My Saturday Night:
9:30 PM: I am at a party thrown by 21 year olds. The party is at a farm in the middle of nowhere. I stand outside with Amy and her cousins. There are bats. Amy shrieks when they swoop low. For as long as I have known her, Amy has had an unreasonable fear that a bat is going to get caught in her hair and we will have to attack her with a broom to get it out.
I am drinking Coors Light.
11:00 PM: We leave the party in a caravan. The cousin's follow Amy's lead. She leans into the windshield to see. Since her rear-ending a bus incident her headlights have slanted down and don't shine anywhere they need to, which is everywhere when you're in the inky darkness of the middle of nowhere.
"Watch for deer," she tells me.
"There aren't any street lights," she tells me.
There aren't any anythings. There are just fields and corn and trees. And bats.
11:10 PM: We pull off the side of the road. We are in front of Josh's house. He's having a going-away party. His family is out back throwing horseshoes. He sees me walking up and he comes at me. He has a Busch Light in his hand. "For you," he says.
His gay cop aunt sees me and knocks my shoulder in greeting. "Hey, you," she says.
I finally meet the girl who will probably become his girlfriend. She is wearing cute glasses and her hair is in a long braid tossed over her shoulder. She speaks with an accent. She looks like a very naughty foreign librarian. Who can compete with a very naughty foreign librarian-type?
Josh tells me he wants me to drink the entire Busch Light while he walks me back out to the car, where Amy and her cousins are waiting. We have an agenda. We have a destination. I open the back of my throat and manage to drink most the beer. I say goodbye to Josh. I wish him well in Canada. I tell him to learn some good French so he can come back and impress me with it. I make him hug me no less than eight times.
12:00 AM: We are at my ex-place of employment. It has been transformed into it's nasty Saturday night creepiness. It's Club Hearth. The crowd this night seems a little less skeevy than the last time I was there, but that could also be because I can't see all that well.
I hug up on everyone I know. I lean across the bar and ask for a vodka. A guy comes up from behind. "Hi," he says as he slides in next to me.
"Hi," I say back.
"I think you were just about to buy me a drink," he says.
"Nope," I reply, "I definitely wasn't."
In the time it takes me to order my drink and then get it, the cousins and Amy decide that, dear God, they've had enough, it's too scary, it's too redneck, it's too creepy, and that they've got to get out of there.
I say okay. I drink up my vodka and leave without paying for it.
On the way home I am in Brenda's car. "This is weird," she says. "But it's not weird at all. I feel like no time has passed. I feel like we're back at college."
And I try to reflect on that. I'm back. And she's right--sometimes it doesn't feel like I ever left, and that can be scary. It's almost like the last three years didn't count for anything. But that feeling doesn't last for long and I snap back into it, remembering where I came from, remembering what I've done. And last night everything was good and okay and so very western New Yorky.
Finally I nod. I say yes, it's good, it feels just like college. Then I say I should've gone into the cooler and gotten us some cheese for the road.