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An Ode To Ohio State Off-Campus: Here's To The Grind Life

Ol' boy doin' what he do. (Image provided by Shutterstock.)
Ol' boy doin' what he do. (Image provided by Shutterstock.)

Sometime between 11:30 PM Tuesday night and 10:30 AM Wednesday morning, my house on the corner of 14th/4th Ave was broken into. Such are the risks to the life I chose when I decided to move onto the "Fourteenth Avenue Jungle", as my neighbors have come to call it.

I know there are some zealots out there who clutch semi-automatic rifles and fantasize about somebody breaking into their house so they can shoot somebody over their TV, but I don't own any guns...and thankfully for me, I wasn't home. (I doubt I would have the heart to kill another human being over some electronics anyway.)

Some people are filled with rage when their possessions are stolen. I try not to be like that because I hate being angry, and I try not to get too attached to material things. Any possession of mine can be bought or bartered for the right price. (Not that I have many possessions after being looted, but the point still stands.)

I'm happy for whatever random drifters (or more ominously, somebody I know), who came up on my roommate's and mine's belongings. I hope they sold/pawned my possessions and purchased a mountain of the finest illicit goods and are some of the highest individuals in the world right now. After their black-ops mission, they'd certainly be worthy of those spoils. Unfortunately for them, (or maybe, unfortunately for other Ohio State students still living in the area), the culprits will still have their addictions to fuel whenever their relative highs wear off.

Frankly, I wouldn't have my time living in the east residential area of Ohio State's sprawling campus end any other way. I've been robbed, and along with having a cinder block thrown through my Jeep's driver's side window when I lived on Iuka Avenue a few years back, I feel like I got the true experience of the immediate off-campus area. For some reason, I feel proud.

At the end of this month, I'll be saying goodbye to the campus-area grindlife. It's somewhat bittersweet. After spending two years in Missoula, Montana, and exiled for another year in the brochacho hellhole known as "The Olentangy Commons", this area of Columbus has come to hold a special place in my heart.

I will miss saying hello to the transients digging for scrap metal in my dumpster every morning. I will miss the people drinking bagged up Four Lokos in my carport. I will miss the sound of breaking crack cocaine vials under my feet as I walk to fetch a half gallon of chocolate milk from the Exxon-Mobil on 17th and Summit.

I will miss the poorly lit, graffitied-to-hell alleyways that I use to navigate my way through the maze of one-way streets that the east residential area is. I will miss conjuring the vigilance necessary to stumble to my (shockingly flesh and blood) girlfriend's house at 2:30 in the morning.

I will miss people like Chaz McGee, willing to perform a back-flip off damn near any object in return for whatever small amount of money I may possess on my persona at that time. I will miss walking by the Newport during ICP concerts and getting barked at by Juggalos. (Maybe next year, I'll find enough testicular fortitude to run wild with the Juggalos for a night... it's been a lifelong dream of mine.)

I will miss being in walking distance of fine eateries like the Waffle House, Cane's Chicken, Jimmy John's, Apollo's, Potbelly, Fermagio's, and Cluck-A-Doodle-Do. I am going to actually have to learn to cook now.

One thing I won't miss is the Sigma Chi Fraternity. Having lived in a block radius of those shirtless, alcohol saturated clouts for basically 3 of the last 4 years, I have come to hate those country-blaring bros with nearly every mote of my being. In fact, to anybody who still has to suffer their presence, here's a cool idea for a prank: break up a bunch of beer bottles and other glass and throw it into their volleyball pit. I'd also recommend arson, but as everybody knows... there's nothing funny about arson. (And brick doesn't burn well anyways.)

I also won't miss the Columbus Police Department, because frankly, they are kind of dicks. Having been hawked and arrested for such major offenses as asking police "What if I woke up one day and decided to be a white cop?", I don't have much love in my heart for those guys. If only they'd have shown as much interest in solving my robbery as they did trying to prosecute me for jaywalking or making up bullshit cases against me (shit talking isn't a crime, you guys), maybe I'd have at least a snowball's chance in reclaiming my meager possessions.

I don't like nice things; I like to grind out life in the gutter with the muck. The east residential area off Ohio State's campus offered me a place to cut my teeth in for many years, and for that, I will always be thankful. If prospective students have a chance to live in these slums, I wouldn't recommend passing up the opportunity.

After all, how can you claim to get the true Ohio State experience until you've been victimized by property crime?