Naive is never a word I would normally use to describe myself. I may seem like a goofy girl sometimes, but I’m always watching, always paying attention, always checking my surroundings.
I spook easily and it doesn’t take much for me to have that gut feeling that something isn’t right, even when there is no real reason for me to think that. I’m just jumpy and I have way too much of an imagination for my own good. I also read too many murder mysteries growing up.
But after last night, I’m just….uneasy.
My undergrad was in a small, safe town. I would run the loop at 10pm without a second thought. You see people walking across campus at night and I have never heard of an incident. If I wanted to leave the fraternity house before my friends were ready, I would just walk back to my dorm alone. It never even crossed my mind that anything would happen. When the ice storm hit and half the state was without power, it was as organized as an event like that can be. The school made sure the students would be warm and safe and taken care of. No problems.
But last night, for some reason that I still have not heard why, the power went out to most of this city, including the university.
2 friends and I were in the library when it happened. Being in a huge building like that and then having it go pitch black is a little creepy. But the generators kicked in and the emergency lights came on, which in the library, made it still bright enough to work and read. We stayed for a while and then decided to call it a night.
Our campus is surrounded by woods, and even has woods in the middle of campus. As we left the library, the full impact of being on a campus without power hit us. We were going to go up to our offices and drop stuff off, but one look at the massive building with dark hallways and we decided we would just go to our cars.
After the hours of 4pm, students with certain car tags can park where the faculty do. It had been raining, so we all parked in the covered parking garage. I assumed the university had generators and had some sort of emergency lighting.
That parking garage was absolutely pitch black. You could not see a foot in front of you.
As we were walking up to it and realized it wasn’t lit, we started making jokes, but I think we were all trying to act tougher than we actually felt. It didn’t help that we could hear other students talking, but could not see anyone.
We all safely made it to our cars and we all drove home slowly, despite the fact that I almost hit a kid because he figured he was a pedestrian and the fact that there were no street lights and that he was wearing all black didn’t matter.
But as I drove past the largest dorms, which are a block from my apartment, I saw no less than 30 police cars with lights on and a couple ambulances. I called my friend who had to drive home the same way and we just wondered if a student was hit or if because of the power outage the police came to the dorms since it looked like the ONLY light was in the stairwells.
I heard sirens through most of the night, but again, assumed it was college kids not willing to take turns at the intersections without power.
However, it turns out there was a small scale riot last night.
Well, the school’s official word is that it was an impromptu party that got out of hand, but that is just bs.
When over 1,000 students are breaking out in fights, shooting off fireworks, (some insist gunshots went off as well), breaking into cars and just destroying things, it’s not a party. 3 kids were taken to the hospital in ambulances. One girl was driving and stopped at an intersection and some guys broke into her car. (She was able to drive off, but with a shattered window and pretty shaken up.)
It has been a bit of an eye opener today. I guess I am naive. I never imagined that the power going out would cause problems like this. Even worse? That walk through the parking garage could have landed us on the front page of the news. Last night, I was creeped out, but the thought of any actual real danger just never occurred to me. I’m used to college campuses being a safe place.
Not so much anymore.
Next time, I’ll be calling campus police to escort me to my car. And I guess I really do need to buy some mace since I tend to work better at night and at school than during the day or at home.
Maybe this just makes me a little less naive. Just sad that “school” is no longer a safe haven.