When Roommate and I were in college, we had these grand adventurous schemes. Well, really, Roommate had these grand adventurous schemes for adventuring and also going on adventures and I would stand next to her, nodding along while silently thanking sweet baby Jesus that we had neither the funding nor the time to accomplish any of them. Adventurer, I am not. This is why Roommate and I are so good for each other. She pushes me to be brave and I keep her from finagling her way onto the roof of the science building and possibly getting killed or worse, expelled.
I remember once idly commenting that the fountain in the middle of the quad would be really fun to play in, since its bowl was just a sunken portion of the quad with no barriers, and that maybe someday we would sneak out of the dorms late at night and run through it (because I was pretty sure there was a rule somewhere that you were not to play in the Fountain of the Holy Spirit or at least it was REALLY frowned upon by the priests who ran our school). Roommate's eyes lit with a fanatical gleam and I instantly cringed, because I knew one way or another, I was going to end up in that fountain. And sure enough, amid the stress and worry of studying for our last set of finals of our Freshman year, Roommate suggested the perfect way to blow off a little steam.
And oh. my. god. It was SO cold. I spent much of it worrying we were breaking eight million rules and possibly angering God Almighty and also there was a random creepy dude who was definitely not a student sitting in the shadows of the quad watching us, even though it was well after midnight and no members of the public should have been anywhere near that part of campus, GOOD JOB PUBLIC SAFETY. But it was, hands-down, my favorite memory from that year. In fact, the picture of Roommate and I dripping wet and shivering afterward with my patented Uncomfortably Close and Awkward hug remains one of my favorite pictures of us in existence.
It became a tradition--on the Monday of Finals Week (which never had a final and often had your last class of the quarter, even if you were scheduled to take the final for that class the next morning and there was no way you would be learning anything new that day because sometimes my school was ridiculous), when the clock neared midnight, we would drop our books and scamper to the quad and, with muffled shrieks of glee and oh-my-God-that's-freezing-why-do-we-even-do-this-to-our-selves, we would fling ourselves in and out of the fountain, trying hard not to impale our limbs on the abstract sheet metal flame-ish things that were meant to represent the fire of the Holy Spirit (OR SOMETHING I WAS NOT AN ART MAJOR) or stub our frozen toes on the strategically placed fake boulders that were supposed to represent man's Earthbound flesh (I'm completely making crap up don't trust a word I say). And also avoid the lurking creepers who kindly offer to take photos fro you so that you don't end up with what will later be dubbed the "selfie."
Sometimes, we took friends with us. Sometimes, we went just the two of us. We NEVER went in Fall Quarter when, much to Roommate's chagrin and my everlasting gratitude, the school shut down the fountain to avoid the FROZEN LAKE METAL SPIKE DEATH TRAP that would inevitably ensue in the Pacific Northwest in December. We took pictures in the fountain in our robes on graduation day. The night before we handed over the keys to our apartment and went our separate ways, we waded through, opting not for the rambunctious shenanigans of our "younger" days, but for a more sedate and placid good-bye (OKAY I HAD A TUMMYACHE because I moronically refused to "waste" the leftover food in our fridge and spent our last days EATING IT INSTEAD WHAT AM I NEW?).
Oh my God, Elise, that wasn't even the point of the post. The point of ALL that was to say that Roommate makes me brave. She is so very good for me. But when she gets that gleam in her eye, the introverted play-it-safe line-toer inside of me just quakes. Because I know it's going to be awesome, but it's going to push me out of my microscopic comfort zone. And most of the time, it's not even anything dangerous or illegal or even scary to anyone who is not a chicken (*cough*me*cough*).
And the whole point of THAT is just to intro my ACTUAL topic for this evening, OH MY GOD STOP TYPING. So. Roommate has schemes; she makes me brave; I spend a lot of time praying her schemes never come to fruition because I am a big fat fraidy cat. Twenty-eight words. 28. Seriously, me?
Anyway, during our junior year, when we were living with Liar in our Ghetto Palace, Roommate suggested we take a road trip. And I smiled encouragingly, thinking it would be like that time we drove from [Prominent Pacific Northwest City] to [Prominent Non-United States City] for a three day weekend, except without as much Vicodin and I would remember to wear pajamas. Oh God, I want to leave that sentence as it is and just let you guys wonder, but I am terrible and being mysterious and also I'm a truth-teller (it goes hand-in-hand with being a line-toer) so I will divert this post a SECOND TIME to tell you the really lame story of our trip to the Great North (which is NOT Far North, but IS Far North Adjacent). [If you'd rather live with the mystery and just get on with this post, meet me at the next paragraph.] We had planned it for months for the first long weekend of the term. My friends wanted to go drink somewhere it was legal to do so at age 19 (as if they didn't take the copious opportunities to drink illegally right where we were, but whatev) and I wanted to see some place new. But right before we went, my friend broke her hand playing rugby and had to have surgery. But since we were using her car to get us there and we'd already paid for the hotel, she came along hopped up on painkillers. Oh, and I forgot to pack pajamas. Nothing bad actually happened to my pajamas or myself without them (except I had to sleep in my jeans or nothing at all in a shared bed in a cheap motel). That's all. You would have been better off with the mystery, huh? Sucks for you that I have Chronic Honesty And Truth Telling Effusive Reaction (or as the professionals call it: C.H.A.T.T.E.R.).
