Arts & Entertainment Editor
Imagine all the primo parking you could ever want. Imagine the streets of I.V. doubled in size without any cars. Imagine a noiseless frat row and Del Playa. Imagine driving carefree through the streets without fear that a bicyclist, skateboarder, or pedestrian will pop up out of nowhere. This seemingly impossible fantasy was a reality during UCSB’s winter break, but it turned out not to be as dreamy as it initially seemed.
You might not even recognize the ghost town that is I.V. (and campus) during the weeks of Dec. 16 to Jan. 6. With most college students gone home to celebrate the holidays, I.V. retains very few of its 27,000 residents.
For the dedicated student and non-partier, this description may sound idyllic — no loud music, no post-party litter, no police or fire truck sirens, no trouble finding any parking (even on a Friday night!). I can’t help but admit that for a few days each quarter (namely, during midterms and finals), I would greatly appreciate an empty and quiet I.V.
Coming off finals, I was happy for a while with this dream come true. I parked right in front of my door instead of in my back-lot because the space in front of my house was completely vacant, and didn’t even require parallel parking. I walked the clean and spacious streets of I.V. without fear of crazy drivers, skaters, scooters, or bicycles. I even saw Birds and Limes meticulously arranged in neat rows — not a single one thrown into the bushes or knocked over on the streets!
“Pinch me; this must be a dream,” I thought to myself.
I wasn’t pinched, of course, but smacked in the face by a closed Subway door. I was jarred out of my trance when I realized that, because of the lack of business over the holidays, many restaurants closed down, including Subway, Blenders, Fire & Ice, and, of course, the UCSB dining halls and the UCen’s collection of eateries.
After that jolt — and feeling pretty sad and hungry without my sandwich — I started to notice all of the other things I missed about I.V. and UCSB during the crowded school year: always finding games of sand volleyball or spikeball at the parks and beaches, meeting up with friends at the library, seeing and petting everyone’s dogs as they walked past, saying hi to and annoying my friends at work, walking through the always bustling food joints, and party-hopping and hanging out with friends and strangers who are always so fun and welcoming.
The paradisal, relaxing, and quiet illusion of I.V. soon faded and I saw the real, grim, and lonely college town without my pals rendered even more desolate by the fact that I was also apart from my family and friends back home during the holidays. The fact that I had to work also didn’t do much to liven my mood.
While I might wish for a few relaxing days like those of winter break over the course of the quarter, I would never want this winter wonderland to stay. All in all, UCSB and I.V. are not the places I fell in love with when they are devoid of their people, and I found that out pretty quickly after having to stay here for part of this break.