Out of context

"I just really want it to stay up ... Wait! I didn't mean it that way..." - an exasperated Scene staffer, traversing the fall semester's very first production night.

Two weeks ago, campus was a barren, featureless social desert; a playground for chirping crickets and a remaining handful of stalwart summer students. This week, things have changed. Errant frisbees once again fly freely across the quad, hitting witless passersby who enter their airspace. A choir of cell phone rings once again cuts through the muggy, late summer air. The Ward building, no longer visible, has been tucked once again beneath its perennial shroud of cigarette smoke. And what's that? Could it be ... acoustic guitar riffs, once again floating softly into the breeze from the steps of the School of International Service? Ahh, the generic sounds of a mid-size, private liberal arts college campus whirring back to life.

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It's Saturday night. Do you know where your freshmen are? Probably standing outside Letts-Anderson-Centennial, waiting for a total stranger to give them a ride to a fraternity or sorority-sponsored party. That's where most of the newest female additions to the campus body appeared to be this Saturday evening, dressed to the nines and decked out in enough cosmetics to kill a cow. One young damsel, confused about the location of her transportation to the shindig, thought it might be a good idea to sit while she waited ... in the middle of the road. Maybe she's on to something. Although irresponsible partying can often be the most dangerous choice made by unwitting freshmen, it's also a known fact that sitting in streets and waiting to get hit by a car is a great deterrent to even making it to any party in the first place.

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What would an AU academic year be without a slew of South Side fire alarms? According to embedded sources at time of printing, five have already sounded off, meaning the fall average of around like 835 is well on its way to being reached. One student reported hearing a counterpart mutter a telling "Oh, shit..." right before the most recent alarm went off. A word to the wise: those red box things? When you hit them, they precipitate mass evacuations of large buildings. Then again, everyone responsible for the purposeful drunken fire alarm pulls of yore already knew that. Welcome to American University.

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Contrary to widespread belief, "Back in Black" is not just a classic ACDC song - or so it would appear. As AU's recently vapid campus begins to bustle back to action, sightings of gothic-style dress have abounded in an entirely unprecedented way. A pale pair of female students was spotted ducking into TDR while sporting generous heads of unnaturally dark (read: dyed) hair, clad head to toe in jet-black garb. Even more striking was an intrepid gentleman who, during a Monday evening game of ultimate Frisbee on the quad, was spotted in a black tank top, tucked deep into his high-hiked, restrictive black jeans. It just goes to show that one man's ebony masterpiece might be another's post-summer confusion and disbelief.

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With all the hype surrounding the opening of Katzen (you even have to CROSS THE STREET to get there!) and the beauty of the outside of the building, one would think the inside would be just as impressive. Sure, all who are artsy are bathed in the glow of the sunlight streaming through the many windows, and the cascading staircase seems a perfect fit for impromptu choral concerts, but did we expect the inside to be so bare? It's basically a huge desert of white space with no oasis of makeshift paintings or inspirational banners. After all that construction, a warmer welcome would've been nice, but we're not complaining about the big improvement in space. Bye bye Watkins and Kreeger, hello vast, blank walls of Katzen.

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