Brock About Town: The silver lining to the summer’s end and students’ return

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Illustration by Lev Cantoral

It’s that time of the year again. The city pools are closing, students are coming back, the average temperature has dropped exactly one degree and the sun’s setting sooner, causing the summer people in your life to lose their minds. (You know Dave at work, who has a SAD lamp on his desk and observes “Margarita Monday”? Dave’s having a bad week.)

Most people see move-in time as an inconvenience, and that’s totally valid. Nobody likes having traffic disputes with middle-aged tax accountants from Northbrook, Illinois and their daughters, who absolutely need to be at Bed Bath & Beyond right this second and will not allow your petty existence to stand in their way. Speaking as a philistine who chooses her coffee based on caffeine percentages, I’m a little miffed that the Starbucks line is about to triple. However, there are some things about the beginning of the semester that are actually pretty sweet:

  • Free stuff. What’s not to like about a functionally endless supply of minifridges and gently used box springs dotting the side of the road? I can basically feel you judging me through this page, but I posit that with enough bleach, it’s no different to the Salvation Army.
  • Context. We’ve spent the last three months wandering around in our insular little hipster fantasy, drinking PBR at DIY punk shows to which we traveled on our unicycles. We need frat parties and math classes to remind ourselves that we’re not actually in Portlandia.
  • Hope. Depending on what sort of person you are, watching young people starting their adult lives, eyes shining with promise, may make you feel better about your long slide into decrepitude. It’s not working for me so far.
  • Cool events. For me, the beginning of the school year is marked by Taste of Iowa City. I am not exaggerating when I say I live for this thing. It is my Super Bowl. However, I hope none of you were there on Aug. 28, because I spent the evening shoveling samosas from Masala into my mouth in such a manner that you guys couldn’t possibly still respect me.

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 270.

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