I looked up the definition of normal in the dictionary and read, “Normal: adj. Conforming with, adhering to, or constituting a norm, standard, pattern, or type; typical.” This spring break I returned to a home that is what most people would refer to as “normal.” I pulled my car into a normal garage, with a normal dog, a normally stocked refrigerator, and family members with normal sleeping patterns. To one who has lived in I.V., there was only one conclusion to draw: I.V. is not so normal.

Alexandra Markus

This spring quarter 2010, as I prepare to move out of I.V. and into the “real world,” I am doing some personal spring cleaning. And with nearly four years of Isla Vista living under my belt, I feel I have the standing to present what I call Spring Cleaning 101, I.V.-style.

Before this crash course begins, let’s take a stroll down memory lane. In I.V. every house, street, beach, park, classroom, and restaurant holds different memories for each I.V. resident. I think of all the places I have been, people I have met, and choices I have made. In my mind, college years are like dog years (seven dog years to every human year), which makes me a middle-aged woman still partaking in all I.V. has to offer. Don’t get me wrong, I love every minute of it, but with an end in sight upon graduation, I am looking at I.V. through a new pair of spring rose-colored glasses. It’s time to refresh, reboot, clean out the bad, keep the good, and bring some sense of normalcy to my I.V. lifestyle.

Cleaning the Home: Though at times I embrace the carefree, no-cleaning ethos of I.V. living, it is far from normal. In the “real world” toilets are cleaned, there is a vacuum in the closet, and people tend to buy toilet paper routinely. I.V. residents bend these typical household formalities beyond the breaking point. Imagine Mom and Dad walking into our I.V. home on any given day, they would be disgusted and, in some severe cases, they might even gag. I will never forget my mom coming out of our bathroom sophomore year in a state of horror, saying, “I couldn’t do it.” The bathroom was not as bad as she made it out to be, but it wasn’t pretty, I admit.

How did most of us fall from a state of cleanliness to complete havoc? I suppose if it was as easy to fall into “normal” ways of I.V. living, it shouldn’t be difficult to revert back to cleanliness after college.

This spring, I plan to do my dishes. We have no dishwasher and only three quarters of a garbage disposal—but I know that’s no excuse. And I will make an effort to NOT shove my roommate’s dishes off in a corner or wash them in a loud, clanking manner as she tries to sleep just to prove a passive-aggressive point.

Eating Right, Sleeping Well: Malt balls, vitamins, and shots of tequila do not a nutritious meal make. This spring quarter I vow to take full advantage of our restaurants in I.V. I will not depend on pizza as a regular source of nutrition and I will in fact cook a few dinners throughout the week.

I subscribe to the wisdom that seven hours of sleep per night qualifies as a “good sleep.” No more, no less; if one regularly sleeps seven hours a night, one will feel most well-rested. I.V. life does not facilitate such a luxury. Here, we study weeks on end, reward ourselves with partying till dawn, eat in the way I just described, and wonder why we don’t feel good. Zombies once roamed the campus as part of a theater promotion and as I looked around, it was hard to tell the actors from the students. Zombie life: not so normal.

Time Management: Freshman year it was an ongoing joke between my best friend and I to wake up 20 minutes before class, run down to the dining commons in Francisco Torres, hop on our bikes wearing big sweatshirts and get to 8 a.m. class right on time. Part of the joke was that we never wore bras under our big sweatshirts. We were in such a rush that that extra step of strapping in the twins was too hard to face in the morning.

Though, now as seniors, I think we both manage to throw on undergarments before getting to class. However, this spring I plan to balance my time between school, work, friends, exercise, and getting dressed.

Spring Events!: But spring cleaning isn’t all work and no play. The spring traditions I.V. residents look forward to—Floatopia, Extraganza, Study Hall’s “50 Club,” and undie runs, just to name a few—offer some fine opportunities for acting normal.

Floatopia is scheduled to set sail this April 10, 2010 and from the looks of the event on Facebook, it too is undergoing some spring cleaning. The event planner, Chris Par, a third-year UCSB student, is ensuring that Floatopia lives up to the beach-bunny, red-cupped wickedness we have seen in past years. “All I have to say is, Floatopia 2010 will be a shitshow. A month-long shitshow. No further comments,” Par told me. With nearly 9,000 Facebook members already having signaled their intention to attend, the event is sure to wreak havoc on Isla Vista. Though, in contrast to last year, Floatopia 2010 aims to keep our beaches clean. The Facebook invitation encourages attendees to keep the beach clean, reminding us that “bagging a red cup is simple and easy and it’s good for our earth.”

But whether you are working on being normal or abnormal, spring is a good season to appreciate new flowers, a new quarter, and new mindset. Now go clean your toilet.


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