Hey, kids, welcome to Chicoland
This being our college-oriented back-to-school issue and all, Culture Vulture thought it would be appropriate to blather on a bit about the wonders, glories and entrapments of our genuinely lovely little (but some would say too-rapidly-growing) city.
First of all, this is a great bicycle town. If you live within a couple of miles of the campus, and many of you probably live quite a bit closer than that, you’ll be able to park your car for days on end without having to burn a precious ounce of over-priced gasoline. My advice is to get a rain suit—the kind that can be rolled up into a small bundle—that you can use for the commute. It’s amazing how invigorating a ride through the rain can be if you’re properly attired. Also, get a good bike light for night riding, and a good lock for parking. Way too many bikes get stolen here, but the thieves grab the ones they have easiest access too, so use your lock every time you park.
No doubt you’ve already heard plenty about the party/drinking scene in Chico. There are tons of bars catering to the 21-and-over crowd and lots of house parties where IDs don’t get checked. If you want to get drunk here you will undoubtedly find someone willing help you achieve that goal. If you’re an inexperienced drinker just remember that the slang term “fucked up” exists for a reason.
Also keep in mind that our local police, though very helpful and compassionate in the administration of many of their duties, have absolutely no qualms about throwing your ass in the slammer, giving you a criminal record, draining your—or more likely your parents'—finances, taking away your driver’s license, and generally making you feel like a miserable dipshit for three years of probation. The trouble caused by getting busted for an alcohol-related incident is really not worth it. So if you’re going to get drunk do it in a safe, contained environment. Learn that the taxi cab is one of the greatest friends you’ve got. If your friends are getting a lot more wasted than you, watch out for them.
One thing you’ll notice about Chico’s social scene if you’re over 18 and under 21 is that there are far too few venues and events catering to your age group. You are at the most exciting and liberating time of your life thus far—the dawning of adulthood—and you scare the crap out of adult society, probably because they, too, endured and survived late adolescence with very little cultural direction and encouragement, and simply don’t know what to do with, or for, you. So they do nothing. Except tell you what not to do.
The best response to neglect is to do things yourself. Become an activist for any cause you feel drawn to. Start a group that lobbies the city to bring live events back to the amphitheater. Join the Chico Peace and Justice Center. Start a poetry appreciation group. Instigate a gun-lovers-for-Jesus discussion group.
It’s an open playing field. Make the most of it.