Monday, April 30, 2012

No. 766 – Alone Tonight

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

The apartment my senior year at Wabash was perfect not only because it was big and cheap—two of the most beautiful words in renterdom—but also its location. We were three houses north of the main entrance to campus, but I never took that route.

Instead, I would go around back, past the apartment where a retired Navy cook, whose name I’ve long since forgotten, lived with his gigantic cat, who, it seemed, was perpetually looking out the window in a daze. Back there was an alley behind the Lew—the Lew Wallace Motor Inn (yes, named for THE Lew Wallace, the guy who wrote Ben Hur and grew up in Crawfordsville).

The alley opened onto Wabash Avenue, the North border of campus, and a quick walk through the Arboretum would have you at Yandes Hall, where the radio station was. You could be to class—door to door—in 30 seconds if you pushed it.

We lived across the street from the head football coach, and, as I mentioned, just down the way from where the Lambda Chi fraternity had set up temporary quarters.

The Lambchops, as they were called, did things differently in a number of ways—the most obvious one being that their fraternity house was on an island, nestled behind Mud Hollow, where the baseball team played, and clear on the other side of campus from the main entrance.

Granted, clear on the other side of campus meant the opposite end of a large single block of streets—about a 10-minute walk—but the Lambda Chis were as remote as you could get at Wabash. Every other fraternity except the Tekes had at least one other fraternal neighbor, and the Tekes were on the Wabash block, almost next door to the Martindale dormitory.

Anyway, the Lambda Chis were rebuilding their house—a two-year project—so the fraternity procured a bunch of houses along Grant Avenue, the East border of Wabash. So the ones who didn’t make their own arrangements lived there.

Everyday we’d see them go as a group past our floor-to-ceiling windows on the other side of the street, and everyday Ziggy, Matt’s dog, would hear them, jump up on the green chair that we kept by one of the windows and bark at them. They’d wave and call, “Hey Ziggy.” And when convinced that she had chased them all away, she’d jump down off the chair and go strutting around the apartment, like, yeah, who’s bad?

How bad was Ziggy? Ziggy was a mutt who was about 3 inches and 3 pounds to the large side of being a purse pooch but didn’t know it. One day Matt and I took Ziggy with us as we played Frisbee golf through the campus. When I told Matt that the Phi Delts were coming through with the General, Matt immediately scooped up Ziggy and hid with her behind a tree, because he figured she’d go after the General if she saw him. The fact that the General was a massive Great Dane would have meant nothing to Ziggy. That’s how bad she was.

I couldn’t tell you what Ziggy was, because I don’t think Matt even knew. She was 10 the year she was a campus dog and was an integral part of my senior year experience. Having Ziggy around, thumping her empty bowl in disgust or barking at passing Lambda Chis, made sure that, even when Matt was away visiting his girlfriend or I was missing Beth, I was never alone.

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