Student Loss: A Love Story

by Steed Dropout
June 10, 2014


Cal Berkeley students shove you off the walks; their backpacks–land-mining coffee house floors–may topple you. Their perfumes bring tears to your eyes. Their ebullient outbursts deafen you.

As a townie, you may wish to be rid of your gownies and be done with these flash-in-the-pan undergrads. Until they leave you for surf-and-sand southland summers; leave you cold.

Only yesterday, they wowed you with graduation street-theater. One group, “a family,” they told me, marched up Teley, 25-throng, accompanied by a spirited mariachi-band, complete with tubas.

Family grads. Photo by Ted Friedman.

A family of four staged a night-time event in the 7-11 parking lot on Parker St.

Graduation. Photo by Ted Friedman.

At first you may be pleased to have “your town” back, but soon the empty reality of your situation takes hold: you’ve been seduced and abandoned by a bunch of kids. Now what?

Never a dull moment. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Telegraph Avenue, without student crowds, exposes its dark side, which had hidden beneath the students’ gowns.


No one here but us nuts.

Nut. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Except for an insane asylum, Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue has the corner (TeleHaste) on nuts. Cops fill in for mental health workers, whose hours were slashed after recession-cuts. Neighborhood types hardly notice, except when the ambulances move in perhaps we’re callous; perhaps we’re just pragmatic.

We’re just part of a vast suffering throng, left to befriend them or spare our change. With student-reduced summers, it’s all on us.

Maybe someone should do something about all this human suffering. But after much Berkeley talk, we seem to have settled for let-it-be. Bottom-line: the nuts are part of our scene. Telegraph wouldn’t be the same without them, and they prefer their free-wheeling way of life to three hots and a cot.

Weekends in July will reprise Sunday-on-Telegraph street fairs, sparsely attended last year, but we’ll somehow survive with a juggler, clown, and–new this year, Ping-Pong clinics.

By late August, students will begin trickling back and our whole love-hate romance re-starts.

Thanks for the memories. Photo by Ted Friedman.

These views do not represent those of publications in which my work appears

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.