Saturday, August 12, 2006

Between a toilet and a hard place

There are a few eventualities that occur when you enter college: you will drink a lot of booze, you will find out how to once again do as little work as possible for the maximum results, you will get sick from all of the booze you drink, and you will get caught for drinking on campus. It is a common occurrence. Of course, my brush with the student-run "law" (read: RAs) is not so ordinary. God that's the hackiest set up I have ever used....

It started out like any other night freshman year, with me either waiting for my roommate to leave or fearing his imminent arrival. What I am sure of is that the room smelled of sweat, weed, and general awfulness, none of which were of my doing. But oh how it crept over from the opposite side of the room. My friends Katie, Cindy, and Jenny--if memory serves--all told me about how their friend Colin was going to have a get together with a few people where drinking was to be had, with merriment sure to follow. I was tired, or didn't want to socialize, and made the girls drag me out to Colin's apartment.

He had a very nice place for a sophomore: a basement apartment with a kitchen, a common room, a bathroom, and two separate bedrooms. As soon as we showed up I was offered to help kill off a bottle of vodka. I got my hands on some orange juice and started off the night. A few other people showed up, no more than 10 to 15, creating a small group with a deck of cards and some gin. We were playing Kings, a card game with over a thousand rule variations, with gin and tonics. It was my first time both playing Kings and drinking gin and tonics. Neither really impressed me. Nor did Colin's choice of friends, specifically the hard-nosed Atina (who was very upset that I didn't properly say her name when I called her "Tina" because that is so far off base and I should have thought that someone would randomly tack an “a” in front of a commonly used name creating a hybrid freak name). She drank the rest of the vodka when no one else would before sort of scathing us for not “stepping up” and finishing it off ourselves. Not a big fan of the "uh."

As the night went on, I realized the different level of tolerances one would find spread out through my friends. For example, Katie is an incredible lightweight, especially after one day declaring in her Minnesota-by-way-of-upstate-New York-accent, "oh, I dunno how much I can drink, but I definitely know it's a lot." Fallacy. The more Jenny drinks, the redder her face gets, to the point where if you get her really sloshed she IS a night-light. So I don’t leave myself out from the beating. 1-4 beers have no effect, 4-6 I stop stuttering and talk completely normal, 6-8 I start to stammer, 8-10 I am unintelligible, but still have basic motor skills (I think).

The real problem came from Colin. I do not recall how much he drank, but I am sure it was a large quantity because the kid ended up damn near shit-faced. He was the one that everyone was nervous about while making large, abrupt movements (throw his arms around, try and jump, etc). The peculiar thing, which we did not realize, was that with each random song that played through his speakers on his iTunes, he'd say "I LOVE this song!" and make it a bit louder. Eventually, after twenty or so songs, the music was very, very loud. We hadn't picked up on this trend, as we were too busy trying to avoid furniture from tipping and the like.

Then came the knock at the door, followed shortly after by the word "RAs." The light switch just went on and the roaches began to scatter. The music immediately went off. Atina said, "I'm not hiding," before hiding in a small bedroom adjacent to the main room. I turn to my right, saw a door, and ran into it for safety. That door led to the bathroom. I did not feel like the smartest man in the world as I realized the only way I could escape is if I was a dead fish. The only thing I could do is listen to Colin try and sweet talk two sober RAs while he is loaded and has four empty bottles on the table. It was at this point that the night was officially christened,” a bad idea.”

I could not hear much, but here is a running commentary that went through my head. I heard Collin, “" Man, I really gotta pee. "" Well, if I pee they'll hear me and then I'm busted. "My name's" Maybe if I pull a girl and sit down and pee I'll muffle the sound! "Yes.....wait no....." Oh, oh, if I hop into the shower they won't find me! But if they do, I'm going to look so incredibly pathetic it's not worth the effort. OH! If I strip and just hop into the shower they can't get me then! ",'s just us. Yeah, four bottles, the two of us....." Wait, wait. I don't have soap, shampoo, or a towel. Shit. This was a terrible hiding place. Looking at that toilet just makes me wanna pee more. Maybe I can pee.

