Some days I just can’t win.
I went to a party last weekend. It was one of those nights that my friends had persuaded me to go out, and I succumbed like the social weakling I am to heavy-weight peer pressure — a mistake, I would find out later. It was an unusually dead Friday, and to top it off, it was raining. Once we finally got to our destination — a huge mansion-type house on South Division — I was wet and completely unenthused. Sitting on the couch in the large living room, I sulked, glowered even, as I sipped on a very full-flavored beer someone had given me.
After being angrily bored for some time I decided to make the most of my situation. I turned to my buddy keeping me company on the couch and said those fateful words, “Hey, you wanna dance? Let’s dance!”
After about five minutes, I was actually enjoying myself. There were other people getting down. My best friend had finally made her way to the dance floor from wherever she was in this monstrous house to join me. The DJ was decent, and there were no unwelcome undergrads trying any nonsense. Sigh. Almost perfect.
Right on schedule, the fun-sucking University Police chose this moment to show up and issue a noise violation. Most of the party-goers scattered by instinct, and my friends and I decided to take our leave. I walked over to the couch, picked up my purse, which had been knocked to the floor and my phone was gone. I searched everywhere, under tables and the piano standing nearby. I even ripped apart the couch, the scene of my prior melancholy moodiness. Oh the humanity — my phone was gone.
Needless to say, I was angry. A person that tends to see red more often than not anyway, I was completely incensed that my phone had been filched from the very room I had been standing in, when I had left it unattended for about fifteen minutes total, after sitting on my derriere for the entire night.
The story of the Awful Friday Night is not over yet, however. I walked home using a shortcut to get through my parking lot behind my apartment — the typical Ann Arbor hole-in-the-fence. This hole has been mended several times, though I once heard a girl living below me yelling at someone in the process of kicking it, and it is quite handy, I will admit. Upon squeezing through the fence, I saw that the passenger side mirror of my car, which I habitually parked in the same spot had been ripped off the side of the vehicle.
After spending several days phoneless, I looked at the call information from the night the phone was taken and the perpetrator had made a whole host of text messages. I called one number after another. The story was the same with every call — these were people from my own phone book, not the thief’s like I had thought originally. Whoever it was had contacted around ten people with offers of graphic sexual favors. From looking at the phone records, some of the conversations were quite extensive. Good thing I have no shame, I tell you. The list included ex-boyfriends, an awful one-time hookup, girlfriends, gay friends — the whole gamut. When I turned an old phone on that day, I received several texts from people apparently attempting to follow up on the dizzying array of promiscuous fun I had suggested.
I found this night, besides an exercise in anger management, quite interesting. What is it about students here at this school that makes them think that they can do whatever they want? True, no lasting harm was caused. Both of the situations can be fixed. I ordered a new phone, I duct-taped my mirror and I contacted every person to explain what had happened (the ones who had erroneously thought that the sexting was genuine lamely tried to tell me that they knew it was all a joke).
But none of that is the point. It costs money to go to this school, and it’s the truth that most students take classes and live here, on the parental dime. I’m not an exception to this, quite honestly. But there is something seriously wrong with a campus where students think it is acceptable to make a joke out of someone else’s property. At the end of the day, it’s not really about the damages. It’s about the fact that now I don’t park my car in a certain spot in my own enclosed parking lot. It’s about the fact that someone I don’t know sitting near me at a party could be a thief with an imbecilic sense of humor. It’s about the fact that some people who live here are apparently entitled assholes. And that’s just too bad.
Vanessa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.