Monday, October 8, 2012

those old familiar places

I made it, guys. I successfully mingled with the college-folk this weekend, and I lived to tell the tale. After a fun week in West Palm Beach for work (more updates on that this week hopefully), I rode up to Gainesville with my friend Margaret for a weekend of football, friends and familiar places.

Margaret and I kicked off the weekend with a SOLID four-hour stretch of the Boyz II Men Pandora station. If there are any fellow children of the 90's out there, I urge you to give it a go. It is just chock full of ballady, melodious gems. (I know what you're thinking, I should totally be a music columnist of some sort. "Chock full of ballady, melodious gems" is just begging to be pasted on the back of a CD booklet. Side note: Do they still make CD booklets? Side sidenote: Do they still make CDs?)

The game this weekend is actually the first time I've been back to Gainesville since I graduated almost 2  1/2 years ago. I kept meaning to come back, and even made plans for a game or two, but it always fell through. To be honest, I think a part of me had a kind of mental barrier from going back. For one, my endurance level for marathon partying, loud music, and the logistics required for coordinating the social priorities of a large group of girls has certainly decreased over time. I think every time I thought about traveling to a game, even though I knew there would be fun had and memories made, I also knew there would likely be the subsequent Sunday hangover, scratchy voice and possibly even some sort of broken or lost property. And maybe that would have been the case if I had made the trip before now. But luckily, at 24 years old, hangovers have transformed from a sort of uncomfortable, unfortunate side effect of partying into a full-fledged, avoid-at-all-cost death sentence. You get a hangover nowadays and your body won't forgive you FOR DAYS. I drink more than two glasses of wine now and still wake up the next morning with a headache. (Body, why do you betray me so! All I want is to enjoy an adult beverage without the fear of bodily pain.) So, given that nice little change in physical tolerance, I've now mastered the art of turning down shots. Did you know you can actually politely decline an offer of free alcohol? It's quite possible, in fact. Amazing, I know! If only I had known back when I was in college!

This weekend though, I managed to get over the whole "I'm too old and grouchy to party with the young kids" mindset and sucked it up because just about everyone I knew in college was heading to Gainesville. And even this old bird wanted to spend time with old friends. Not to mention it was my good friend Brooke's birthday on Saturday and she feels like she's a world away now that she lives in Washington D.C. , so I couldn't pass up an opportunity to celebrate with her.

It was such a crazy feeling pulling into Gainesville. So many things looked different, but it all felt the same. Growing up is such a funny thing, isn't it? I remember when I was younger and 24 sounded so old. SO mature. I bet 24-year-olds have it all figured out, I thought. And then you get there - to 24 - and you realize, I don't feel any older than I was in college. Not really. I mean, yes, things have changed a bit. I have to vacuum now which kind of sucks. I pay bills, I cook meals, I play house. But inside I still sometimes feel like no time has passed at all and I shouldn't be allowed to just be out here navigating the world and making big decisions. Is it just me?

Anyway, I won't give you all the details of the weekend because there are too many to count. Here are a few shots I managed to get with my iPhone. (Otherwise I refused to take any photos because I was afraid of breaking or losing my new iPhone 5. Or more accurately I'm just really bad at taking photos.)

Those were the tame and normal shots, but I have to mention that Gainesville during a big gameday weekend is kind of like an alternate universe mixed with a circus. You see things you can't even believe and people sometimes behave like the scary alternate versions of themselves. Rather than give you the whole run-down of the weekend's events, I thought I'd just give you a little round-up of some of the more memorable moments. Get ready for...

5 Thing I Did Not Expect From My LSU Gameday Weekend 

1. To bring home a win. Holy moly, you guys, we won! I hate to say it, but I don't think I'm alone when I admit I had my doubts going in to that game. We've had some slow starts this season for sure, but the boys pulled it out and now here we are, celebrating a 5-0 season thus far. I don't want to jump to conclusions here, but since this was my first game back as an alum, I'm pretty much taking full credit for the win.

