It's Valentine's Day 1997. "Foolish Games" by Jewel and "How Do I Live" by Leann Rimes were playing on every radio, Dolly the Sheep had just been cloned, and I was a freshman living on campus at the University of Utah. Because I was a freshman, and because my parents firmly believed that a college student should not live at home, I was living in the dumpiest of dumpy dorms, in a building so bad that not only have I blocked out its name, but it has long since been both condemned and demolished.
Although our living spaces were small, our communal bathrooms were so nasty that you had to wear flip flops to take a shower or risk a foot disease, and our kitchen was three flights down and constantly smelled like rancid Korean food, we had a lot of fun that year. There was a group of seven or eight of us that made it through the year together, freshman fifteen, missionaries leaving, the horror that was Biology 101 and all.
This particular Valentine's Day found me in a foul mood. I've never loved Valentine's Day, (or as we called it, "Single Awareness Day") but I was unusually grumpy that evening, and decided to do something about it. I went down to the kitchen, took stock of my friends were also sitting around bemoaning their single-ness and declared, "I'm going on a road trip. Who's coming?"
|This is very close to what my infamous car looked like. You're jealous, admit it. This car was actually much better than the one that came after it, a baby blue 1985 Ford Tempo, which was aptly nicknamed "The walrus."|
Heading East had the extra bonus of getting to another state in a little less more than an hour. Hitting Evanston, Wyoming had never been so exciting. And as everyone from Utah knows, there are three options for excitement in Evanston that you can't find in Utah: drive-thru beer, porn, and illegal fireworks. Since we were mostly good kids, we passed on the porn and the beer and went straight for the illegal fireworks. We pooled our money and had enough to buy approimately two fireworks, (what did I tell you about living in the ghetto dorms!) and piled back in the car.
We arrived back on campus in what felt like the middle of the night. We debated all the way home about what to actually do with the fireworks. As soon as I parked the car, the debate was over. Brandon, our resident pyro, ran up to his dorm room and found some matches, and herded us all out into the middle of the quad. We shot off our two glorious fireworks, each of them rocketing high enough to be seen everywhere on campus. We couldn't decide if we should be giggling or running before the police caught us. In the end, we retreated back to the dorms when we heard the sirens to watch a horrible romantic comedy on the tiny nearly-dead tv on the boys' floor, congratulating ourselves on the best Single Awareness Day ever.