Then a quiet fell throughout the land. Anxiously I opened the door, expecting the situation to be resolved. I met eyes with Colin who flashed me the "FUCKING DON'T DO THAT!" look and even gave me the hand shoo before focusing his eyes again and answering a question. I closed the door silently (or what I thought at the time was silently). One of the RAs then raised their voice and, speaking like they're playing hide-and-seek with a child, asked, "Is there anyone in the bathroom?"

Before Colin could fabricate another "no" answer, I popped out, making a grand entrance. "Yes," I said, "I was in the bathroom the whole time," as if the magician was just told how his trick was done. She asked if I attended Boston University. I could have said, "no, I go to Boston College/Northeastern/UMass Boston/Emerson/Berklee/Simmons,” anywhere but BU. Naturally, I said, "yes, I go to BU." She asked if I had my ID on me. Of course, the answer should be "no" so there is no record of this. But, I said "oh yes, yes I do!" and pulled it out immediately. She asked where I lived and I obediently said "Claflin." Then to clarify in case she didn't know, "west campus." Folks, if you haven't realized yet that I'm an ass, here is all the evidence you need to confidently make that positive decision.

The RAs soon left while Colin, Atina and I were all pretty quiet, left to go over our own problems. Colin was lamenting the fact that it would be his second such offense in a calendar year. Atina was saying that she never drank anything. I was just confused as to where everyone went. My question was answered as everyone piled back in from the backdoor that no one informed me of. I get dragged out to a party, and when they all bail out of the escape hatch, no one bothers informing me of such an exit existing. Upset, I finally took the piss I was holding off for a while before leaving with my dependable friends.

The protocol for getting "written up" goes as follows: you talk to the resident hall director for your on-campus residence, they all confer amongst themselves to sure up the story of what happened (or an approximation), and you get fined by the school as blackmail for not telling the cops while BU rakes in more cash than Libya. So it goes.

The three of us who were caught all collaborated on a story. Weak-willed Colin was going with what Atina told her, a tale in which she didn't drink and was just hanging out. I refused to let her put up a stand and then turn-tail and run. The story I agreed upon with Colin was that the three of us polished off a bottle of gin, and the other three bottles, if asked about, were placed there by jealous ninjas in a nefarious plot to blackmail us. Our story wasn't very good.

I made my appointment with the notorious hall director. This is the same large-breasted, large-boned, black, female, empowered hall director who blamed all of the guys on my floor for human fecal matter being present in a shower stall, never thinking it was perpetrated by another floor (it was, and two more attacks followed). Needless to say, she was an arrogant woman who had arranged 11 floors of nit-picking RAs to roam our building (except for our floor, the worst by far, which had a lax, attractive girl). We all hated her, sometimes without a good reason. On that day, I got mine.

I sit down on her couch, sweating, but in a very nice shirt that I got on a shopping trip with my friend Ben. She asked me what happened, and I told her in every detail (save for the ninjas) before finishing my monologue with a resigned “it’ll never happen again” look on my face. At that point, I thought the process was over. But oh no, she had to make me feel guilty. She asked me why I drank, a point blank question that froze me. Quickly, I put together a sentence that found the cause in feeling pressure with finals approaching. I needed a release. From her high chair, she cast down, "there are many legal, safe releases that you can find on campus if you talk to your RA."

With the ball firmly in her court, she asks for more reasons. I respond with, "well, it's college." She reacted as if I said, "well, it's because of colored folk." Almost jumping out of her chair she firmly stated, "that is a lie. That is a lie that is propagated by the media and movies. I would wager that almost no one on this campus drinks." I was just told that, in so many words, I was the only person drinking in college. Not just on that particular night, mind you, but overall. That includes 16,000+ undergrads. Never before I have felt so small and bitter. I begrudgingly paid my $100 fine, pissed off at the whole process. I did receive some comfort when Colin told me that Atina had to pay as much as I did. Sometimes defeat tastes just as sweet as victory.


Anonymous said...

don't lie: you drown your burning racism in a bottle of vodka as much as the next undergrad.

Pam said...

Ha, I was apparently blessed with a fair hall director...

Him: "Why did you drink?"
Me: "Well... it's college. There's peer pressure, it's the social thing to do, I guess."
Him: "I know. It's hard."


Cindy said...

Mike! Is it sad that I was really excited to read my name in your post? Oh, and Katie wasn't there that night.