>>> Text-Heavy
By staff writer E.E. Southerby
Volume 3 – September 29, 2002

I've gotten a lot of longwinded, whiny emails basically complaining about how all I ever talk about in this column is how much I drink (sorry mom). Anyway, since my aim here is primarily to entertain everyone else, I'm pleased to announce that it has officially been one week since I've had a drink, and in that spirit this edition is presented 100% alcohol-free (on my part, at least). And now, on with the show. Here's what happened:

-I find the student budget hilarious. Nobody ever has any food in their rooms, yet they pay $75 a month for cell phones. People spend $8 a day for a pack of cigarettes, but they whine that laundry is too expensive because it costs $1.25. My friend Rob came up with the idea of drilling holes in quarters and tying strings around them, so he could fake the washing machine into thinking that it had accepted the money, but then he could reuse the dummies. Brilliant. He goes to the craft store and buys string ($4.95/foot) and then he goes to the hardware store and buys a drill ($89) and then takes a taxi home for some reason ($18.40 + tip). Then he spends the next day smoking and talking on his cell phone while drilling holes in quarters (he wasted 2 dozen before he finally made 5 good ones). His plan didn't work, washing machines are too smart for that, but I admire his vision. Not just anyone can think of such creative ways to save money.

-Interesting B.C. factoid: Everyone thanks the bus drivers here. Doesn't happen back home. To tell you the truth, it's kind of creepy. Some people really get into it. They'll give the bus driver a hug and everything. If you don't thank the bus driver as you egress, sometimes he'll get really hostile and defensive. I'm like… Yeah, I'm not actually that thankful. Thank you for not driving the bus into a ravine, I guess. Have a good afternoon.

-When I first got to Victoria (where the elderly and the heroin-addicted meet to soil themselves in public) I was upset at how small everything was. The biggest mall here is smaller than the smallest mall in Ottawa. Now I'm thankful for that very fact. I went shopping with a girl last week for “a few clothes”. 6 hours later I'm standing outside the changeroom at Jacob carrying more bags than the homeless guy we saw on the bus on the way to the mall, running back and forth getting different sizes and colors and styles and offering helpful purchasing suggestions (ie. “Can we PLEASE go home?”). If the malls here were as big as they are in Ottawa I'd probably still be there now, killing rats for food.

-What is WITH clothing stores, anyway? Is it just me or are they all basically the same? Greys on one side, colors on the other. Pants, shirts, ugly shirts, really ugly shirts, “clearance” (“that one is SO 8 minutes ago”), lingerie off in the corner, fitting rooms in the back. When I told this to Nicole (the girl I was shopping with, or, more accurately, for), reasoning that since we've seen one store we've seen them all so we should go home, she called me an idiot and gave me more bags to carry. Apparently I struck a nerve.

-After we (and by we, I mean “not me”) finished shopping, I treated Nicole to Taco Bell (I'm such a charmer, I know). Before we got in line to order, I went to go to the bathroom (too much information, I know, but I have a point). The bathroom door was locked! I asked the friendly Taco Bell employee, who, like all Taco Bell employees, was required by law to wear braces, just what the hell they thought they were doing by locking the doors to the lavatory. He told me that people come into the bathroom to shoot up heroin and they would always find syringes in there. He said they had installed a black light in the bathroom so you couldn't see your veins, but the only result was that people tried to shoot up anyway and missed the vein and blood splattered all over the bathroom wall. So they had to lock the door and inspect everyone who used the bathroom pre-emptively, but that he would go and grab the key for me. I was like, “Yeah, I'll just hold it in.” Nothing cures your ravenous hunger like the impending threat of hepatitis.

-Back to the dorms: Every girl has a boyfriend. No boy has a girlfriend. It doesn't make mathematical sense. The explanation that occurs most frequently is the “long-distance boyfriend”. As in, we went out in high school but now we're going to different schools but we're going to try and make it work. Are you KIDDING me? Do you know how many times a long-distance relationship has worked? Zero. Every damn weekend these “couples” are breaking up, getting back together, cheating on each other, crying, whining, bitching, moaning, or some combination of the above. I'm seriously getting tired of consoling these half-couples after yet another telephone breakup. Actual statement made by my friend Eve: “It's the three-month anniversary of the time we got back together after that fight we had over me cheating on Blaine (her “boyfriend”) while I was in Venice. Can you believe he hasn't called me today?” I'm like, hey, have an anniversary present. It's a used syringe I got at Taco Bell.

-You know what the university needs? More buildings named after people nobody cares about.

