Tuesday, March 20, 2012

No. 807 – Man of Our Times

Performer: Genesis
Songwriters: Mike Rutherford
Original Release: Duke
Year: 1980
Definitive Version: None

(Sorry for the delay. I finally got online at the airport.)

Then there was my senior year, which was by far my most fun year at Wabash. I again spent the year off-campus (in a matter of speaking), and that year, after the debacle of the previous summer, I made sure to have my roommate and apartment locked up well ahead of time.

I remembered that Matt, whom I called at the last second the previous summer, was interested in moving out of the dorms his senior year, and we decided to share a place—as long as he promised to cut down his playing of Eight Days a Week to no more than twice a month. Fortunately, he had learned more songs by this time.

As I had learned the previous summer, the early bird gets the worm when it comes to primo Crawfordsville apartments, so Matt and I drove back to Wabash in June—a month after classes ended for the summer and two months before classes would start again—to check out a few places. I can’t remember whether we looked at more than one place—I seem to recall that we did—but I know for certain that we didn’t look any further after we looked at a place that was one block south of the campus entrance campus.

It was a huge Victorian house that wasn’t in too run-down of a condition and painted bright yellow. The house had been divided into four units—two up and two down—and the available apartment was on the first floor in the front of the house, facing East. We had a bit of a covered porch that ran the width of the house and a little front yard. The side door led to an open foyer that had stairs that led to another apartment and a door to the available apartment.

After seeing a few off-campus apartments in my time, I couldn’t believe it when we walked inside. The great room that encompassed the front living and dining rooms was impossibly great. A wood-burning fireplace was in the living room and the dining room had a bay window seat. The living room had floor-to-ceiling windows, so there wouldn’t be any need to turn on any lights until it got dark out.

We had a small but adequate cooking kitchen, with a gas stove, and then bending off to the side was a hallway and two bedrooms with a single bathroom in between. The first bedroom was just off the dining room and had large sliding-door closets. The back bedroom was smaller with a large walk-in closet. The rent was $350 per month, so $175 apiece, but the landlord was going to charge us $25 extra because of Matt’s dog, Ziggy, whom he wanted to come to Wabash with him. I was fine with that.

Well, I almost never agree to buy anything right away. It’s an irrational (yet oft-realized) fear that by swooping in on the first thing that’s available, I might miss out on something better down the road. Matt wasn’t sure he and his folks could swing the rent, although it was way less than what the dorms would cost. We said we wanted to think about it, and we walked back to my car.

We thought about it for a whole 5 minutes. We didn’t even get into the car. We looked at each other and agreed: We got to take it.

The landlord watched our half-hearted debate at the car the whole time. He knew he had us when we first walked in, so he was ready when we said we’d take it. We put down a deposit to guarantee it, and signed a lease. We were back in Columbus before dinner, which surprised Beth, who thought I might need to spend the whole weekend to find the right place. Nope. We found it right away.

That was the year I really got into Duke, so when I hear it—and particularly this song—I think of hanging out on my green-and-gold love seat in the living room with Duke on the record player while Ziggy barked at the Lambda Chis as they walked past on the sidewalk before strutting around the living room with pride.

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