The Hometown Bubbleby Taran Moriates on Oct, 10 2012
A big part of the college experience is being able to get out and experience something new and different. For people like me, who had lived in the same house for the entirety of my existence, it’s a chance to break the monotony. In the months leading up to the big move to my lovely dorm—which, oddly enough, is the same room number as my home’s area code; I just can’t get away, can I?—I, along with most of my classmates, felt a strong desire and urge to get out of my hometown’s “bubble” (it is the epitome of suburbia where if a store’s open past 10 p.m. it’s as crazy as me finding out Shaq is my real father and where there was an absolute uproar when a Hooters opened up on one of the main roads; bless Thousand Oaks’ heart). I felt like there was a whole world out there that wasn’t all soccer moms and gated communities.
Well, in my seven weeks so far at Berkeley, I’ve definitely been exposed to some new and interesting things as well as reminders that I’m not still within the serenity of good ‘ole Thousand Oaks.
I had never before been approached by an old man with circular glasses, rainbow suspenders, white beard down to his chest, and pants pulled up past his belly button on my high school’s quad. And then get lectured for 15 minutes about how education is just absolutely doomed in California—cool, bro, now let me just go to my chemistry class where, believe it or not, I learn things and stuff.
I had never before gotten yelled at for taking napkins at a restaurant; this was a particularly scarring experience during my first week here. Instead of the polite and kind Thousand Oakian workers, a hugely overweight and gruff man who looked like Fat Bastard from the Austin Powers movies and who could probably eat me and all the napkins I took in one gulp, seemed to not comprehend that sometimes people get messy hands and mouths when they eat lasagna, and that those people also have friends who would also like some napkins for their fingers and lips which have also been dirtied. My bad. I guess I’ll just use my friend’s shirt, I’m sure that’ll be chill with him. It could be the new “greased sauce look” and it’d just be the indie-est and trendiest thing ever.
I had never before gotten out of class and almost get run over by a stampede of mindlessly chanting protesters, have a lady yell Bible verses in my ear on my way to lunch, witness two hobos fighting as I get boba, or had my teacher say the “F” word in class. Don’t you love when Berkeley fits perfectly with its own stereotypes? For some reason, I find quite the entertainment on such occasions.
Public transportation seemed as mythical as Narnia before coming here. Which, speaking of, sometimes I feel like I’m in Narnia whenever I’m on said public transportation such as the Bart. Mr. Tumnus, is that you? Oh, nope, it’s just a shirtless dude with a scarf, furry pants, and boots. Aslan, what’s up? Oops, you’re just a ridiculously hairy man that probably hasn’t shaved ever in your life.
I’ve gotten out of my comfort zone and it’s been quite entertaining. Sweet Thousand Oaks is always dear in my heart though. Maybe I’ll just bring the weirdness back with me. Just kidding, Berkeley’s not that weird, guys.