Hollywood puts forth an image of California that seems to be all sunshine, beaches, and surfing. In reality, however, spring in Berkeley generally tends to be cold and wet, and this night was no exception. One Saturday night, during the spring semester of my sophomore year, the rain had sequestered my friends and neighbors to our residence hall with little to do but bitch and moan about the weather. While the sixth floor of Spens-Black was rarely quiet or boring, this Saturday had left us with no plans or ideas as to how the night would be spent. It was too early to study for finals, and all of our midterms had already passed.
We sat out in the hall, sprawled over the floor and talking about nothing, sharing a pizza between us. The din of the rain splattering against the windows of our rooms kept a constant reminder of the weather; like a drummer that refused to stop, the rain pounded its way to acknowledgement. "This sucks," someone mumbled under his breath.
The sharp ring of a telephone disrupted the drummer, and was greeted by the sharply raised heads of the denizens of the hall floor. "It's mine," Sam said, as he disappeared into his room to answer the phone. The rest of us went back to our resting positions, staring at the floor or the ceiling and making brief comments to stem the wall of noise echoing out of rooms. Sam appeared soon after, a smile decorating his spectacled face. "That was Steve. We've got something to do."
There was a remarkably sudden change of attitude that filled the floor at the prospect of actually doing something. Steve had informed us that at midnight, at the UC Theater down on University Avenue, there would be showing of porn... in 3D! Porn was good enough, but in 3D? There was no second thought it what we had to do. Steve would be bringing his station wagon down to pick us up.
As if suddenly a professor had come up to the floor and assigned a pop quiz, the women said they had homework to do and pages to read. It would be a guy's night out, something we hadn't done in a while. All the better. When asked for a real reason, the women would say that they were afraid they would be the only ones there. Fair enough, I figured, as we crowded into the elevator and went downstairs.
Crowding into Steve's car was somewhat reminiscent of clowns at a circus: there were nine of us total, fitting into five seats. Going downhill was no problem; Steve wondered aloud if they car would be able to make it back afterward. Thus, nine testosterone filed college freshmen and sophomores made their way down Bancroft to Shattuck in a 70s station wagon on their way to watch 3D porn.
If you've ever been to Berkeley, you would know that parking is a bitch. Rather than finding the closest parking spot you can, you'd generally just park in the first spot that's remotely near the vicinity that you want to go to. Thus, we found a spot, in the rain, 4 city blocks from the theater. The rain hadn't let up all night, and there was little chance there was going to be any change now. As we walked out of the lot and onto Shattuck, it was decided: we had to run. We had to run to 3D porn. Similar to the comedy of a bunch of clowns driving down Bancroft in a beat-up station wagon, the image of a bunch of kids running, looking almost as if racing, through downtown Berkeley in the rain drew the stares of onlookers. Yet we relished it - the wetness, the speed, the somewhat frightened looks on the faces of the elderly. Running to 3D porn.
The movie itself was one of those 70s pornos with John Holmes, with an audience made up of both men and women in equal proportion. Rather than being a sleezy dive, the atmosphere was more that of an adult comedy - complete with an self-righteous evangelist coming into the theater halfway through to remind us that we're going to hell.
I still have the 3D glasses I got that night.. the red and blue ones, adorning my wall, a reminder of that night, and running to 3D porn.