When Michigan State University starts classes each fall, over 45,000 people move into an area roughly fifteen miles square. On Homecoming weekend, another twenty to thirty thousand descend into the same area like ants on a picnic. Mayhem doesn’t adequately describe weekend. The police do an excellent job keeping peace, and managing traffic flows into and out of the campus epicenter. Spartan Stadium by itself holds 75,000 thousand people. When coolers, kegs and countertops in local pubs start pouring the alcohol, Chaos joins his cousin Mayhem on the streets around town. An MSU home football game, and Homecoming Weekend, is an Uber driver’s dream.
I picked up Maddy and her three friends from a Frat party that started hours before the game. Dressed in green and white like most students clogging the Spartan, Stoddard and Gunson streets’ neighborhood, their school spirit was amplified by the alcohol.
Maddy rolled down the window.
“Go Green!” her sweet voice was as gentile as a pterodactyl swooping on its prey.
“Go White” echoed back somewhere out of the crowd.
“Go white,” echoed from the sidewalk.
She turned to me, and smiled at the green and white shirt I bought for the day. “Hey you’re a Spartan. Did you go to school here?”
As I started to answer, the pterodactyl screeched again.
“What did you say?” She’s looking at me again.
“No, I didn’t go to school here. I lived in Lansing for twenty some years while I raised my kids.”
“Oh, that’s cool. Do you mind if I yell out the window? Homecoming weekend is awesome.” She turned. “ Go Green!”
“Go Blue.” MSU was playing U of M that weekend, and the other university from Michigan wears blue and gold.
“F!*? you!” Screeched the pterodactyl. She’s looking at me again.”Some people are so rude! Don’t you think it’s rude to shout Go Blue in East Lansing?”
“Hey Maddy, the streets are really crowded with people, and I’m trying to concentrate on the road. I would appreciate it if you stopped yelling.” Crowds of inebriated kids wandered into the streets at every corner, and out into my path from between the cars. I could imagine some drunk student staggering into my grill as Maddy looked for affirmation from the next porch party.
“Oh, OK.” Her ears heard me, but between her ears and short term memory were 95-proof brain cells.
“Go White,” came the distant echo.
Thankfully, Maddy and her friends only wanted a half ride. I stopped at another party. The three co-eds from the back seat and their pterodactyl mascot opened the doors and spilled out onto the sidewalk. I think I made seventeen dollars for those few minutes. Homecoming is an Uber drivers dream.