-If you think nobody ever gets any schoolwork done in university, you're more or less correct. All the partying means even if you shut your door you won't get any peace and quiet. In an attempt to help the situation, the university has decided to open one building 24 hours a day. You just go there with your study buddy, find an empty classroom, close the door and work in peace and quiet. Because of the obvious security risks this poses (hey, the bathrooms in this building are not only unlocked, but lit properly as well), security is permanently patrolling to ensure safety for all students. I asked a security guard there if he has ever had any trouble in the building, late at night. He said no, but apparently he walks in on people having sex in a classroom about 5 times a night. That same day I filled out an application form for a job in campus security.

-If you're studying late at night in the Clearihue building (named after Sir John A. Clearihue, who came to Victoria in 1941 to escape the persecution of crocodile farmers of the time) you'll inevitably end up snacking on “machine cuisine”. That is, vending machine food. Quick question: When the hell did a can of coke start costing $1.50? I guess it's because they can charge whatever they want, people still line up to pay their insane prices. I hope they enjoy their coke and “grab bag” of Doritos while wearing dirty laundry. Morons.

-Now playing: In the spirit of shooting up heroin in a public forums: “The Passenger” by Iggy Pop. It's pleasantly addictive (the song, I mean) (actually, heroin too).

-A professor of mine announced that we have a midterm on Monday. I raised my hand and asked how come it's called a midterm if it's in September which is clearly not the middle of the term. She answered that it wasn't really a midterm, because we have two more of them before the final exam, that it's really just a test. So I asked (I was just curious) why she called it a midterm if it was really a test. She said that because of university policy, they're not allowed to have tests in these classes, just midterms. I told her I didn't believe the purpose of a policy is to attempt to circumvent it in the most undignified way possible, and that if we're not supposed to have tests in the class then we shouldn't have a test on Monday and we should wait until the middle of the term to have a midterm. My plan didn't work, the “midterm” is going to happen come hell or high water, the teacher now hates me for pointing out the flaw in her logic, and everyone in the class gave me weird looks suggesting that they would never, under no circumstances, ever be friends with me after that outburst. I'm still right, though.

-Generally speaking, the people in B.C. are uglier than the people in Ontario. Do not interpret this as a broad generalization on people here. I don't mean it as a rule, just as a trend I've noticed. Certainly, there are attractive people here, plenty of them. Most of them come from Ontario. I'm not the only one that has said this, by the way. It upsets a lot of Ontarians who came out here to ogle midriff-bearing teenagers. I actually kind of like it, though. I'm tired of being the one who brings down the status quo. Out here, I'm Brad Pitt.

-Also, the only people here who smoke are the ones from Ontario. B.C. people are very into “healthy living” which, translated roughly, means “organic coffee”. Someone tried explaining the concept of organic coffee to me one time and I went cross-eyed. The only thing I can report about organic coffee is that it costs $5.00 a cup and seems to make people look less attractive. I think I'll stick to the synthetic stuff so I can afford to pay $1.50 for a can of coke at 3 in the morning.

-I hate university libraries. Don't they have any books that people might actually voluntarily read? And what about the way they sort their collections. The public library uses the “Dewey” decimal system, which means that if the book you want is listed as 837.5, you'll find it somewhere between 837.4 and 837.6. In the university library, though, they use a complex series of letters and numbers that are randomly dispersed across 8 floors and a mezzanine. You spend two and a half hours on a scavenger hunt from hell hiking through stacks of books with no cover jacket. It's like playing library bingo each time you're looking for something. “O-72! I found it!”

-Quote of the moment: Some drunk girl named Jenna (hey, I only promised that I wouldn't drink, I was just taking notes) waxing philosophical on the subject of orgies: “I've had two foursomes before. But it was always me and a guy and then another girl and a guy. And we never traded or nothing. Does that even count as a foursome if you don't trade?” At this point, Jenna proceeds to vomit all over herself, thus inducing others to keel over in disgust.

-Quote of the moment #2: My drunken friend Jack, in response to Jenna's imparting wisdom: “Wanna have a foursome right now? Just you and me?” Jack then proceeds to make out with Jenna (henceforth known as “Puke-girl”) not 30 seconds after she turned her room into a vomitorium.

-Quote of the moment #3: Puke-girl, after she finished making out with Jack: “Wow, he kisses so much better than my boyfriend.”

-And, finally, I was late for class one afternoon (surprise!) when this weird foreign guy stopped me to show me his books on yoga and meditation. Right in the middle of campus! I tried telling him that I was a) late and b) not interested. He would have none of it. He kept showing me these pictures and explaining why yoga (or whatever the hell he was talking about, it could have been Tae-Bo) was going to help me in life. He said he wasn't selling the books, but he was looking for donations to help “cover the cost of printing the books”. I told him that if he was having such a hard time covering the costs of printing he shouldn't have had them printed in the first place. So he starts following me to class! He's talking along the way, and I'm ignoring him, and then he basically begs me for “a small donation, anything I could spare”. So I gave him the syringe I got at Taco Bell and told him to go play in traffic. I'm pretty sure the jury will acquit me.