By the number of imposing shiny new SUVs that have invaded my city you would think that Roman Grant of HBO's hit polygamy drama "Big Love" had staged some kind of takeover.
But the reality is far worse than takeover by a cultish polygamy compound.
That's right. Undergrads. They're back.
And since most of them are still going to class (for now), you take your life into your own hands every time you leave your driveway. The little ones are tasting independence for the first time and as a result they callously disregard many accepted physical laws. Like how it's impossible to compose an email about how trashed you got last night at the Kappa Bappa Flappa party on your iPhone while navigating your three-thousand pound missle of death through our streets. And how you can't turn right from the left-hand lane. And how there is a limit of taste and good sense regarding blond hair dye and tanning that, once exceeded, will result in no one, least of all your professors, taking you seriously.
Ryan's fifteen minute commute took nearly thirty minutes yesterday. We live less than five miles from school, but when he got out of the car he looked as though he had spent all day patrolling the streets of Kandahar.
Behind me in line at the coffee shop the other day was a Nicole Richie wannabe with "Juicy" spelled out on her carefully sculpted butt in rinestones (how do you sit down in those pants by the way?). Her pronounced sighs and eyerolling betrayed her distaste for my athletic shorts, unshaven legs, and loose-fitting tshirt featuring hurricane warning flags and a handy guide to the Saffir-Simpson Scale for hurricane intensity on the back (I know I shouldn't leave the house like that, Mom, but it was a caffeine emergency). I met her scornful gaze and smiled warmly. She just stared at me from behind her giant sunglasses.
That would have intimidated me nine years ago when I arrived in MyTown ready for my freshman year. But now I know better. In another five years we will all be sitting together in the audience, indistinguishable, $30 lipsticks replaced by drugstore lipgloss in our sherpa-sized purses, while we watch our kids enthusiastically belt out "This Little Light of Mine" at our church's Christmas Show.