Diary of two Octoberfest door monitors

Peter Gillette

(Elissa Harbert)

Last Saturday, we volunteered to be door monitors, guarding the conservatory doors from 3 until 6 p.m. We could not have foreseen, however, the gripping drama that was to unfold. Set to the music of local legends Vic Ferrari, our post at the six-doored entrance to the Con allowed us to follow the story of a man named Matt Crowe, who initiatiated a conversation about life at Lawrence that ended up costing him $100.

At the risk of being banned from ever door-monitoring again, this is our story.

2:59 p.m.: Jonathon arrives and begins listening to music on his Discman.

3:10 p.m.: Peter arrives, and then asks a friend to buy him fries and a coke.

3:25 p.m.: Fries and coke arrive, and cost seven dollars. The door monitors highly suspect the “Pepsi” to be RC Cola.

3:34-4:14 p.m.: Jonathon and Peter avoid giving eye contact to townspeople who walk near the doors. Several people try to open doors, but never try the unlocked one, thankfully. Several Lawrentians enter with eye rolls and exaggerated sighs of relief to finally be back inside.

4:30 p.m. (circa): A few men waltz into the building past Stansbury Theater, smirking in victory. We discover that the WLFM doors were open for a short period of time. The security leak is fixed.

4:40 p.m.: Jonathon’s stomach acid and new resident funnel cake get into a brief squabble.

4:55 p.m.: A radio deejay asks the crowd, “How many of you are in love?” Few respond. His follow-up questions, “How many of you women have been in jail?” and “How many of you are drunk?” receive progressively warmer receptions.

5:03 p.m.: The band invites a few little girls to the stage to sing backup vocals on Abba’s “Dancing Queen.”

5:10 p.m.: While rocking out to “Sweet Home Alabama,” several young people stand in the window ledges of the chapel, in front of the stained glass, to survey the crowd. Danger.

5:30 p.m.: We meet Matt Crowe and our mettle as door monitors and ambassadors of Lawrence University is immediately tested.

Crowe is visibly intoxicated, but he sits down on the steps, saying that he just wants to use the restrooms. We tell him that even if he got past us, all the bathrooms are locked. That’s not true, but we said it.

He asks us if we like Lawrence. “I live three miles away and I have no idea what goes on here. I mean, I’ve been to college,” he says. Oh really, we ask?

“Yeah, I was kicked out of three colleges…Oshkosh, Eau Claire, and Eau Claire.” Our hands are poised on our invincible LU whistles of self-defense. Matt again asks to use the restroom, and we again remind him of the port-a-potties, even adding that if he hadn’t talked to us, he would have been in and out already.

Matt trails off. Then he sees our yellow legal pads and asks us if we are journalism students. We say that we write for the newspaper and he asks us to interview him, and use his quotes. Matt, your wish is granted:

–“I think [Vic Ferrari] really nailed the Skynrd. And I really liked it when they brought those girls up on stage during ‘Dancing Queen.’ It really showed a sensitive side of the band.”

–“The best thing about Oktoberfest is that they offer a free bus service, and you can quote me on that.”

–“How much have I spent on refreshments? Today? Oh, about $60.”

Matt Crowe, ladies and gentlemen.

5:45 p.m.: The climactic event of the afternoon is upon us. Matt finally decides that the chat was nice, and he has a better sense of how parties and academics work at Lawrence. Off he goes to the port-a-potty. On his way, he accidentally kicks Jonathon’s cup of water onto Jonathon’s Discman. Immediately, Matt asks if the player works.

The player does not work. Matt apologizes profusely and hands Jonathon five $20 bills. He shakes our hands, and says it was cool to talk, and he hopes the newspaper goes well.

6:05 p.m.: Outside the funnel cake stand, we run into Matt one more time. In passing, he mentions to Peter that Lawrence seems like a pretty cool place. Just damned expensive.

Matt Crowe, we hope, took the bus home Saturday. But the band rocked, the atmosphere was carefree, and the dramatis personae were captivating. Jonathon’s player later began to work, and he plans to return the money to Crowe.

In their wake, the Erics and Matts left more than a bit of trash, and Oktoberfest was rather loud, but very rarely do people have that much fun while it’s still light out.