Sometimes, when the air is right and Bobst has sucked too much of our youth, we need to get out of the city and venture to other college campuses. Whether to debauch with high school friends, be disgustingly cute with a long-distance partner, or bother a younger sibling for a while, it’s always a nice change of pace. We rode a bus upstate to SUNY New Paltz, one of the grand public universities of this fair state of ours. And if there’s one thing that we took away from the experience, it is that it’s weird being anywhere else.
While some of these observations may seem simple and obvious (huh, we live in a city and they’re in the middle of nowhere), it is still a odd thing to experience–that someone else is having a college experience just like we are, but that it’s so radically different.
1. Anyone can walk on to campus, and no one cared. Walking up from the bus station, the group of NYC travelers figured what kind of clearance we would need to come on campus. Show an ID card? Call a friend who attends the school? Get swiped in through a round-about series of card scans and signatures? In the middle of the discussion, we realized we had walked right to the center of campus, and no one cared. We’re strangers! How is this not a big deal? We then took advantage of the situation, and ignored the students trying to get us to donate to a charity.
2. New Paltz is 2 miles across. True story. Wikipedia says, “According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 1.8 square miles (4.6 km²), of which, 1.7 square miles (4.5 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (1.70%) is water.” Not even classified as a town, the proper term is “village.” As of 2010, the population was 6,818; that is less people invited to the last Amanda Sarah party. On the other hand, we’re also the pompous jerks who need an entire baseball stadium to graduate in, so maybe there’s not great perspective.
3. Food establishments were surprised that we were eating there. Walking into a deserted Subway on a Friday night, you’d think that the sandwich artists had never seen a customer before. Same thing happened later at a Burger King, and again on Sunday morning at a Starbucks. With five people on line, it was revealed that there was a shortage of grande iced coffee tops that day. The barista said, “Our day is going to be so unfortunate because of these iced coffee tops.” So true. The thing is, it felt great, like we were appreciated customers or something. Much better than No Soup For You.
4. Been spending most our lives, livin’ in a 5-0 paradise. There are cops everywhere in New Paltz. First, there are the college security guards, who have legit cars and are everywhere. Then, there’s the village police. On top of that, the Ulster Country police and the state police roll through the village from time to time. How much crime is going down in the village that there has to be such a prevalent police force? Is the number of drunk bros promoting disorderly conduct needed for reinforcements? Is New Paltz secretly The Wire and we missed it? We see the NYPD everywhere, but we also live in a city that celebrates when someone doesn’t get murdered for nine days. And that only happened because it was really, really cold outside.
5. Driving is fun. Yeah, there’s no joke here. We all miss driving a little bit.