This was how I began that spring semester: mass consumption, the recitation of poetry, and a mooning…
It was my first semester legally living on campus.
Midway through the fall, my best friend’s roommate dropped out and I began essentially squatting in his dorm room. No more waiting to sober up before driving home at three in the morning only to have to drive back by eleven the next day. No more girls’ roommates getting in the way.
And no more nights spent home by six watching television and eating Oreos by myself. I had a place to crash now.
I liked it so much I spent the winter convincing my mother to pony up for me to move on to campus. She obliged and got me towels and soap for Christmas to complement the rest of the motherly-love-filled hygiene kit that she sent me off to school with. I packed the car and off I went.
Arriving a little past noon, I lugged my bulging floral print suitcase into my room.
I had just finished putting the sheets on my bed when my roommate, Mike, and his folks arrived.
We politely greeted each other and I offered to help with his bags. Mike and I moved his junk in and went back for the fridge. It was a trick; it didn’t fit through the window, but the stairs to the door were, well, stairs.
We had to lug the damn thing up two flights. We got it in and unboxed the little bugger, all clean white interior, not stains from fruit punch or the smell of old milk or new cheese.
Now for that miscellaneous grocery bag of stuff from last semester: my mug, assorted office supplies, a Frisbee, and hey, what do we have here — a single beer from some Philadelphia micro-brewery.
The fridge is still warm, whatever shall I do? Eureka! The Canadian Cooler.
Mike’s father looked oddly at me and asked why I was filling a bag with snow. I exuberantly responded that I was going to chill my beer Canadian style, proud of my idea. He laughed and slapped my shoulder saying good thinking.
Thirty minutes later, all my junk was stored, clothes in drawers and hanging in the closet, shoes under the bed, and my reward was cold.
I rummaged through my assorted office supplies in search of a bottle opener.
Shoop! the seal had been lifted and that wonderful hoppy aroma filled my nose as I took the first sip of the first beer of my first semester living on campus. The night only got better from there.
Sitting in my garbage-picked wooden chair with my feet on our hard stolen coffee table, I took little sips of my beer, enjoying each one, when my friends John and Kelly knocked at my door. It was about six or so in the afternoon and we sat around and caught up on winter break bull for a while. Somehow two hours went by and we grew hungry.
“I’ve got my car here, let’s go to the diner,” Kelly said.
We ate waffles, drank coffee and milkshakes. Then we left with no particular place to go. We strolled out into the parking lot, almost to the car, but Mike had already hopped the chain-link fence between the diner and the movie theater. We walked over, but there was nothing playing at 9:45 on a Sunday night.
We meandered up the main street with no intention at first, but soon began scanning for an open liquor store.
Closed, closed, what the hell kind of college town is this, closed.
Finally, four blocks up, there it was: the soft glow of neon beer signs and light reflected from bottles in the window. The lights were on. We ducked into the alley between it and a large windowed eatery.
There was an elderly couple and their son finishing their dessert and coffee in the alley side window. We must have looked like criminals all huddled in the alley like that.
I dug in my pockets for my fake ID and went in search of cheap booze. Vodka? Whiskey? I’ve only got twenty-two bucks and change, ah, rum, barely even need a chaser, perfect. The clerk didn’t ask for my ID. I was a little disappointed, it’s a really good fake, but now I’ve got rum.
I returned to the alley to find my friends quarreling. I asked what was up and Mike told me he was willing to pay ten bucks to see someone moon the old couple. I smirked and John jumped on the bet. He was nervous, just exposed a little butt crack and thought that was worth ten bucks. I shook my head and handed off the rum.
I dropped my trousers and pressed ham to the window, knocked on the glass, gave them a wiggle and ran off down the alley as I pulled up my pants.
We laughed and laughed and Mike gave me his ten dollars as we walked back to the car. I kept asking what their faces looked like, but no one could describe what I could only imagine to be shock and disgust with an odd stroke of humor.
We finished the 32 oz. bottle within the hour and went in search of more liquor. John had a bottle of wine in his room, but no corkscrew. I had a Bowie knife, but not the fine motor skills to use it. Mike, being the sober sally of the bunch, took the knife for my own safety. We went to John’s room with empty cups in hand hoping to refill them. Along the way, we picked up some other drunkards.
We got the bottle from beneath his bed and Mike forced the cork through with the knife. A 2008 Zinfandel, we filled our glasses and…shit she’s got the knife.
“This thing isn’t sharp,” as she took it to her bare calf. Just a soft run of the blade would’ve done it, but she applied pressure. The blood ran down to her sock and she began laughing. I grabbed the blade from her and Mike took it from me.
We took the remains of the bottle for a walk.
We stumbled down the path, skulked around behind the biggest building on campus. We went up the stairs, down the hall and out the entrance to the balcony.
Once out the window, we paced around and drank our wine. We waxed intellectual about poetry and took turns reciting some of our favorites. I brought some Whitman, “O Captain! My Captain!” and “O Me! O Life!”
John told us some Billy Collins and Mike a little Emily Dickinson. Kelly and I recited Shakespeare together and I misquoted some Byron.
We parted ways for the evening leaving just an empty wine bottle on the windowsill, the only physical evidence of my first night as a resident.