It’s only natural for new freshmen to require a little bit of time to get acclimated to the unique social and geographical climate that is Isla Vista. Between the dangerous bike paths and the debaucherous block parties, there is a lot to get used to when you first move to I.V. This problem is only exacerbated if you are one of the many people just looking to spend a few weeks, days, or hours in our tiny little town. If you are lucky enough to get the opportunity to live in—or even visit—the capital of collegiate conviviality known as I.V., it might help to know just a little bit about how things operate around here. In fact, whether you’re here to get a four- (or five-) year college education, or you’re just checking out the town for a day or two, it can’t hurt to keep in mind the basic codes of conduct for two of the most important and unique situations you will encounter during your time here.
First of all—and perhaps most importantly for those people looking to avoid serious injuries during their time here—pay attention to the bike paths. These infamous aisles are the arteries of the UCSB campus, and they are chock full of student cyclists rushing to and from class with little to no time to worry about whether or not they hit poor unsuspecting bystanders on the way. I don’t want to make all of us students out to be heartless or anything, I just want to make it clear that the campus is full of signs warning pedestrians to be careful around the bike paths, and students rushing to make it to class on time are going to rely on those signs as a guarantee that they can go as fast as they can possibly pedal without worrying about passing pedestrians. So basically, when it comes to the bike paths, your best bet is to keep your eyes open and keep in mind what you learned in kindergarten—look both ways before you try to cross. And run. Running helps quite a bit too.
Once you’ve mastered the art of crossing the bike paths without incurring any bodily harm, it’s time to move on to the far more delicate—but much more delightful—art of proper partying. Here’s the deal: When we’re not rushing to class, we Isla Vistans are generally a pretty genial bunch. Most of us will open our homes and our handles with very little hesitation, although there are some basic things you can do to increase your chances of overcoming what little hesitation there may be when you show up at the door of the nearest D.P. party. First of all, understand that you are a guest in someone else’s home—this is especially important if you choose to come to one of my parties. Try not to break anything, puke outside if you must puke at all, don’t start any fights, and just generally practice what your momma taught you: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. With that said, it also helps if you try not to get your host in any sort of legal trouble, so don’t go wandering around with a beer if you’re underage and, better yet, don’t drink at all unless you know the person providing the alcohol or have a fairly good idea that they don’t mind you consuming their Coors Light. Basically, my point is this: When it comes to partying in I.V., make sure you keep in mind that anyone brave enough to open their home to dozens of drunk denizens of debauchery is risking property damage, possible problems with the police, and probable puke on their carpets just to provide a good time for their guests, so the least you can do is treat them and their home with respect.
So there you have it—my suggestions for successfully mastering two of I.V.’s most important institutions. Whether you’re attempting to cross the bike paths without incurring any injuries or trying to infiltrate the nearest party without incurring the wrath of your host, the rules are basically the same. Be aware, be respectful, and be sure not to try and cross the bike paths in front of me when I’m running late. But don’t worry, I’m only late for class on the mornings between Monday and Friday.
IT’S NOT ALL PARTY-LOVING PUPILS: And as long as we’re on the topic of respecting the members of our lovely little town, it’s worth noting that our community is made up of many different people and not just the party-loving pupils of UCSB mentioned above. Many of these people live off of low wages—or without steady employment at all—and a lot of them spend their days dealing with a range of important issues, from unfair evictions to skyrocketing health care costs, that go above and beyond the dilemma of deciding who gets the last can of Coors.
With that in mind, perhaps one way we can show our respect for those often-overlooked members of our community is by coming together to discuss—and maybe even find ways to deal with—the aforementioned issues. At 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 22, California OneCareNow, a group that tries to educate Californians about health-care issues, is holding an event at Friendship Manor to help stimulate discussion about health care and, specifically, the idea of universal health insurance. The event will include a screening of the group’s One Care Now DVD, a discussion, and refreshments. It will conclude with a march to People’s Park and a candlelight vigil for the 2,000 uninsured Californians who die each year because of their lack of health insurance.