During this 2012 heatwave, the sun has peeked its head out far enough to royally disturb the life of plants and animals, but days have become much livelier for human Ann Arborites — porches and front lawns transform into the most inhabited parts of all homes. Spring came early this year, and we’re all re-realizing that we do in fact have neighbors — not just walking, talking North Face fluff balls that sleep in the box over. We remember that fashion exists, ice cubes make drinks tastier, Frisbee is much harder than it looks and we are actually happy.
June in March: displeased sharecroppers, pleased students. We gain the right to stare at people as they walk by, stumble by, bike by, throw a football by … but there is this odd dichotomy going on. We are all together in the sunshine in our minimal clothing, listening to upbeat jams, but we’re isolated on rectangular plots, observing one another from a place of privacy — private property, that is.
It’s like each home is its own animal exhibit at the zoo.
Despite this social foible, the porch is a wonderful venue for showing off your latest trends with a sense of comfort and confidence derived from being at your home with your friends. But the outside world is still able to eye your latest harem pants, eyelash-tinting job, laptop stickers and smoothie blend made of Farmers Market kale and beets. I mean, #YOLO, right? #GBGH? “It tastes great, I promise!”
Hammocks, lawn chairs, roofs, towels and the steps are all superb locations for flaunting purposes. If you desire passers-by hear the sunny electronic indie-pop magic that is “Closer Than This” by St. Lucia, there’s no better setting than street-side to share your taste. If you’ve got a Cabo-induced tan to share with the world before it’s faded by the classroom, your sorority house rooftop or lawn is superlative. If you care to share your hula-hooping/cigarette smoking multitasking skills, then your co-op’s porch is idyllic.
Conclusion: The porch/front-lawn space truly works as a trendy outlet for all cultures within college campuses. And I’ve forgotten to mention that it is also the perfect place for students to explore their day-drinking possibilities as the premature summer weather makes most feel somehow off the hook. My feelings on the subject are rather neutral.
From a sardonic English-major standpoint, the porch/front-lawn area symbolizes a midpoint between security and insecurity. It’s positioned openly to the street but remains attached to the firmly rooted home that is typically a space prized for its safety. In real-person speak, it’s currently trendy to be hanging out on the porch because you can and because you look relaxed (and usually you are). Finally, it’s the finest spot to try out fresh fashions of which you may be unsure.
In terms of the most obvious form of style — what you wear — the inaugural weeks of warmth accentuate folks’ choices in threads, walking-wear, shades and every other germ of externalizing our person. In the last days of March this year, a generous amount of hair braiding, mint-colored everything, sports caps, highly saturated denim short shorts and canvas backpacks have come out to play. As long as the hair-feather fad remains buried, I’m content.
The power of the porch to let these fads out seems to be somewhat specific to the University because many other college towns do not have such a high population of students living in homes, and most Ann Arbor residences represent a historic, farmhouse architectural style that includes porches. The porch is a torch that lights the way to trendiness. Do you see what I did there? I rhymed. It’s not trendy, don’t do it.
Send out positive thoughts for those whose income depends upon agriculture, but then continue to soak in that unexpected Vitamin D and the ability to transport ourselves via bikes, skateboards and rollerblades. Beyond that, revel in your flip-flops, naturally highlighted hair and porch/front-lawn experience, which all facilitate your self-expression like a boss.