By: Callen Inman
NORTHFIELD, MN – Other people hear the subtle thuds of squirrels fornicating on the roof, but I hear the wet squelch of vomit splattering on the sidewalk, the most wonderful little gifts that countless Carls have released onto my property. Then the students all stumble back home, speaking through the microphone of drunkenness, in off-tones and poorly formed sentences, washing away their top 10 Liberal Arts College Grad School-Bound masks and becoming rubbery sacks of fluid flushing out toxic words. Like moths attracted to an enticing flame baited with every imaginable momentary delight, they are transfixed by Porch, coming all the way from Goodhue, all convening on one house in a lazy, Midwestern neighborhood once a week to scrub away the horrors of academic drudgery.
I sit near the window of my office, every Friday evening, awaiting the gradual creep of the parade. It was a simple, uneventful spectacle, to see the lawns and the trees all change shape and color as the evening progressed. Families sit down for dinner and birds retreat to their nocturnal roosts and after it, I felt as though I had awoken from a long winter’s nap. But then — the deep purple-red of the sky as the sun descended behind St Olaf, and so it ended, and I remembered what I was dreading. The voices. The voices. Not the same distorted and weirdly echoing voices post factum, rather the anticipatory voices, a softness, a rhythm, an interaction between each voice and another one, melding together in the stew of normal conversation.
Then the voices increase in frequency, the rhythms of conversation become an indiscernible hum, until their destination starts to take on a life of its own. The lights come on in Porch, the decibel level skyrockets, and the once stable — maybe slightly awkward — bodies gradually become loose and wild. It is an unraveling of everything inside at once into an amoebic physical and mental form.
Soon this released tension begins to take over the entire building, until the source of the music and the noise and the laughter is no longer the students, but Porch itself.
Porch is “lit”. The kids are “turnt.” And I don’t know what happened to my neighborhood. I don’t know why there is this magical orb of a nightclub in the serene setting of a Northfield neighborhood. This phenomenon is a complete mystery to me, and now that I’ve shared what I’ve been experiencing, I feel great. I feel released, and I almost feel like joining them, to see what the throbbing mass is like, to be “lit” and for everything that matters to be out of sight and out of mind so that the only thing that matters is a particular Victorian house in a small town neighborhood.☐