Wednesday. 10.19.11 6:00 pm
Monday. 10.10.11 12:12 pm
It's Monday and I have a test every single day this week.
My roommate is struggling with the fact that she isn't making friends, down here.
I know the feeling. Not from this semester, but from the first college I attended (and then left in October).
It's really rough. Like...it's quite definitely from a lack of trying, if one is "unable" to make friends at college. Especially here. There are so many different types of people, and a lot of them are really great, well-educated students with whom I really do like to go out to eat, talk, et cetera!
High school messes it all up; students come into college unable to remember the last time they had to make friends, much less HOW they made those friends. So it's easy to forget that high school was heavy on group work and there was more time to talk--whereas, with college, you go in a classroom, usually, and you take notes for an hour.
So how do people make friends? Sports. Clubs. You don't go milling about in the cafeteria, you don't hope someone instantly likes you by the way you lift weights at the gym. You go places where people have to collaborate, just like you did in high school.
Only, in high school, it was called class.
So I guess my point, in all this, is that I know I didn't try hard enough at my first college. I know I was bad at making friends, and I know I ran away way too soon.
--But, to my defense, it was never where I wanted to be. Someone whose opinion I very much respected told me, the summer before freshman year, to chase it if I wanted to transfer to my current school (he was also there, and he knew it was a really fun place to get a degree).
That was literally all I needed--one person to say, Hey, go for it.
It was the one checkered flag among all the stop signs. He would hate to know that what he said was so important. And, to that credit, I would assume that I would have chosen my path, anyway, just at a different pace.
I hope my roommate finds her place in college life. Everyone needs that.
Monday. 9.26.11 9:00 pm
The officer lets us out of his car, hands me the form, and speeds out of the parking lot to his next duty. It's five-thirty on Sunday morning, and I am wrapped in a fleece blanket with three tigers printed on it, to keep me somewhat warm. We--inhuman, her roommate, and I--shuffle into the Waffle House and sit down. My eyes beg the waitress to welcome us in, despite the fact that we don't have money to buy any food, and that we just climbed out of the back of a cop car.
At noon on Friday, I texted Lee and told him it turned out I wasn't leaving at two, after all, but rather four. He asked if I wanted to get lunch, then, even though he'd already eaten, and I asked if we could instead hit the beach. You guys don't know about Lee--hell, I don't know that I know about him, yet, really. And yet here we were, around three in the afternoon, strolling along the beach like it was any other Friday afternoon. I think we're casually dating, which is something I do well. So far it's good.
I dropped him off and headed to inhuman's dorm, just after it started to rain at the beach.
Flash two hours ahead: I'm headed to dinner with inhuman and people I barely know. I'm happy to be there, too; it's been a good day, despite the fact that I don't have money to spend (and yet keep spending it). We take several hours, just walking around town in a group of people that I, for the most part, very much like. I occasionally wish I lived there--that making friends was so easy in my dorm back home. It seems effortless, with them. We're in the hall, even hours after that, talking to more people. I like all of them immediately.
The next morning, the three of us take showers and get to my car later than scheduled. We get gas, we drive, we eat at CiCi's and then head to park for the concert. Half an hour later, we're listening to The Postelles. Two hours later, inhuman and I are on a Ferris wheel with new t-shirts from the merch table. And then I'm screaming as Dan and Pat walk on stage and throw down. And then I'm sitting on tree roots with my newly reacquired backpack, after feeling especially sick and leaving my place in the crowd of hundreds. It was then that I met someone I can only refer to as Drunk Kevin from Chattanooga.
"Text me. No, I can't hear you, TEXT ME. TEXT. ME. TEXT ME."
He hung up, then looked up at me and smiled charmingly. "Sorry about that," he said. I laughed and told him it was okay, and he took that as a welcoming gesture and set his bag down beside me.
"Is this okay?"
"Yeah--sure." I didn't care. He, on unsure footing, held his beer so it wouldn't spill on me and took a seat next to me. The light hit his face and I realized that he was pretty attractive.
He asked some pretty basic and obvious questions--if I was here alone (no), where my friends were (watching the concert), why I wasn't watching the concert (I felt sick), and which bands I liked.
