Craziest. Night. Ever. (High School) . . .
Picture it: Upstate, New York in the early spring of 1994. A group of nine high school seniors, and two high school juniors including the Salutatorian and several over high ranking upper classmen/officials (class president, student council president, TWO mathletes, band drum major, captain of the wrestling team, remedial reader, etc.) are barely scratching the surface on their senior year Spring Break. How are they celebrating? Pft. Parrrrr-tay. My friend Guyk (a modification of his French class name (Guy - pronounced gee) and the letter k because the kid was bound for Drexel for a degree in Engineering and an eventual second masters in mathematics theory) had the house all to himself (his sister was at college, his parents divorced, his mom . . . I don't know where she was. Not my business.) and we were going to take advantage.
I know what you're presuming: kegger, underaged smoking, illicit drug use, maybe some inappropriate physical activities. Pft. Right! Sure! Here is how the night actually went down . . . hand. to. G-d.
We all arrived at Guyk's mid-afternoon. We hung out in the lawn and played frisbee, soccer, and catch while talking trash about each other and our classmates. We ordered pizza for dinner. SEVERAL of them. With diverse toppings, I might add. And we went to the grocery store to play frozen turkey bowling, roam the aisles, load up on soda, snack foods, and various fruit cobblers (don't ask . . . ). We ate a nice dinner, enjoyed the sounds of Prince (Greatest Hits and B-Sides) and Digital Underground (Sex Packets) and debated going bowling. Crazy, right?! I know. I know. We watched a Monty Python movie (I don't remember which one) and it got to be about 10 PM. This was, of course, the witching hour for a few of our female friends with parents who doubted the safety of their little angels with a bunch of virgins, academics, social awkwards, and hilarious vulgarians. We hugged them all goodbye (giggle, giggle) and debated what was next. And what was next was where things got awesome.
Growing up in the beautiful, idyllic hills between the fantastic Finger Lakes was the best and worst thing I could have hoped for. It was small, peaceful, quiet, and beautiful. It also closed at 8 PM. Seriously. Like all of it just shut down and the world went to sleep. But not us. Nay. I say NAY!
We loaded up in to three separate cars (including one friend's mother's station wagon) and set out in to the night. Three syllables, fools . . . It. Ha. Ca. We drove down to The Commons (PS - if you click on that link, my orthodontist's office is on the second floor of the building on the right) and we walked around and played some billiards and laughed at some of the street performers. Around midnight we decided to raise the stakes, head up the hill and take Cornell University by storm (literally - we had my father's Geo Storm with us).
We drove on campus (like we were entitled), parked the cars, walked to Barton Hall (pictured above) and old military armory and current home of the Cornell ROTC, the University's security detail (more on that later), the facilities for the indoor track team and a place where actually, paying Ivy League STUDENTS are welcome to play basketball just about any time. Hmm. Doors are all locked (we walked ALL the way around and they were ALL locked). No matter. We will just force this door here open and walk on in, to the pitch black building. And we did.
And we made our way through a locker room, up a flight of stairs, and on to a pitch black flat with a track, several basketball hoops, some bleachers, and chairs and no one in sight. So what SHOULD we do? Turn on the lights. Clearly. And we did. And those among us with athletic prowess began playing some hoop. The rest of us sat and talked about physics and literature (I swear this was our actual topic of conversation) and this was great for about 10 minutes. Then security showed up. And they were less than thrilled that we helped ourselves to their building.
So we all get dragged downstairs and we're put in various rooms and we're asked who we are and what we are doing and the security guard seemed as skeptical and bemused by the details of our evening as you are, dear readers. We had to fill out forms and give ID (those that had driver's licenses - not all of us did) and we were put in some book and they were getting ready to call all of our parents when one of the security guards noticed something curious . . . the last name of one of the kids in our group. It HAPPENED to be the same last name as this guy's best friend in high school who happened to be the uncle of the kid. And on that (I told you Upstate was the best and worst place in the world) we were all released with a stern warning and a verbal vow to "never set foot back on campus" (awkward considering one of the the few girls still in the group was enrolled to start at Cornell in August).
We drove DIRECTLY to the grocery market (I threw up, thrice, outside of the security office and needed some Pepto (I was an angst written little man even then)) and bought more junk food and we fretted and stewed all the way home. What would happen if "people" found out? Would we lose our college admissions offers? Would we lose scholarship money? Would we have to resign as student leaders? Would we still be able to participate in the math Olympics? Would people think less of us? Would anyone even care?
We went back to Guyk's. We stayed up until just about sun up. We all went home (I was heading directly to Connecticut for a final visit to Quinnipiac) and we all told our parents in our due time and own, special way. Our Salutatorian even made a joke about the adventure in her Commencement speech (oh the laughter from the good kids).
I avoided Cornell for about nine months. I didn't hesitate to go back on campus during my Freshman year to see a hockey game and spend time with my friend who studied there. We walked right by Barton Hall. I didn't even throw up. College had changed me. And I'll tell you the story of my best night of college next time, kiddos.