This past summer, I stayed in Berkeley and made the commute via the bart system to San Francisco to work. My only other experience with a college-town was in West Lafayette and Berkeley, I assumed, would have more to offer (radio, culture, UCB's nobel laureates list etc). So, I was really excited to stay there and place didn't disappoint. Berkeley was full of life and I am guessing many events are particularly restricted to that area (the Hare Krishna troupe's performances in the neighborhood come to mind; also people who jogged and flapped their wings like they were angels and told everyone that this had therapeutic benefits and so on).   Now, I really enjoyed my first two weeks in Berkeley and then I got robbed.

So, it turns out that my window could be pried open easily and I had left a laptop, a zune, my xbox games and a bag in the living room. The robber helped himself to all of these while I was sleeping and left. I woke up and called the police, fully aware that any search of this type was futile because we were looking for a laptop in the valley.

Now, I have managed to bring out the worst behavior in college-town inhabitants with amazing ease. In West Lafayette, I got beat up on a sidewalk when I was carrying luggage from a return trip to home, after which my assailants asked me for money (this display of genius, when your victim is out-cold and incapable of resisting and is carrying considerable luggage and you proceed by asking for money, left the police department of West Lafayette quite confused). In Berkeley I have managed to accomplish something similar (different in that I didn't get punched in the face).

I am still not sure how to respond to such events. Forgiving such lousy behavior is out of the question. Somebody who I care about (parents, me etc) worked hard to provide those goods and unintentional transfer of ownership totally renders that effort null. I also can't understand why college towns (ones that are producing superstars in science, tech, literature, math and so on) are producing such a crowd.

Let us hope Pittsburgh is better.

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