2. To witness tiny little girls looking like they stepped out of a Rihanna music video. Okay, okay, I myself may have shown a little bit more skin in college than the t-shirts and jeans I rock most days now, but WHOA. Since when is it totally acceptable to where bras (BRAS!) and high waisted jean shorts that cover your belly button but fail to cover your butt cheeks (if you're gonna ration your denim material, one of those is more important to keep out of sight than the other). Now I feel like I fully understand the cliche parental mandate "you are NOT leaving this house looking like that." I'm terrified to think what the fashion might be if I have a college-aged girl running around one day. I honest to goodness wish I would've snapped some pictures simply because it was such a spectacle, but out of respect for those little hussies' parents, I refrained. Let's just say way too many outfits resembled this look:

Photo from Getty Images via HuffPo (caution: the original image is not censored) // modesty filter courtesy of the CCH logo :) 
3. To see a guy flip over a second-story balcony... and live to tell about it. This is probably as close as I have ever come to witnessing a truly horrific event. When time ran out on the game clock, the entire Swamp Restaurant - where we were watching the game - erupted in excitement. Unfortunately, we were on the second floor balcony at the time, and one overly enthused (read: incredibly drunk) fan was so excited by the win that he went running toward the balcony, possibly to do some sort of cheer to the crowd below. However, the second his two hands hit the banister, the momentum was such that it sent the top half of his body flying over the edge and he did a complete 360 flip in the air. There I stood, about five feet away, resting up against the banister catty corner to him, watching the whole thing in complete horror. I thought I was literally going to see someone break their neck before my very eyes. Just as I saw him flip, I shut my eyes as tightly as I could and prayed that when I opened them he'd be okay. By some miracle, there had been an edge of the building below that was right below him where he landed flat on his back, rather than tumbling all the way to the ground. Still one of the most terrifying, time-standing-still moments I've ever witnessed, and hopefully a lesson to someone out there to pay heed to his limits.

4. To be scared by a grown man's Superman underwear. If the guy flipping was the most terrifying thing I saw all weekend, this was a CLOSE second. During the first half of the game, my friend Britt and I were charged with hunting down a table for all of our friends to be able to sit and watch the game. Real estate is very hard to come by on gameday, but we somehow managed to find two small high-tops in a restaurant called 420 Munchies (yes, very classy establishment, I know). We scalped just enough bar stools to seat all our friends that were on the way, but we could see the eyeballs of every person in the place glued to our empty barstools. We had to fight people off left and right, including one (surprise, surprise) intoxicated gentleman with a rolling amplifier and microphone. He entered the restaurant heckling people with his portable mic unit, and quickly spotted Britt and I with our seemingly open seats. After proceeding to dig himself into a verbal hole with what I think were supposed to be his best "lines" but were in fact a mish-mash of inadvertently insulting mumbles, he said the following words that would live in infamy for the rest of the weekend (slash the rest of my life), "Wanna see my Superman undies?" Then, before we knew it, he did not just pull his underwear wasteband out of his shorts (which would have still been weird, but less offensive than what ensued); he instead pulled down his shorts, flashing Britt and me the entirety of his underwear. That's right, WILDLY inappropriate, and I'm pretty sure punishable by law. I don't think either of our faces have ever expressed more disgust, and he was promptly and aggressively told to leave our sights immediately and not to come back. (He and his amplifier were later thrown out of the restaurant for being fools.) Like I said, a circus.

5. To be completely and totally flattered by the kind comments of the crew of blog lurkers out there. Last, but certainly not least, probably the most unexpected thing I encountered all weekend was the handfull of completely heart-warming compliments about this blog. I would run into an old friend in the bathroom of a crowded bar, or even out on a dance floor, and they would tell me how much they enjoyed reading my writing - only the single most wonderful thing I could ever hear from my peers. Some of them I haven't even seen in years! I was completely taken by surprise, but it's moments like that which remind me to keep writing, and especially writing by my own rules. I know my posts are super long, and I don't always make sense, but thanks for continuing to encourage me. It brings me a lot of joy. And I mean that to ALL of you out there reading - even you lurkers! I love you guys too, but just so you know... if you want to maybe comment sometime so I know you're still out there, feel free to do so. I'd love to chat with you and thank you for reading!

Overall the weekend was the most fun I've had with my friends in a really long time (Superman incident aside). I've come to the conclusion that getting back in touch with your youth (whether it's just a few years removed or decades removed) is good for the soul. The memories just sort of envelop you like a warm, weathered blanket and bring you back to that familiar comfort of those carefree days. Granted, the endurance level necessary for a weekend like this one was exactly what I expected, but I think reliving that time in my life just for a little while (in a restrained and well-paced manner, of course) was just what I needed. Go Gators!


  1. Love this post :) Wish I could've seen you more that weekend!

  2. Thanks, Sash - I know, I can't believe I didn't run into you more! So glad I got to see you in WPB!