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Davis, California

Thursday, April 18, 2024

The case for houseboats


Houseboats. Date: Memorial Day Weekend. Location: Lake Shasta. You: There.

I don’t think I’ve ever posted something on the Internet that would completely sink my chances of getting elected to public office. Well, this might be it. 20-Years-From-Now Yinon, I’m so sorry. To any potential employers who may have found their way here: there’s a keyboard shortcut that lets you instantly email the hiring manager about this post: just press COMMAND + W and it’ll do it for you. Trust me.

That being said, I need to talk about this. No career is important enough for me to stop me from standing up for what I believe in. So give me that beer bong and hand me my keys so I can shotgun some knowledge onto y’all.

Houseboats is the most important event related to this school.

Life begins when your comfort zone ends. When your parents drop you off at your dorm and drive away, your life as an independent adult begins. When you show up to your first day of your internship, your life as a member of the work force begins. When you sign your first lease, your life as a renter (and one day a homeowner) begins.

When your boat cuts loose from the dock to set sail for Slaughterhouse Island as you crack open the first beer of the weekend… your life as someone fun begins.

You may say that you’re a fun person and don’t need four full days of debauchery to prove that.

I don’t know. I’m sure you’re a delightful dinner conversationalist, and I’m sure you’re not the worst person to be stuck in traffic with. I’m sure your movie references are on point and I’m sure you can hold your own in Cards Against Humanity.

But can I trust you to randomly do a backflip into the water after putting down a beer bong? Can I trust you to wake up on a boat full of your old friends but go to sleep on a boat full of new friends? Can I trust you to start every day with no plan and be totally okay with that? Can you really go with the flow? If so, start looking for a open spot on someone’s boat now — they are filling up fast.

Whether it’s some special ingredient in the Shasta Lake water (probably alcohol) or just some weird magic that pervades the island (definitely alcohol), people truly let their guards down on Slaughterhouse Island. And I don’t mean they let their guards down in the “risky teen behavior” sense. I mean that they genuinely open up to one another. You know that one guy you always see at the gym? That one girl who’s in your class and always is around the CoHo the same time you are? Those faces that you see around campus stop becoming randos you cross paths with and start becoming real people you finally meet.

When I learn that someone can spend four days in a whirlwind of boat parties, island parties and party parties, I learn right away that they’re the sort of person who can really live in the moment. I learn that they can focus on the people they’re with, right now, and not what’s going on in their phones, on their social media, or around the world. It doesn’t mean that they’re always as spontaneous and thrill-seeking as they are on their boats — it just means that they can be.

Houseboats is far from a sustainable, day-to-day MO. Besides the liver damage, many people aren’t extroverts. I get that. Rather, it’s a once-in-a-while reminder to get away from your phone, get away from negativity, and step into your community. It might be the first time that you stop seeing college as your own personal mission to get your degree and move on to the next stage of your own life and start noticing the beautiful community you belong to.

There is no other opportunity that allows you to spend a whole weekend with zero responsibilities, focusing only on having as much fun as possible. Go on Houseboats. Drink plenty of water and nap strategically. You can thank me later.

And shout-out to Safeboats for keeping natural selection at bay during Memorial Day Weekend.


Yinon Raviv is a second-year communication major who had a great time on Houseboats last year. Email him at yraviv@ucdavis.edu, follow him on twitter @YR195, and check out his highlight reel on Instagram @yinonout.



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