As a child, most of my complaints to my mother were met with the same stock response – life is not fair. Whether I was whining about my brother beating me up or wondering why Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups weren’t an acceptable dinner option, the answer was always the same. Life is not fair.

It used to make me so angry. Why couldn’t life be fair? Who says it has to be unfair? Since when are peanut butter and chocolate insufficient as a meal option? As a kid, my only recourse seemed to be getting older – at least when I was an adult and living on my own, I would have the power to make sure that my life was always fair. Or at least to eat Reese’s for dinner if I wanted to.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. As much as I know that admitting the following information in print is going to come back and bite me in the proverbial ass as soon as my mother reads this week’s column, I have to say she was right. Sometimes, life is not fair.

Usually, the slights are minor – not anything worth really getting worked up about. After all, people are starving in Africa, soldiers and civilians alike are dying everyday in Iraq, global warming is on its way to rendering sweater season obsolete, and Wild Hogs and Norbit are both in the top 10 movies at the box office. The world has much more serious problems to worry about than the fact that my neighbors keep hogging way more than their fair share of the driveway – as insidious and inconsiderate as that particular habit of theirs may be.

At this point in the quarter, when the pressures of impending finals make everything that much more stressful, the little things start to take their toll. I was already at what is commonly known as my wit’s end this weekend when my new dating buddy managed to break our budding relationship off after I had just spent a stressed-out afternoon bent over the toilet, trying not to let a bad bout of food poisoning affect my much-needed studying. Suffice it to say, that sucked.

And, I’m sure I’m not the only one in I.V. whose St. Patty’s weekend involved the shedding of a few tears into my green beer. It’s a tough time for everyone right now. Which is why I feel a little venting is in order. Feel free to add your own complaints to the list via the comments section at the bottom of the column – you know how misery loves company.

It’s not fair that sometimes relationships just don’t work out, and it’s not fair that it seems like that particular phenomena is far more likely to occur on the booze-soaked streets of I.V. On a related note, it’s not fair that vodka takes time to take effect. It’s not fair that no matter how hard I work out, a night of indulging in pizza and beer can still make me look like I’m pregnant with an obscenely large set of twins. It’s not fair that liquor stores in I.V. close at 11, bars close soon after, and most pizza places stop delivering after 2 a.m. on the weekends.

It’s not fair that Jersualem Garden Cafe (pictured), one of I.V.’s best restaurants, is rumored to be on its way to becoming a Mexican restaurant – the last thing I.V. needs is another place to buy burritos, especially at the expense of one of the few unique dining options in town.

It’s not fair that everything from my school fees to the price of parking on campus seems to be going up every year, while the amount of money I can ask my parents to contribute to my coffers without feeling incredibly guilty about the fact that I feel too old to still be asking for money at all seems to be decreasing by the day. It’s not fair that finals can be held on Saturdays, midterms can happen multiple times a quarter, and professors seem to think that briefly mentioning a complicated concept one time in class makes it fair game for a full-length essay question on our next test.

It’s not fair that my roommate’s side-view mirror recently got stolen, especially since her car was parked in the same spot mine was when my side-view mirror was swiped a few months ago – it’s ironic, but it’s not fair.

It’s not fair that my neighbors insist on inviting over girls who haven’t quite grasped the concept of using their quiet voices at 3 a.m., especially at 3 a.m. on Wednesday nights. Even if it is hump day.

It’s not fair that hot dogs come eight in a package, but hot dog buns only come in packages of six. It’s not fair that everything costs more in I.V., but gas to get out of here costs twice as much as it should at pretty much every Santa Barbara station.

It’s not fair that my Internet only works half the time, my cell phone breaks on a regular basis, my car is still missing that side-view mirror, and my paycheck never seems to be enough to cover the cost of replacing all the various odds and ends that keep crapping out on me.

It’s not fair that when it comes to doing laundry in I.V., our choices are limited to the tiny Laundromat with the less-than-stellar machines and the bigger Laundromat where half the machines are permanently out of order and you usually have to sidestep a large spill of an indeterminate nature to get to them.

It’s not fair that despite the abundance of waste receptacles all over I.V., I still see seas of red plastic cups and broken beer bottles littering the streets after every weekend. It’s not fair that because my neighbors haven’t figured out how to turn off their lights when they leave the house, my landlord is raising our rent for next year to make up for the money he’s spending on utilities. It’s not fair that foggy weather has replaced the spring sunshine I was just getting excited about last week.

It’s not fair that no matter how much I complain about these things, there’s not much else I can do on my own to change them. But maybe that’s not the point. At least not right now. It might just be the vodka that’s finally starting to kick in, or perhaps it’s the fact that Legally Blonde – perhaps one of the most inspiring films to come out since Clueless – is providing some stirring inspirational background music for me right now, but I’m starting to have an epiphany.

Maybe just talking about these things is enough at the moment – admitting it is the first step to solving problems and all that. If nothing else, venting helps make me feel just a little bit better. And, in the meantime, there’s always Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.


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