Re-establishment Part 2: A Long Strange Trip It’s Already Been

October 8, 1999 Friday

All summer, I had been waiting until I could call Collinsville, which would mean that there would be about a week to go until the first of August, that day being the beginning of our lease to 722 West Calhoun. Tom called me in mid-July to see how I was doing, and he told me about being with this girl, Renee. In classic Tom style, she paid for anything and everything. I got in touch with Collinsville and agreed to meet in Macomb on August 1st, Sunday.

I arrived at about one, and our landlady gave me my keys to the house. Matt dropped by quickly to unload his stuff as did Tom, and Collinsville showed up in the later afternoon.

The best part by far was the porch and we practically lived there the first few days as we got accustomed to our new surroundings. Our neighborhood seemed instantly interesting. Across form us was this old couple. The guy would be at work with his power tools in his garage at eight or so every morning, all while never wearing a shirt and letting the world see his sagging gut. We named him Herb.

Next door to them on the corner was a girl we called “15 year old” because she appeared to be about that age, and straight out of an Aerosmith video. Collinsville and I were contemplating the universe or something that one day while sitting on our porch when two girls, one of them the 15 year old, climbed form her window and sat on the roof. They were both wearing Catholic girl outfits while drinking and smoking in plain view. Like I said, an interesting place. On the porch, we’ve seen a guy pull his lawn mover with his bicycle, a girl throw from the hood of a car when she was for some reason riding on top of it when the car made a sudden stop, and a lot more.

Collinsville finally has a girlfriend that could be grounds for a stable relationship, and we talked about that a lot the first few days. He met Erika Handler, while he as working at a water park (with Katie) in Collinsville. She goes to Southern and lives at home because of some pretty strict parents. It was a fight for Erika to get permission to come to Macomb for a day or two, but her father finally gave in and she’s been up a few times since. Erika, in my opinion, is the best girl Collinsville has been with by far. She’s cute and everything, but she’s also intelligent with a sense of humor–a combo difficult to find in the main dating pool here–the bar circuit. I really hope he stays with her, but he has found problems with the relationship, the big one being the distance and time spent apart from a long-distance thing. I can understand that, but I think she would be worth it. We’ll have to see what he does.

Collinsville and I stayed for a few days and then returned home. I  attended the annual Connors Reunion (the same thing every year, just more gray to go around) and returned off-and-on for the remainder of the month until the week before school began.

And when Tom came down again the three of us went out to Diamond Dave’s and he filled us in on his summer bunny Renee. During the summer they did a lot together like movies, dinners, and gift-giving, Renee doing all of the spending. Renee is a freshman now at ISU and calls him most nights, but Tom is dragging her on.

Matt came down next, followed by Amdor, then his girlfriend, Camille, that he had met last November. He said she would be over a lot, but we never prepared for A LOT. Camille is a thin, tanned, obviously-not-blonde-but-a-can-of-bad-dye-makes-her-that-way, girl that has obviously gotten a few things in her life. He is beyond opinionated and never really has anything good to say, and always talks and talks about herself in some half-accent we can’t understand. She has called Collinsville and I “desperate,” “vain” and “male sluts” (Collinsville has only even kissed Erica since being back and I’ve done nothing). She moved in with Matt in the room directly below me and has never moved out. She gets her mail here. She’s our sixth roommate.

Andor is just Andor. I don’t even know where to begin. He is different, as highlighted by the thing he has hanging on his wall–a small dog painted in rainbow spots with the words “Dare to be Different” on it. I could write volumes about the guy–and will–but it’s not something I can just rush through.

We threw a party the first Wednesday of classes. It was kind of a last-minute thing (Something Andor wasn’t happy about because he said, “Guys, parties take lots of advanced planning. You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into. Trust me.”) The party went over great and we actually made about a hundred dollars profit. We weren’t worried about making money; we wanted to show off or new place and just have people over, the cash was just a plus. Probably won’t do another middle of the week thing again, but we had to get it out of our system. That weekend we did throw another party, again without a hitch. However, about a month ago, we did have a third party and someone stole our tapper. (Collinsville went up to Andor and told him the tapper was gone. I’ll always remember Andor yelling to Collinsville in the middle of the living room with everyone still there, “You don’t understand C-ville, we’re here to make money! This is a business! A business!”)

Five girls live in the house next to us, all Alpha Sigma Alphas. They would say hi to us when we would be lounging on the porch, and invited us to a party that they threw (which is when I met Kim, or should I perhaps say she met me). Since then we’ve begun to know Michelle, Taran, Jackie, Wendy and Devry, and they’re all right neighbors to have.

One the other side of us, two houses down, is 804 Calhoun. I met Chris Cavera one day before the semester began while I was sitting down on the porch (you must think we live on the porch.) He’s a great guy and I spent a good amount of time over at his place in the semester and while I was pledging Pikes. Actually, I’m the one that urged him to do it with me. 804 Calhoun itself can only be deemed an Animal House. In the beginning they had an, oh, nine foot tall pile of dirt in their front yard because a section of the house had collapsed. This was later cleared away, but they have no grass and probably never will. The residents of 804 that live with Chris throw empty cans into the streets, lawn chairs onto their yard, and mud from a sling-shot to the houses across the street. I’d tell you saw Chris punch a hole threw one of the walls and dump lettuce onto their kitchen floor for no reason, but then you might stop reading.

Okay. Let’s talk about classes. All of my courses are on this side of the campus, which is great, because I never have to go as far as the Union during any of my days. Mondays begin at eight in Sallee for a music appreciation course, almost all time being devoted to the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic eras. Next is English 199 at nine, an hour in the class with me, and we are in the midst of the most inane, insane and hellishly boring class ever made. The processor is too bad to describe and too dull to be believed. No one–and I mean no-one– can even follow his lectures that are far beyond any kind of introductory class. The first lab we had, he made us take a test to see how much we knew–without our names on it. While you chew on that, know that 40% of the faculty he gave the same test to failed. Yesterday, we had to take a rock identification exam–on 100 kinds of rocks! After another hour break I have weightlifting on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Wednesdays, I have yet another night class in Simpkins, this time English 386, a fiction workshop class taught by  Dr. Stevenson. Stevenson is great, and also believes as Tama does that reading breeds good writing. Also cool because he has a high school teacher of Mark McGwire. Thursdays there’s a two hour lab with Mr. Rocks-Are-My-Life.

Oh, by the way, I was Pike Pledge. Just thought I would throw that in there, and will elaborate in the next Re-establishment.

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