|Where the sidewalk ends|
|Written by Laura Braun, Columnist|
|Sunday, 09 November 2008 18:00|
Caution: extreme whininess ahead. As a child, Shel Silverstein often invoked deep thought for me. Where DID the sidewalk end? This year I am forced to reanalyze Shel's poetry a bit. For instance, I have spent the past two weeks wondering where the heck the sidewalk begins.
University Street sounded like the ideal location to spend my last semester at the good ol' Ilstu, but I suppose I should have paid more attention to the obscene amount of construction planning. Having signed my lease a year ago, I don't think I could have ever foreseen what troubles my practically on-campus apartment would bring.
It started at the beginning of the semester. Dunn-Barton's poorly placed fence reached almost to the curb around it, making me choose to either cross the street and walk in the parking lot or just walk in the street itself. Soon enough, there was no street to walk in. A chunk of University Street was blocked off for the demolition of the dorms. I couldn't even use the back entrance to Fell Hall anymore unless approaching from College Avenue.
Once a straight shot from Vidette headquarters, I now have to walk around the Quad, adding an additional 10 to 15 minutes to my commute, which, believe me, is a lot when freezing winds are blowing through your hoodie. I had gotten use to inconvenience after a while and let it go, but now yet another line has been crossed: more construction surrounding my humble little apartment.
Around Halloween, I noticed the tennis courts start filling, not with students, but with trucks and strange metal objects. Soon after, a fence blocking off the sidewalk was erected. Next, yet another fence near the parking lot, which completely eliminated the sidewalk behind the College of Business.
Getting down University Street is starting to make me feel like a human "Frogger" game. I get to one point and it's blocked off, so I cross the street only to encounter yet another roadblock and cross again. The walk has become one of the most dreaded parts of my day and always results in a crummy mood. I don't just get frustrated about it, I get Woody Allen frustrated; irrationally angry about any little thing getting in between my midday nap and me.
This construction has turned me into something I hate: a grass walker. One of my biggest pet peeves are people who refuse to walk an extra foot around corners on the Quad for the sake of the landscaping, resulting in those giant elephant tracks around the campus.
I normally make an extra effort not to ruin our beautiful Quad, but this time it's personal. I, too, have been marching alongside the fence, through the grass, to cut an extra 30 seconds off my walk. I get an evil little vindication from it, too, and I don't feel bad for it.
God help you, if you're a shoe fanatic like me. I have now gotten several pairs of boots muddy and even put a hole in a pair of ballet flats from walking on gravel. When I finally reach my building, I have to scrape the caked on mud and leaves off the bottoms of my poor shoes unless I feel like deep cleaning all the carpeting in my apartment that day.
Listen, I know that change is necessary and that when it comes to pleasing a huge amount of people that you're kind of damned if you do and damned if you don't, but I just don't get why all of this change is happening at once. While I'm glad that firefighters got the opportunity to practice in our vacant buildings over the summer, it would've been really nice to have come back to campus with the majority of the demolition taken care of already.
I feel like every day I walk out of my apartment to find something else blocked off. I think commuters feel the same, as the open one day, closed the next parking garage seem to result in some pretty angry looking U-turns while I try to cross the street without getting run over.
The area surrounding University Street is starting to look like post-apocalyptic ISU and while I know that it's going to be beautiful and convenient one day (something like three years from now), I guess I'm just bummed that I have to deal with the inconvenience and won't even get to benefit from it.
You're welcome, future students. You owe me a new pair of black suede boots.