Stuck on North Campus

Written by Kalman M. Nanes

Well I did it. Again. I got myself stuck on North Campus at night. Don't get me wrong; I love North Campus... it's so much more scenic than Central, and I have lots of friends living up there who I don't see very often. I will elaborate. I am a freshman at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, a town so much more bustling, more lively, than my small suburban home town, that I can't help but love it. I rejoice for the constant activity of the campus; I thrive on the life around me.

Now, I am a math major, but my favorite hobby is singing. I am in the Men's Glee Club, and in an a cappella group, The Gentlemen. And one of my best friends, Jeremy, is in the music school. He lives on North Campus, a five or ten minute drive from Central, with the other music students and the engineers. I live in the middle of Central Campus, and all of my classes are near me; I don't get to North more than once a month or so. And the main reason is the trip. As great a time as I have when I visit up there, it is a royal pain in the arse to catch a bus there, and then again to get home.

More than once, I've gotten myself lost, more than a half a mile from where I need to be, by taking the wrong bus. So I don't like visiting at night when I can't get a ride home from somebody. But in any case, Jeremy had a concert with a choir that I'm not in tonight, and after seeing him sing I went with him back to his dorm to hang around a bit. And, sure enough, 11:00 rolled around, and my ride fell through. It was a school night; I wanted to get back home and Jeremy wanted to go to sleep. So that meant that I had done it again. So I resigned myself to ride the bus.

I don't like the bus in the first place; I HATE the bus at night. In the winter. Waiting at the bus stop in the dark with some guy in a dark trenchcoat for fifteen minutes in weather cold enough for me to see my breath. So finally the bus comes, and I ride it back to Central, and of course the closest stop to my dorm is all the way across Central Campus; a good mile's worth of walking.At 11:30 at night.With nobody around.

And I don't exactly like walking alone at night. Well, with little other choice, I got off the bus, and began the trek back to South Quad. Only one other person was within sight; a girl who looked about as happy to be outside as I was. And I was walking home, looking at the sidewalk, when I thought to myself, and I quote, "Shiny Meat".

What, you may ask, is "Shiny Meat"? I will explain. I was talking with my best friend Sander last night, who I haven't seen in months on account of he now attends Michigan State, and he was explaining to me the concept of some beef jerky that his roommate had bought. Now, I'm not that naive, I have had beef jerky before. Disgusting substance. But he said, this was no normal beef jerky; in fact, he was pretty sure it wasn't entirely beef, just whatever random meat they happened to use. And it was so compacted, this jerky, that it was shiny. And I said to him, "Sander, let me get this straight... You just described MEAT as SHINY?" Which of course resulted in much hilarity all around.

And so as I was walking home at umpteen o'clock at night, the words "SHINY MEAT" entered my head, and I smiled to myself, and thought, "Why the hell am I feeling so bitter?" And I couldn't come up with a good reason, so I enjoyed the rest of my walk home. I stared at the stars. I danced around a bike rack. I looked at the streetlights, large globes, and noticed how against the dark of night they give off a rainbow colored halo about themselves. I tried that one with and without my glasses, to see if the halo was really there, and it was! Try it out! And I sang out loud during my walk home, where anyone who cared to could hear. And I looked at the way that my breath fogged up my glasses. And it was bliss; I felt a peace that I rarely feel.

So, the moral of my story, I guess, is that if you're ever feeling bitter for no good reason, think about SHINY MEAT and learn to appreciate the world around you. Because there is much to appreciate.