I really, really wanted to live in a dorm in college.
I relished the chance to get away from “home” – the place where I slept on a 30-year-old couch in a mildewy basement with no air conditioning and, sometimes, no heat – and live out on my own, where I could make friends and immerse myself in my studies. I had picked out a couple of state colleges at the other end of the state, and when I realized that the cost to live on campus was going to be far, far more than I could afford, I resigned myself to staying at home.
I had friends who lived in dorms, though. It looked like they were having a more or less good time. Their roommates remain cherished friends to this day – more than I can say for the moldy glass of something terrible that resided in the corner of my basement and had become, by the end, self-aware.
I don’t know what it was, but it was damned good at chess.
I also had friends who lived in “off-campus” housing; that is, apartments that were a stone’s throw from the “campus proper” but were not technically under the college or university’s purview. These residences, where the young dwellers were left entirely to their own devices, were the most fun and most exhausting option. The party atmosphere was utterly unchecked (save for the irregular intervention of municipal authorities), and noisy social gatherings, fights, loud music and the unimaginable were constant.
(My friends still recall the night that I, dressed in a button-up shirt and tie, slacks and an overcoat while smoking a pipe, leapt from atop an abandoned train platform behind one of these off-campus developments that had previously been a textile mill and ran down on foot an SUV full of frat boys who declared from an open window as they drove past, “Sherlock Holmes is a queer!” When I caught up to the SUV and pondered pulling out the driver and letting the rest of the car and its occupants go wherever the wheels took them, the vehicle stopped. No one moved. The passenger finally emerged and apologized to me profusely. Apparently, no one really wants to pick a fight with a large stranger in a trench coat who can run down a fleeing car. So, now you know.)
But, alas, the gathering of large groups of young people rarely leads to anything good. Even if those young people are bright, hard-working, eager and exceptional enough to score an internship at one of the most famous employers in the world: Google.
This year, Google is subsidizing the cost of housing for some of its interns, providing residences at the Silicon Valley apartment development of Crescent Village. Along with a $6,000 a month stipend, free meals, laundry services, gym and fitness classes and a shuttle to and from the apartment complex and Google’s campus, the interns – which may number as many as 400 – also enjoy living it up at Crescent Village, much to the dismay of other non-Googler residents.
Loud parties, late nights and all sorts of unspeakable shenanigans have become a common occurrence at Crescent Village, such that residents have now taken to Yelp to air their grievances.
Security seems incapable of reining in the interns, according to Yelp reviewer and presumed Crescent Village resident Osborne R.: “Unfortunately, i cannot recommend crescent village.currently, the situation is pretty bad. There are a lot of parties even in the middle of the week and security is unable to do anything. One of the lease agents told me that they even called the police but they weren’t able to do anything because the residents wouldn’t open the door. The lease agent also told me that the vp of irvine homes (the owner company) is going to address the problem with google . I would also say this is not a family friendly place because of the loud noises. Also, my neighbor posted a one star review but it looks like it was removed. Please do not remove this one. Its the truth.”
Marcel I. adds: “On the flip-side, I’m not sure it was a great decision to bring in the interns in a rush to fill these new apartments. They are loud and have been taking up the pool area including the 15-person limit on the jacuzzi. Very strange move by the Irvine company who generally has a good reputation. I was ok with the 2 months I had to wait to open the pool, but adding this to the mix is very unsettling.”
Seriously, though — are we sure this isn’t just a promo scheme for that awful new Vince Vaughn-Owen Wilson movie?
Now, when I did finally move out on my own (at the ripe old age of 23), I moved into a “luxury apartment” with my girlfriend (now wife) that had two bedrooms, one bath, plenty of space and awful neighbors. The guy across the corridor from us had inflatable furniture and a wall that glowed from all the neon beer signs adorning the walls. Evidently, he was an electrician, and used the railing outside our apartment to tie off cable that he would strip with a knife to sell for scrap. He liked loud music and had frequent guests on his patio that made occupying my own an unpleasant affair.
The people in the apartment next to him were even worse. Lots of police activity.
One morning, just a few weeks after buying our first new car, we came out and found it slathered in spaghetti. Why?
At the time, I was trying to be an adult. It was my first time out on my own, I had a woman in my life, and I had to walk a fine line. I didn’t want to blow this.
In retrospect, though, I see that I blew my chance. This apartment complex was everyone else’s dorm. Just because I had a full-time job didn’t mean I couldn’t sit out on the steps most of the night, drinking beer and cracking jokes. I missed out!
So, Googlers of Crescent Village (and I know you’ll see this – you work for Google): live it up! Make the most of this! Hang out, have fun, have high-minded thoughts, highbrow conversation and high antics. Enjoy it!
But, please, don’t be a dick about it like the guy across the hall of me.