Students should take some time to explore

Tax forms are due, Chicago may soon be able to boast an underwater city and tuition hikes are becoming a reality. With all the bad news around, it’s hard to believe there is still good in the world.

As I’ve said before, a lot of things in this area scare me. The giant Shamen statue that looks to me like a man with maracas wearing a deer head on Somonauk Road in Sycamore, the fact that the nearest mall is about 40 minutes away, the lack of a Dunkin‘ Donuts anywhere in town and most recently the strange Easter phenomenon of people hanging those plastic Easter eggs on strings from trees. Point being?

However, there are still potentially humbling experiences out there. While trying to find the UPS place in East Bumble, DeKalb, my friends and I got mysteriously lost. And here I was thinking that as long as you kept taking right turns anywhere in DeKalb, you’d eventually end up on a numbered street and could deduce a way to return safely back to campus.

Amongst the outer limits, we had only the sweet smell of corn field fertilizers in the spring to guide us back. Eventually, we spotted a man pulling out of some sort of side road tractor trailer machinery place, in (big surprise part) a pickup truck.

After asking the old man for directions, he answered with a big smile and a “It’s the second left. Follow me, I’m going that way!”

Not only did he wait until traffic had cleared enough for us to both get out, but he went a step further.

Eventually there was a car between us, and though it wasn’t difficult to tell where we needed to turn, he actually pulled over and heartily pointed to where we were suppose to go.

After countless times of being given the wrong directions in big cities, this seemed unreal. We laughed out of shock at how stereotyped this was, like next thing you know he’d go home and sit in a rocker on his front porch while they installed a Veryfine juice machine across the street at the town’s one gas station that doubles as the country store.

In times when driving to downtown Chicago has become a challenge more than just a routine and I’m happy if the same car doesn’t cut me off more than once, it’s strange to encounter people that don’t mind taking the time to help out.

Yes, I am obviously a suburbanite not used to the country life, and I realize not everyone in small cities is a country bumpkin. It’s sad, really. I admit I didn’t even know what or where the Quad Cities were until meeting my little marketing buddy Babette. As much as I rip on DeKalb, though not retracting anything previously said, the old man made me realize living here can have a good effect.

There’s a discovery factor here. In DeKalb you can see things like signs for night crawlers, flying corn cobs as far as the eye can see and movie theaters that have prices under the new and improved $7.00 charge we have at home.

After talking about this to a few people, it was scary. Most of the people I talked to never ventured out around town. They only knew how to get from campus to Interstate 88 and to the bars of downtown DeKalb. The point is, it’s like the old saying about taking time out to stop and smell the roses. It’s worth it to get out and take it all in, even if roses aren’t exactly what you smell.