By the end of May, dorm fronts once crowded with Sperry-sporting students and fraternity corner cookouts are barren.
Following three weeks filled with Collegeboxes and U-Hauls, campus goes from lively to practically comatose. When most students leave, only a handful of Colonial Inauguration staffers, facilities student workers and interns occupy the deserted campus.
All those absences leave me with this question: What will Foggy Bottom miss most when it’s missing us?
Foggy will long for the overcrowded spectacle of shopping at Whole Foods. Without navigating through lines that extend down the stairs and around the produce section, how could one possibly enjoy grocery shopping? Where is the pleasure in walking straight up to one of the 18 cash registers and paying for your food quickly enough to eat it before it has cooled and congealed? Without the constant throng of students, shoppers just won’t get the same kind of mental workout they normally do when trying to compute which line will get them to freedom faster.
The neighborhood will yearn for a Starbucks whose scent is infused with the smell of Marlboro smoke circling around loiterer’s heads. We must all remember to breathe easy — the smokers will be back, even if the smoking ban pushes their smoke clouds 25 feet away.
After a quiet day — void of clouds of smoke and congested grocery stores — Foggy Bottom will be ready to wake up at all hours of the night to the melodic beats of Skrillex and Flosstradamus. But, alas, summer vacation has even killed the music. The season means three months of stagnant silence, never punctuated by the reverberating bass that shakes the walls of apartments half a block away.
How could Foggy not miss these things? So, maybe we students are a public nuisance. We play our music too loudly and too late into the night. We cross 23rd Street without looking, wearing neon spandex and over-sized glasses we do not need. We clog Whole Foods so badly that a veggie burger takes 35 minutes to arrive. We spend hours sitting outside Gelman smoking, talking and forgetting about our exams and essays.
But that’s the stuff that Foggy Bottom is made of: the unceremonious meeting of college and city, wrapped up in a wild and loud 10-block radius. While some see summer as a break from all of those crazy shenanigans and college quirks, we are what keeps Foggy alive. And, don’t worry, we’ll be back.