall to see if my bike was where I had left it the night prior. As I strolled, I heard the rustling of newspaper and looked down to see page two of last Thursday’s Aggie blow right past me in the pre-storm breeze. It was kind of eerie, watching myself drift in effigy off campus and into A Street.

I know Whole Earth is all about zero waste and whatnot, but I was in one of those contemplative hangovers and I thought it was oddly poetic to see myself disappear into a gutter. Plus, during one of those half-hour speeches between sets, some emcee clown admitted the festival was only 98 percent waste-free anyway.

But back to the wine that was flowing off my mind-grapes. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about disappearing.

As I must have mentioned before, this is my fifth and final year here at UC Davis. Thank God, too, because I wouldn’t have been able to afford it now. The recently celebrated Whole Earth Festival is one of my favorite aspects of being a student in Davis. (Holla at Sea-Moose, or however they spell it). I had a great time this year, and I’m glad I remembered what happened on Saturday night.

And just as I watched myself get blown away, it dawned on me that I probably won’t be coming back up to Davis for Whole Earth – or for anything else, seeing as in only a month’s time I am going to disappear from campus into the figurative gutter of Los Angeles.

I’ve been tripping out about it. I’ve lived in Davis for about three-and-a-half years straight, and ever since the beginning of this quarter, I’ve been looking forward to getting out of this flat town.

This past week, however, the imminent threat of relocating back into my high school room has terrified me. In Davis, I can get totally plastered and walk home at four in the morning. While I’m at it, I can pretty much walk anywhere in Davis from anywhere else. I don’t think that’s going to be the case in LA.

Back to Whole Earth. I had a blast because I got to see a bunch of my good friends who graduated last year. They told me I’m really gonna miss Davis when I move out, which didn’t help the general feeling of dismay, but I told them that the Davis they remember had left with them.

When the friends I was talking to left last June, about 80 percent of the people we all knew did too. The Davis I’ve been living in this year is a decayed shell of the good times they remember having. Don’t get me wrong – I still have a lot of great friends up here (except for you, and you know who you are), but it isn’t the same as it used to be.

Take Funk Night at G Street, for example. Last year, I would go every week and I’d know maybe 30 people dancin’ or drinkin’ or shootin’ pool. Sure ain’t the fact no mo’.

I’ve gotten used to it, though. Now I go to G Street and, well, I don’t even get in on Funk Night because that line gets way too fucking long. I’ve outgrown the need to wait in lines to get into dive bars.

As I’m not stressed about missing out on Funk Night anymore, I’m sure I’ll be able to adapt to not missing out on the rest of Davis. I’m just caught in that transitional shit, sitting on the precipice of the next chapter, afraid to step forward and unwilling to step back.

Maybe I’m tripping because I’ve been super bummed out about missing things this whole week. One of my favorite painters died on Monday from a stroke. So to honor the great man that was Frank Frazetta, I bought a sixer of fantastic beer and toasted his name as the last sun he ever saw set. It was a pretty great sunset, too.

That’s how I’ll part with Davis. I’ll drink to the last sunset of my collegiate career, and the next day’s sun will see me driving down The Five in a U-Haul. Goddamn, now that I think about how hellish the drive back to L.A. is going to be, maybe I’ll fail my classes and try for another quarter. I haven’t been to class once this Spring anyway.

WILL LONG was into Iron Man II. Scarlett Johnasson comes in red? One, please. It comes as no surprise that pretty redheads are my weakness. And it’s no coincidence that pelirroja and peligrosa are such similar sounding words. The Spanish know what’s up. Holler at Will at wclong@ucdavis.edu.

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