One of the first things I was told once I moved into the 21st Street Co-Op was “This place will eat you alive and you’re going to love it.”
But let’s take a step back. How did I end up here in the first place? While always adventurous, my housing experience had always been pretty traditional. I’d spent most of my first 18 years living at home and then proceeded to live in a dorm my freshman year. After landing an internship in Austin over the summer, I needed to find a place to stay until I moved into my apartment in the fall. And that’s the start of how I ended up in the belly of the dragon.
For those of you do not know about the 21st Street Co-Op, it is the first structure built to be used as a cooperative living space, which is about as accurate a description as saying Brittney Spears is a wholesome (side note: is Brittney Spears still culturally relevant, because she’s still the only music I listen to)
In reality the co-op is cesspool of filth, drugs, and alcohol who use the ideals of communal living as a means of discovering and expressing themselves.
It really is a place where you get to see the best and worst of human nature. At the co-op, you see the power of democracy when structures are built in a day and you see the pitfalls of democracy when something as simple as purchasing a first-aid kit takes hours of debate and weeks to implement. Every day, the structure of the co-op is pushed to it’s limits and miraculously it manages to get by every time.
So to answer why I am at the the 21st Co-Op, the answer is simple. I don’t know when the next chance I’ll have to meet strangers and experience the human condition in their raw state (both figuratively and literally). Now that I’m here, I’m sure I’ll be a 21st MF for life.