September 15, 2023 | FEATURES | By Anya Jones
Mathias Hall. Rooms facing Uintah St. 8:00 p.m. The sun has almost completely set. Lights are starting to come on.
The first thing you will be struck by are the amount of girl rooms. Soft, ambient lights lining the walls and medium-sized lamps sitting on windowsills. Even from the street you can see the Pinterest-inspired wall decor that is the hallmark of trying to forget you have cinder block walls. The boy rooms are dark, saved by the strip of bright green light-emitting diode lights along the edge where the walls meet the ceiling. To the passive eye, it’s quite unappealing. LED lights are like a fun toy because they come with a remote that has buttons of different colors on it. Use that remote.
Some of the girl rooms have newly formed groups of first years piled on one bed, ostensibly debriefing their weekend, or discussing the most recent classroom contribution from the resident devil’s advocate, or playing “would you rather” but only with questions pertaining to foot stuff. In some rooms, two roommates move in effortless silence, creating an intricate pattern of bypass without ever touching each other. In a green LED-lit room, a boy opens his computer screen to an episode of The Office. Maybe he loves telling people that’s his sense of humor.
On Uintah St., the humming sounds of nearly-dead cars and showy motorcyclists make it impossible to hear your TikTok “For You” page, even with headphones in. Here, the busy lives of commuters and avid runners are on full display. You can catch the age, emotional state, and – on the occasion – the marital status of the drivers of the cars in a brief flash as they cruise down the two-lane road.
You will see a mother taking her kids home from baseball practice. It’s likely her turn with the carpool rotation. You can tell because there are three kids in the backseat, all the same age, jostling around in too-tight seatbelts, yelling nonsense about how Euriah’s (a real name because they just met someone with it) mom lets him eat Lucky Charms after dinner and, “my mom says that’s crazy.”
You will see a middle-aged man who should shave the remaining hair from his head if he is that genetically unblessed with male pattern baldness. He is holding his phone up to his mouth and has a hand married to the top of the steering wheel. He is driving a mom car – blue Honda CR-V. He looks tired and ready to go home to the possibility of leftover pasta he will reheat. He’s on the phone with his spouse. You can tell by how relaxed he is, the weight of work left behind for the day.
Behind him, in a white Honda Civic, is a woman who almost looks too young to still be in The Springs. She is in too good of a spirit to be going home after a day of work. She’s going to meet people somewhere. A dinner she’s been looking forward to. A dinner with the small group of sanity she has found in a deeply insane city.
The runners. So many people run on Uintah St. It begs the question, “why?” The pleasant neighborhood that you stumbled upon that one time you went on a mental health walk just north of campus is a fantastic place to run. It is quiet, tree-covered, and there are a million dogs to say “hi” to as you breeze by.
The Tiger Trail, for instance, stretches for miles along Monument Creek and reaches some surprisingly pristine edges of the city. It even has the benefit of dirt-like gravel as opposed to the uneven and breaking concrete. Uintah St. plays host to every character cast in The Springs. You will hear every type of engine made and modified, and you will see that group of Duck Dynasty motorcyclists. It’s like an airport landing strip. And it’s not like you are just passing by on Uintah St. No, you can be seen multiple times running up and down this stretch of chaotic road. It is baffling.
A United Postal Service delivery man with stringy, gray hair just above the shoulders drops off a package and solutes no one. The soccer first-years go the long way home just to walk through the back doors of Mathias. Three lime scooters whiz by, ringing their bells despite the fact they are alone on the sidewalk. Another Honda. The left-turn lane on Nevada Ave. is stalled because the left-turners think there isn’t enough space for both left turn lanes to turn. You are not going to hit each other. A DoorDasher delivering pizza to Mathias is seen waiting outside for one minute, getting in his car, and promptly driving away with the pizza. No student was seen attempting to retrieve pizza. A regular night.