College town

It’s strange being in someone else’s college town. You get all the facets of college life—cheap, unhealthy food; cheaper beer; the unhurried pace of college life. We checked into our hotel in a local college town today and asked about food. The clerk behind the desk said, “If you just want a quick bite, the place across the street has a gyro special today—gyro, fries, and large drink for $3.99.”

As my colleague said later, “He was definitely a college student. Now that I’m out of college—I’m on an expense account—I don’t care so much about cheap any more. I’m more interested in good.”

Touché. Still, there’s something to be said for the bargain, the “cheap and good” option. That’s where I always felt college students were really good at establishing a market.

Unfortunately, in places like Charlottesville, the positive effects of the students are counterbalanced by parents and alums, who inexplicably kept places like The Virginian alive long past its freshness date. I should note I haven’t eaten there since 1995 or so, but then it felt like it should not have existed because no students were ever there and the food wasn’t really good enough to draw the townie crowd.