We got to talking about The Black Keys, because he was also there for them specifically. "I loooved the fact that they opened with Thickfreakness," I told him with every ounce of seriousness and adoration for the band.
"...Who are you?" he asked. "I've never met a girl who knows the songs by name, before."
I told him, "I'm just a girl sitting on a tree."
An hour later, we're shout-singing along to Viva La Vida and he's putting his neon halo on my head, carefully pushing my bangs to the side. In his complete drunkenness, he says, "You're so...cool."
I laugh and tell him he's funny, "...but you have a really nice smile." He puts his jacket on me, and I leave a note in his backpack letting him know who has it, in case he forgets to take it back and doesn't remember what he did when he wakes up.
I usually like drunk people, as long as I don't have to deal with them in their drunken states more than once in a while (it gets old quickly). I don't know what it is. Maybe it's the fact that adults are so hardened and trained against being...sweet and unusual. And then they get drinks in them and they're back to a childlike lack of inhibition. I instructed him to turn around, threw the note in his backpack, and secured everything again. I could have stolen his wallet and he would have been none the wiser.
Drunk Kevin is 23 years old. He asks what's in my Dasani bottle, and I tell him it's water. He gives me his best grin and says, "Water. What is it really, though."
After a few minutes of back and forth, I unscrew the cap and hold it to his nose.
"...So it is."
And then somehow he's helping me into his jacket, and I'm staring stupidly as he brings the back of my hand up to his lips.
What do you even do, under those circumstances?
I chose to yank him back to my side and tell him to behave. He laughed and stayed put for a while, which is when I checked my phone. inhuman had texted twice, by then, so I cussed and looked at him, wild-eyed. "I have to go," I said. "We have to go. Come with me. Come on, come, let's go, now."
I grab his hand (which was far warmer than mine), and lead him through the crowd to the tree I was sitting under, forty minutes prior. After some short introductions ("inhuman, this is my new friend Kevin. Kevin, this is inhuman. Kevin has drunken amnesia. Which reminds me. What's my name?"), inhuman, her roommate, and I part with the darling Drunk Kevin from Chattanooga, walk back to the car and drive to Denny's for a late-night meal.
Half an hour later, my eyes are crossing from fatigue and I sip at the coffee the manager at Denny's gave me for free with some measure of desperation. inhuman wakes up and offers to drive for a while so I can sleep.
An hour later, she's waking me up (I'm only half-asleep, drifting in and out of that weird state we don't recognize, once we're fully awake) and the windshield is covered with fog. I calmly switch on the windshield defroster, set it on high, and tell her how to use the wipers. Once the glass is clear, again, I turned and tried to get some real sleep.
My body resigns to the fatigue.
Two thuds and I don't wake up, but definitely notice the feeling that the car has taken on a big pothole.
inhuman has her panic voice on, which is the only reason I wake up again. "We hit a deer," she says.
I tell her to slow down, pull over, put her flashers on, put the car in park, and turn it off. After inspecting the side of the car (brutally damaged), I pop back in and tell her to take my seat, that I'm going to get us further off the road. Driving my car is painful--my car seems to react like I would to rolling over nails. I get us over a little and tell her that I was driving--I hit the deer. She helps me get in touch with the authorities and we somehow get the car onto a tow truck.
We'd called a few friends looking for a ride, and my very good friend agreed to. We had some success before we thought to call him (we weren't thinking well at all, honestly), in the form of my ex-boyfriend. We have some weird history, but he seemed honestly concerned about us. (I still care about him, too. It's been a long time, now, since we were together. Everything kind of faded, and now I'm fond of him in the way you're fond of someone with whom you really shared your affections.) He was unsure about his car, though, so we told him it was okay, that we could get someone else.
I thought to grab everything and get it together before the truck pulled up, so we shuffle into the police car together and he takes us to Waffle House. We're all too tired and too shocked to talk.
After half an hour inside the Waffle House, my friend pulls up. "Are you okay?" he asks me. I don't even recognize the question, it feels so foreign and unusual. Am I? I don't consider my answer and say, "Yeah, just tired. Let's go."
We go. He drives us home, and bed welcomes us with open arms.
Wednesday. 9.21.11 6:43 pm
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