Alright, friends. It’s time to get real. I’ve been living in the city of lost hippies and burnouts for 11 years now, and I gotta say, Norman isn’t too bad. Sure, there’s a point where Classen intersects with Classen, but for the most part, everything in my sleepy college town in a-okay.
But, as grumpy randos with anonymous accounts on Twitter have pointed out, all I do on The Lost Ogle is complain. So I’m coming at you today with some Norman complaints. Sure, I could list the best things about Norman, but honestly, I don’t want to entice any more people to come here. It’s the third largest city in the state, and well, as you’ll see from my list, the city is STRUGGLING to keep up.
(And for those of you who have forgotten, take a moment to refresh your memory about my feelings regarding Edmond.)
Without further ado, here’s the 5 worst things about Norman.
1. You can’t get anywhere in the city in under 45 minutes.
If you’re grabbing a lunch buffet at the Mazzio’s at 12th and Alameda with your girl gang when y’all decide to hit up Target, just know that you’re lunch date is officially a 3-hour ordeal. Sure, you could take 12th to Robinson, and then Robinson to 24th, but you know that Robinson is also a black hole. People drive down that street and they never come back. Even though they built a railroad overpass to allow car traffic to keep flowing down Robinson, the section of Robinson from Porter to NW 24th doesn’t make logical sense, and you can’t traverse it in less than 20 minutes.
You’re only safe bet in Norman is to stick to the outskirts and never take a street on the inside of the city unless you have to. I recommend sticking to Highway 9 and Franklin Road for your east-west traversing, and SE/NE 24th and SW/NW 36th for your north-south. But be warned. If you need to get somewhere on the west side of the highway, you need to take some PTO at work to make that happen. You’re basically on vacation with how long that will take.
2. There’s only sketchy dilapidated houses or high-end student apartments to rent.
There used to be a time when college students just rented apartments with the regular joes. Then the helicopter parents found out about it, and a whole industry of overpriced off-campus apartments that function just like dorms popped up. Seriously. If you want to spend around $1500 a month on rent to share an apartment suite with 3 other people, I can point you to several complexes. But it’s totally worth that price tag, because not only do they offer a computer lab with printers near the apartment pool, you also get a cool t-shirt that explains which overpriced apartment you live in.
But if you’re not a student, then you’re probably out of luck, honestly. There are some pretty decent apartment complexes around, but they tend to fill up fast, especially since there’s not a whole lot of affordable places to rent anymore. You can always try your hand with renting a house somewhere in the Old Silk Stocking district or the original townsite, but that’s really close to the city detox center, and when they let folks out at 6 AM, be prepared for drunk folks to pass out in your yard.
3. The Circle K in front of Norman High is like running the youth gauntlet.
Look. I’m a crabby old lady now. I wear cardigans and drink hot tea in the afternoons and I mutter about the kids these days. But I don’t think I’m alone in my fear of buying a 32-ounce soda and bag of chips at the Circle K across from Norman High during the school year. Norman has an open campus policy for lunch, which means that teeming hordes of youths cross the street and fill up every restaurant and gas station as far as the eye can see. In fact, the Circle K has an extra employee at that time to deal with the kids, and to remind them to drop their backpacks outside since youths cannot be trusted.
And you may say, “Hey, Marisa. Why don’t you just avoid that Circle K during lunch time?” And yeah. That’s a good idea. But seriously. There is not a Normanite amongst us who hasn’t stopped there in a moment of need only to realize that they were about to be sacrificed like the adults who accidentally wandered into the city in Children of the Corn.
4. Barry Switzer is always around, and people treat him like he’s going to coach a game this Saturday.
Okay. I like football. Not necessarily in the “I know what’s going on” sort of way, but more in the “I like buffalo wings and cheap beer and cheering for a common thing” way. So, I can fit in with most Normanites. But what I don’t like about going to OU games is that there’s always a red-faced fan who has had a little too much to drink, and he’s hollering at the players like his three years of little league-coaching experience is somehow relevant. So, imagine this dude in the off-season when he spots Barry Switzer at Midway Deli or O’Connell’s. It’s like Christmas. This dude will always go up to Switzer and say, “How we gonna do on Saturday, coach?” And Barry will smile.
Maybe this is a thing I don’t get, because again, I’m just here for the wings and beer. But I know for a fact that Barry will not be coaching any Saturday. And it’s even weirder when he’s asked this in the off-season. Admittedly, this isn’t that big of a deal, but it’s weird and I don’t like how confused it makes me feel.
5. The water is disgusting.
Apparently Norman water tastes terrible. Or so I’ve been told. Honestly, I’ve been drinking it for so long that I try not to think about the trace amounts of arsenic or hexavalent chromium that have built up in my system. Sure, it’s not good for me, but if a cannibal ever tries to consume my flesh, he too, will ingest these things and surely be worse off for it.
To be real, I only notice the flavor of Norman water when Lake Thunderbird turns. Then, you basically can’t consume any beverage that uses water. No coffee, no iced tea, no 7-Eleven icy drinks. Everything is disgusting, and takes like the rust and grime coming off the bodies of all the old cars that sunk to their watery grave long ago.
Marisa has way more complaints about The Bubble area of OKC, but it’s mostly unintelligible grunts punctuated with “WHY WOULD ANYONE LIVE HERE?!” Follow her on Twitter.