I know that you are anxiously awaiting the details of my ITB renovation plan. I want to first discuss the background of why and how this plan came to be. It’s been a long process, driven by my hatred for gel-heads and anything OTB. It all started 20 some odd years ago…
I was 5 years old when I first saw the massive stretch of black and broken asphalt that is Western Blvd. At the time, I thought the asphalt represented the cracked and broken dreams of the residents who lived in that area. I didn’t know what poverty was, why would I? Yet, I knew something was wrong with this area. As we drove by rows of dilapidated fast food “restaurants”, gas stations, and a Jiffy Lube, I thought we had ended up in Fayetteville, although I’d never actually been there. As I read the signs, yes I could read at age 5, on each side of the road I realized that I was still in Raleigh. “Go Pack! Eat here!”, “Hamburgers 99 cents for NCSU students”, “Malt liquor!”, “Get your oil changed in 30 minutes! Go Pack!”, were just a few of the advertisements I saw. Whatever this place was, it was miserable. At such a young age, I had no concept of where the beltline began and ended, I just knew that I was taught to dislike everything outside of it. It wasn’t until later in life that I found out from my friend Forrest that Western Blvd is in fact ITB. I seem to remember it went something like this.
Forrest: “Hey William did you hear the Bojangles’ on Western Blvd. burned down?”
Me: “Haha awesome, now the dorm rats (I’ll explain later) from State won’t be able to eat there 4 times a day. I’m sure they’ll start to infest some other shit hole OTB joint that doesn’t actually have menus or tablecloths.”
Forrest: “Umm, Western Blvd is ITB, the entire road is basically ITB. Have you ever gone further than Hillsborough St.?”
It was then that I realized I hadn’t. Why would I ever need to cross over to the other side of Hillsborough St.?
Forest reminded me: “Well William, there are a lot of drug dealers over there.”
Me: “Are you retarded? I get my drugs delivered to my door by that sketchy guy who works at Sadlack’s. I’d never actually go get them myself.”
There’s no way Forrest was thinking clearly, after all we had both just spent the last 4 hours playing Halo to nurse our hangovers away. I had to find out for myself. I immediately got in my SUV and drove to Hillsborough St. so I could check my in-dash GPS to see where the beltline ended. Forrest was right. I had heard of Trailwood, Avent Ferry Rd., and Gorman St., before, but I had never actually been there. To me it was just the area full of poorly constructed apartment complexes where dorm rats (I’m about to explain) were forced to live after their freshman year at State. It’s the only area close to campus that offers affordable rent at $325 a month with free cable. (Note: It’s not real cable, it’s that standard $45 package that people with non-HD TVs get. These kids can’t afford my $257.98 a month digital cable package that includes every channel ever made, all the HD channels, and high-speed internet.) For those of you who don’t know, a dorm rat is sort of a pre-gel head or a gel head in its infancy. They didn’t live in University Towers, they wear NC State paraphernalia everywhere, and they actually sit in the student section at athletic events (after having to wait in line for tickets). They go everywhere in packs (to save gas), all sporting backwards NC State hats. Their diet consists of Ramen noodles, Mountain Dew, and free pizza from any event held on campus that will give it to them. A dorm rat will gladly sign his life away for a credit card if it comes with a piece of pizza and a free t-shirt. Dorm rats attend Sammy’s Bar and Grill and Jax Sports Bar religiously and have memorized all of the wing specials and student discount nights at each of these “bars”. They lack personal hygiene, never showering on consecutive days, and change their sheets once a year, resulting in them having to sleep on a Shroud of Turin type rag by the end of spring semester.
Dorm rats are non-existent in University Towers because it’s not a dorm. It’s technically not part of the University, it’s appropriately priced at approximately $8,000 per year, and has a private parking deck, making it impossible for dorm rats to reside there. Obviously, University Towers students move on to the correct side of Hillsborough St. into a nice house off of Wade Ave. or Dixie Trail where they continue to live an exclusive ITB lifestyle due to their close proximity to Nelson’s (RIP)/Foster’s and Broughton.
Until that conversation with Forrest, I had no idea that these dorm rat commoners could rightfully say they were ITB. I had spent all my time worrying about north Raleigh OTB intruders that I didn’t even realize there were problems so close to home. You might think, “Well, since Western Blvd is ITB shouldn’t you embrace these people as equals?” To that I say, “Have you actually seen what exists beyond Hillsborough St.?” I decided to survey the area, and it wasn’t pretty.