I’ve spent the past three years living either on campus or so close to campus that I could hear the endless squealing and clapping of sorority girls every year during rush.* Even though my addresses changed from one year to the next, they were all within about a mile of one another. My neighborhood was Campus – real estate prices were low, but public urination rates were concerning, to say the least.
*Which I’m sure is a glorious and time honored tradition, and my ignorance of it is in no way intended to belittle or diminish it. (Thanks again for being on Writers, Molly.)
This year, I’m living in a house nearly two miles away from campus, in a room that, as I’ve already mentioned, is so small that it actually makes me look fatter when I’m in it due to a trick of perspective. This area is so distant from campus that it has the distinction of being home to some actual, real people – as in, non students. People who just live in Eugene for the hell of it. I believe the term they used in the 1970s was ‘Townies’, which is proof that college students have a solid history of being elitist douchetrucks.
After first moving in, I was a little bummed out when I realized that in addition to my daily commute to campus for school, I was also going to have to ride my bike out there every time I needed to get groceries or rent a movie or grab an emergency Hostess Fruit Pie from 7-11.*
*I’m pretty sure a lemon flavored Hostess Fruit Pie can cure cancer. Of course, it’ll also give you Type 2 Diabetes, so…
But then, I made a shocking discovery - there’s a whole freaking town around the University of Oregon. Get this: It’s where all the Townies live! And as it turns out, the Townies have their own supermarkets and video stores and 7-11, and at my place right now, I’m actually closer to most of those establishments than I was when I lived near campus!
I’m still trying to adjust to my new surroundings, though.
This one’s closer to my place than the campus location was to any of my previous dwellings. Also, they sell movies at this one – there’s a little rack by the door full of DVDs. One that jumped out and caught my eye was There Will Be Blood.
A sticker on the case alerted passers-by that this was an EMPTY DISPLAY COPY – SEE CASHIER FOR DVD, which came as a surprise to me, as I hadn’t pegged Paul Thomas Anderson’s oil-boom epic about obsession, religion, and greed to be a real hot item for the sort of delinquent who would shoplift from a 7-11.
Also, I’m pretty sure the cashier was on crack, because he was having this conversation (or monologue) with another customer, who was trying desperately to leave:
McDonald’s and Wendy’s
Great! If I ever want a sub-par burger that probably has somebody’s pubic hair on it, I’m in like flint.
Mulligan’s Irish Pub
I was not aware that there were themed pubs in Eugene. The only two themes I knew of were Student Bar, where the walls are covered in autographed jerseys and you have to shout to be heard over Kayne West, and Trucker Bar, where the clientele glare at and/or murder any students who wander in.
But there’s Mulligan’s – a squat, dark green cinderblock building with no windows to speak of. I think I might become a regular, because on the off chance that there’s a nuclear attack while I’m inside I’ll be so well protected I won’t even know it happened.
Long’s Meat Market
I was not aware that there was still room in the economy for markets specializing in such a specific food item – particularly in Eugene, which has an entrenched and suitably unbearable vegan asshole contingent.
I feel like I want to patronize the crap out of this store, because I’m the sort of guy who would not only attempt but also benefit from an afternoon sampling the finest organic artesian bacons from around the world. However, I’m also the guy who goes to the supermarket and turns up his nose when some flashy all natural company tries to charge more than $4 for a jar of pasta sauce, so I don’t think I’d be willing to spend a lot of money on highfalootin’ meat when I could go to Safeway instead and then use the savings on liquor. Speaking of…
The liquor store ever so close to my house doesn’t appear to have a name, other than LIQUOR, posted in red neon above the door. Floor to ceiling glass windows showcase the goods, as if to say, “Hey. Drink this.”
I haven’t been able to bring myself to go in just yet – not just to this store, but to any liquor store in Oregon. So much of the fun of living in California all summer wasn’t just seeing bottles of hooch lined up next to the Lay’s, but the excitement of examining the price tags and being shocked at how cheap everything was due to the lack of any discernable state taxation.
When I finally do go to LIQUOR (and believe you me, that day will come – probably soon) I’m going to have to take some Kleenex and cue up ‘Always Something There To Remind Me’ on my iPod as I survey the damage that those malevolent fuckshits at the Oregon Liquor Control Commission continue to rain down upon my checking account.
Truman Capps hopes that the anonymous enraged Boise State fans from the weekend’s update don’t use these locations to stake out the neighborhood and kill him.