When I think about California, I think about Bacon and Eggs.
No, not the breakfast food.
Bacon and Eggs is a statue on the main quad of my undergraduate campus. During my time there, it was very close to being some kind of social center. It is between the library and three academic buildings, and around it are flowers, a lawn and a tiny shack where you could grab a quick coffee or bagel. The food place was called Toast.
The summer before I went to college, I sat on the lawn by bacon after three on-campus job interviews and read a book to kill time before going to a bus-stop.
The third week of my freshman year, my friend told me about the dangers of walking barefoot around campus in a successful effort to dissuade me from doing so.
Second semester of my freshman year, I went on an almost nightly walk to chat with one friend or another, we often ended up near Bacon and Eggs.
During summer orientations, I showed incoming freshmen our famous Bacon and Eggs, and as a sophomore I consoled friends who struggled with breakups and fights with friends.
As a junior, I crossed campus every couple nights as I walked back from my then-girlfriends residential hall room to my own room. Some nights I looked at Bacon and Eggs with optimism and hope, some nights I could not lift my head.
Students in one of the upper-level art classes at my undergrad will display a project somewhere on-campus for a week or so just before finals. These have been fun, boring, controversial and forgettable. The story is, as I heard it, Bacon and Eggs was set up as one such art project just after the campus was founded and, well, no one ever wanted to take it down.
My senior year, weeks before graduation, there was a graduation fair hosted by the alumni association. It was on the lawn under bacon. I took a picture with my friends, just near Bacon and Eggs. A few days earlier a friend and I walked around campus to relive our freshman year. We sat down at a wooden table and I felt so peaceful, but so scared.
“How did we get this far?”
“Day by day.”