Writing

My First College Overnight

  • October 16, 1998

Everyone was lined up in front of the Student Union.  We were planning out how we could take everyone out to the cabin where we would be spending the night with the limited number of cars.  I threw my stuff into a van with our food and other supplies.   I then proceeded to jump into a car with my good friend, Gerry.  We took off out of the parking lot, just at this time did we realize that first of all, we had no map, no directions, and nobody had any idea how to get there.  It reminded me of my legendary Camp Chateaugay, “Day Off #5”.   Along the way, the group caravan got lost quite a few times.  Not knowing where we were, or how to get to where we wanted to go, we made several stops to ask for directions.

The first stop was a motel; well, it looked like a motel, so that’s what we considered it must be.  One of my friends put her car in park, and walked up to a door to the building.  There were three doors, all painted brown and the building was a contrasting white.  It reminded me mostly of a deserted ghost town inn crossed with a boring game show, “Let’s see what’s behind door #2…!”.  She knocked on the middle door.  There was no answer; what a surprise.  Next came the last door.  Again, no answer, but this one was unlocked.  She entered, and from there on, is beyond me.

Again, we were driving along the road looking for the cabin where we hoped to be spending the night.  We traveled about half a mile when we again got lost in the middle of nowhere.  A young teenager crossed the road on his ATV (all-terrain vehicle).  We called out, “Hey boy!”.  He stopped, turned around, and came toward my friends car.  She leaned over to talk with the boy who was on the passenger side of her car.  I watched from behind her in another car. It was like a road block when we saw a truck slow down to turn.  The boy instantly began to panic.  His only response was to, “hit the gas” on his ATV.  What he didn’t know was that his ATV was still in the reverse gear.   He sped backwards pretty fast, slamming the back of his bike into the car door.   Everyone screamed out, “HEY!”.  He again hit the gas, sped off, and was never seen again.

The ATV Boy’s directions must have been good, because we went right to the cabin.  When I took a look at the cabin, I was shocked.   Not only was it a cabin, but it had a huge track of land surrounding it, a few chimneys, a huge porch, and best of all, a swing in the front yard.  I was real excited, and could barely stand to be in the back seat of the car any longer.  I instantly jumped out and started running towards the doorstep.  Next thing I know, I’m stopped dead in my tracks.  A gate prevented anyone from driving onto the premises.  Furthermore, anyone who wanted to enter would have to step over the bar.   The large lock on it reminded me of a James Bond movie.  It was a big disappointment that we would have to carry our stuff all the way across the lawn but I was so excited, I kept towards the cabin.  Suddenly it dawned on me that if the owners had taken so much effort to block the driveway, they probably had taken even more effort on the front door.  I decided to stick with my friends around the cars to see what the plan was.

We waited for the others.  And waited.  And waited some more.  They never came.  It became dark rather quickly.  So, we wrote a very upbeat, and cheerful note on a sheet of paper, and stuck it to the gate with some bubble gum someone was finished with.  Broken hearted, we piled back into our cars, and headed towards someone’s apartment.  It belonged to one of the girls in our group whose name will be left out to protect her innocence.  It was dark as night when we got to her place.  Everyone was hungry so we decided it might be a good time to start making dinner.

Nobody had ever used a charcoal grill before.  I was wearing my “Stamford Fire Dept.” hat, so everyone instantly assumed that I had lit enough BBQ’s with other firefighters, which to everyone’s surprise, I had not.   So, I was given the job of not only starting the grill, but also cooking some hotdogs.  My friend Gerry suggested that I throw the entire bag on, that way we would be able to use the bag to start the coals on fire.  It sounded like a really good idea for some reason, so that’s what I did.  Using my pocket knife, I cut the bag open, and emptied the contents into the grill.  With Gerry’s lighter, we lit the bag on fire, and tossed it on too.  The coals lit instantly, creating a huge fire.   The flames were several feet high; high enough that the neighbors opened their door and asked where the owner of the apartment had gone.  She was upstairs in her place, so I went and, “snagged” her.

I put a bunch of hotdogs on the grill, and gave my friend, Gerry very specific instructions… Wait here, when the hotdogs are done, come get one of us.  I went up stairs.  Much to my surprise, I saw Gerry there too.   We lost track of time just talking with everyone.  Then it dawned on me… are the hotdogs done yet?  I’m hungry.  We went back downstairs only to find that they had been cooking for about 20 minutes now.  On one side, they were fine, but on the bottom, they were completely burnt through.  A few of them were completely engulfed in flames, so we picked out the ones which survived and left the others alone; they had enough problems.  I felt like such an idiot, but it was funny still, so I laughed my head off in the back yard while Gerry took the hotdogs up to the apartment.   Lucky for me, everyone liked slightly burnt food.  So, we scraped off most of the charred surface, and served them.

After dinner, we all sat around in the living room talking.  There was a young lady sitting next to me on my left who was bored silly.   The other one, on my right was actively conversing with someone else, so I talked to the one on my left.  She was from New Jersey; finally, someone from up close to where I live!  Her Geography wasn’t too hot, and she didn’t quite know where I lived; she kinda knew where Albany was, but definitely not Stamford.

Everyone was obviously bored.  I sat there and looked around.  The place was freakishly clean.  Everything was placed, and cleaned perfectly.  I was freaked out thinking what would happen if she came back to her apartment, and it looked like my room.  My room isn’t clean, but it isn’t messy; it’s a happy medium for me that’s right in between.  Anyhow, everyone decided it best to head back to campus.  I ran outside, and hopped into the car.  An idiot liar sat ahead of me in the front passenger seat.  He told us stories about how he was getting married to his girlfriend, and how he had a kid with her and other related things.   I thought to myself… here’s a guy who could easily make it big on daytime television talk shows.  If these things he was telling us were indeed true, he’s the prime candidate for trash TV.  And as I stepped out of the car in the parking lot beside my dormitory late that night, I thought to myself, what a messed up day; just another story I can tell.

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