And we're back. So I'm thinking, fun day-trip! Maybe a weekend in Eastern [Name of Pacifically Northwestern-most Pacific Northwest State]. At best, something out of state, maybe to her hometown a couple days' drive south. Nooooo. That will not DO for Roommate. No, she has GRAND adventurous schemes, remember? One day, she comes home with a map of the US and a box of stick pins (you know, the kind with the colored plastic ball at the end that you see in cop shows to mark the places in the crime scene photographs where they found evidence? Those ones). So we cleared a wall of the office (Ghetto Palace, remember? We totally had an office. Or a really tiny, oddly shaped third bedroom that no one wanted so Roommate and I ended up bunking together. Literally. With bunk beds. We were sooooo cool.), put up the map, and began marking the places we wanted to see. I got the red pins. She got the yellow ones. And blue were for... God, I can't remember. Towns with funny names? Yeah, I think that was it. Towns with ridiculous names that we wanted to visit sight unseen, just based on the name alone. Maine had some really spectacular ones, if I remember correctly.
And we began to plot our course. We were going to graduate college and immediately get our dream jobs. Mine would be on the East Coast, because that's where my industry was based and all the best graduate schools were there and of course I was going to have the time, money, and drive to work full-time AND go to school. Sure! Hers was in England. So we were going to drive across the country together with all of our stuff in the back of the car, making our way through sights and tourist traps and WORLD'S LARGEST WHATEVERTHINGAMABOB and crazily named towns. Eventually, we would end up in the [Insert Major Metropolitan City and Seat of Power on the East Coast], where my dream job would be waiting for me. Like, literally, they would have been waiting two months while I drove across the country at a leisurely pace, taking breaks for adventures wherever they found us, as Corporate America is more than happy to do for inexperienced new grads with no references and bad interviewing skills. From there, Roommate would board the next available flight across the Atlantic with only the possessions she could fit in a carry-on and take off for the British Isles, where HER dream job would be waiting, but not before she stayed in a few hostels and really roughed it for a few weeks, probably meeting a punk rocker who also played professional football (or as we stupid Americans call it, SOCCER) and falling madly in love.
It was, in short, pure fantasy. And it was SO fun to dream about these things, especially for me, since I put very little stock into our ability to accomplish any of it. I could dream and put pins in our wall with abandon, knowing they didn't constitute anything more than a flight of fancy. A few months later, we moved out of the Ghetto Palace (partly due to the financial tomfoolery of Liar and partly due to the encroachment of the ghetto into our palace and the gunfire that became a common feature of our evenings).
We carefully took the pins out of the map and unsuccessfully tried to refold the map into its original impossible 9"X4" rectangle (DAMN YOU RAND MCNALLY). We had grand plans of putting it up in the new place, but we never got around to it. As graduation loomed ever nearer, we realized there would be no "perfect jobs" and actually, thanks to the credit crisis and the economic downturn, there may be no jobs at all. We were both moving home to our respective hometowns to mooch off our parental units until we could scrape something together. The road trip had died.
The plans for the last hurrah shrank in some ways and expanded in others. Instead of several months, we chose a week. Instead of just the two of us, we included three of our close friends. Instead of across the country, we crossed part of an ocean, staying in Roommate's uncle's beach house on the North Shore of Oahu. And it was perfect. And as you might have guessed, I had to be talked into even THAT small of a plan (see also: CHICKEN). The five of us made a pact that no matter where we were in life, we would come back in five years. Next summer will be five years. I don't think many of us thought we would have spent the last five years the way each of us have, but for better or worse, at least four of us are going to make it back to that beach house next year. I don't care if I have to sell a kidney to make it happen. What? I've got two. I bet I'll barely miss the other one.
While I was in Far North, Roommate didn't really bring up the road trip. It's just too hard to even find time to fly to one another, let alone drive anywhere. But now that I live in Texas, Roommate has that gleam in her eye again. She has new grand adventurous schemes for NOLA and Nashville and Graceland and the Grand Canyon, using my place as a home base. And this time, I'm actually considering it. I don't have a map or pins yet, but I think I might be brave enough to buy some soon.