April 7, 2010

161 List: #86 Drive Your Car Up And Down Libe Slope Or Ho Plaza

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Last Thursday night, I found myself in an unusual position. While what seemed like the entirety of the senior class was soaking up the warm weather and downing sangria at CTB and, later, going out in full force on the streets of Collegetown, I was at the library. As the clock struck two, alarms in Olin began to sound cuing the late-night exodus to Uris, my friend — let’s call her Megan — and I decided to go for a little joyride.

All week we’d been trying to predict when the slope would be relatively quiet so we could plan a study break with #86 on the Big Red Ambition list: Drive your car up and down Libe Slope or Ho Plaza.

I called my roommates, who were out, and asked if they wanted to join us for the excursion. We headed to Collegetown to collect them (while scoping out possible tracks up the slope) only to receive a phone call once we arrived that they no longer wanted to come. Their loss.

Back on West, we waited for drunk pedestrians to clear the way before starting our ascent up the slope. I drove with extreme caution (read: 15 miles per hour), but it was still amazing. There are few better ways to experience the beauty of our campus than by staring up at the clocktower, moon in the background, slope on either side. I only wish I’d remembered to open the sunroof. The drive was not nearly as treacherous as we’d anticipated, and as soon as my car “thumped” and rolled off the curb into the McGraw parking lot, “Megan” and I were ready for more.

The pedestrians, however, were back in full force. I’d like to ask why so many people were walking up Libe Slope at 2:30 a.m., but I’m sure they were wondering what the hell we were doing at the same hour. After driving my car along the entire span of sidewalk and patiently waiting for people to move out of the way of our desired downward track, we grew tired of idling. I wanted to honk my horn, but somehow that seemed inappropriate. So, we headed out to the Arts Quad and drove toward Sibley. We hadn’t quite gotten our fill of driving on sidewalks, which, I promise, is actually a lot more fun than it sounds, so we started up Ho Plaza. As we reached the home stretch, however, we saw two cop cars and a rather reflective bicycle moving toward us.

As  it turned out, some women sitting out in a tent for Easter praying had seen us rolling through the Arts Quad and called the cops. Overreaction much? So, we sat terrified in the car as the Cornell police bicycle moved slowly toward us. Fortunately, the cops were somewhat understanding of the situation. (“Soooo … I write this column….”) As it turns out, 161 Things indiscretions are increasingly common in the spring, as seniors try to fit in their last hurrahs, and if anything, I think the cop felt a little sorry for us. We were heading to the library at 3 a.m., after all.

Relieved that things did not appear to be heading toward arrest, I handed over my license. There was just one little problem. Apparently, my car registration was expired. My bad. So, though I got off with a warning for the whole driving-through-campus bit, I couldn’t escape without a ticket and a well-deserved lecture. People walking late at night are not anticipating cars coming up behind them, the policeman remarked as a campus maintenance truck pulled out in front of us and drove toward the Arts Quad. His point, poor timing aside, was duly noted. Though I think I maxed out at 20 m.p.h., not all college students drive like 95- year-old women, and obviously, drunk driving on campus would almost certainly end in disaster for anyone strolling through the Arts Quad. Sometimes though, you’ve just got to live a little for the 161.   RLD

Original Author: Jenni Warne