In Shynes Mind

Penn State – A day in the life

Time: Nineteen hundred and nine aught

Place: Happy Valley, Pennsylvania

Overview: Remarkably intelligent sixteen year-old attends the main campus of PSU completely unequipped with the tools needed to succeed.  So many things of interest happened during this period, but today, let's focus on the reason that I can't stand even the smell of Southern Comfort to this day.

In case you don't know, or haven't been, the campus at Penn State is freaking huge!  At the time, I was living in Pennypacker Hall. (E8)  Generally, when you go to Penn State, if you haven't specified who you want to room with, they will just pick someone for you, but not someone that you know, in order to give you the opportunity to meet new folks.  Somehow, this is not what happened with me.  I ended up rooming with a girl that I went to high school with.  Suffice it to say that we weren't exactly friends.

Making new friends has never been my forte.  Fortunately for me, my roommate and I were not the only ones from our high school attending PSU that fall.  By my count, there had to be at least ten people from our graduating class of a whopping 200 kids.  10/200=5%  Yay math!  You'd think that 5% of a graduating class going to the same college (with many more going to branch campuses) is a pretty big number, but whatever.

Back to the task at hand.  One evening, a girl I went to high school with, along with her roommate and I decided that we were going to have a little party.  Freshman college parties don't consist of much as freshman college wallets don't consist of much either.  Between the three of us, we managed to scrape up enough money to buy a bottle.  Southern Comfort.  My now worst enemy.  Seeing as how we had no extra money, we ended up in their room, doing shots of SoCo and chasing it with Gatorade.  Yes, it's just as disgusting as it sounds.

Now, high school friend (HSF), knew way more people than I did and somehow got us invited to a party at a fraternity house.  So, in our mostly drunken state, we headed downtown.  On our way to the house, we stopped at the 'everything store'.  With the little money I had left, I bought a KitKat as I don't think I had eaten much that day.  After out pit stop, we continued on to the house.  I had never been to this house, so I was pretty much completely lost but I figured as long as I used the buddy system, I'd be okay.

Upon our arrival, we met up with some boys that HSF knew.  We proceeded to go to their room to hang out.  I'd guess we had been there for a half hour at most before someone broke out the weed.  Knowing what I know now, at the state of mind and drunkeness I was in, I never would have let that joint touch my mouth.  But I was young and naive and wanted to be a part of the group.  Peer pressure at its finest.  I proceed to puff puff pass.  Trust me, it wasn't long before I realized the errors of my ways.

Not feeling well, I made my way to the restroom where I lost my KitKat along with anything else that may have been in my poor belly.  Drunk and stoned out of my skull, all I wanted was to go to bed and so off I went.  Forgetting the buddy system.  Forgetting that I didn't know where I was.  All I knew was where I lived and that I wanted more than anything to be there NOW.

Without saying goodbye, I found my way to the door and let myself out.  Three seconds out the door and I realized that I had no clue where I was.  I wandered aimlessly for a while, trying to avoid the police.  Eventually, I came upon an apartment building.  I decided that I'd ask someone there for directions.  In my state of mind, I figured that I could look at the names on the mailboxes to figure out which door would have girls behind it that would be nice and give me directions.  I finally settled on one. 

Imagine opening your door, fairly late, and seeing a very drunk, very stoned, very young black girl standing there.  I'm sure they were shocked.  I saw it in their faces.  The apartment actually did hold girls who were very nice to me and gave me directions.  Unfortunately, I forgot them about two seconds after I turned away from their door.

Sidebar: I came to find out the next day that in that very same building where I asked for directions, lived more people that I had gone to high school with and knew.  They were a year ahead of me, but we knew each other nonetheless.

Attempting to follow their directions, I wandered around some more.  Once more completely lost, I ended up knocking on another door.  This time a single girl answered the door.  I asked her how to get home.  She told me to come in.  I explained that I needed to get back to my dorm.  She seemed a little surprised that I actually attended college here.  I was surprised that I had stumbled onto a runaway shelter.  She plopped me down in a chair and called a taxi for me.  I think she may have been laughing at me, but I was too out of it to notice or care.

When the taxi arrived, I started digging around in my pockets and found two straggler dollars.  I said to the poor taxi driver, "Please take me as close to Pennypacker Hall as 2 dollars will get me."  Now, either this guy had crazy compassion for the drunk girl or the girl at the shelter gave him money because he dropped me off right in front of my building.  I couldn't have been happier.  I fell up the stairs and into bed, losing consciousness until the next day.

Early on said next day, HSF rang my phone, worried out of her mind.  She said that they looked for me for half the night (although they never called my room).  I told her I was okay, relayed some of the story and had a good laugh.  And now, for the kicker.  I felt so bad that I had come in drunk and I'm sure I was loud.  When my roommate came back, I apologized for being so loud and for possibly waking her up.  She looked at me kinda funny and said, "Uh, I was awake and sitting at my desk when you came in."

DAMN YOU SOUTHERN COMFORT!!!

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