Monday, February 14, 2011

Road trips and Fireworks: A Valentine's Day story

Let's take a stroll down Memory Lane, shall we? 

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?"

I was one of the only one of my friends with a car.  The fact that it had four tires full of air and went above 55 miles an hour on the freeway outweighed the fact that it was a two-toned brown 1983 Ford Escort.  
This is very close to what my infamous car looked like.  You're jealous, admit itThis car was actually much better than the one that came after it, a baby blue 1985 Ford Tempo, which was aptly nicknamed "The walrus."

And since they were bored, tired of hanging around the dorms all day long, or actually wanted to celebrate Single Awareness Day with me, about five of my friends jumped at the words "road trip." 

It wasn't until we packed six of us into my tiny five seater that we realized we had no idea where we were going.  They asked me, thinking I had some kind of master plan. We debated our options.  North led us to Idaho, and Idaho was boring.  South could lead us to Vegas, but we all had to be in class the next day, so South was out.  West led to lots of Great Salt Lake Desert.  The dorms would be more exciting.  East it was.

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.


  1. I'm sad that I didn't know you yet! I would have joined you for sure. :)

  2. I love it! Sounds like a fun night. We did similar things in college, just get in the car and drive, because we were "grown ups" and we could. :)

  3. Love it. College life was so much fun, wasn't it?

  4. That's great. I only miss my college days about once a week . . . :)

  5. Pyros, fireworks, and Valentine's Day, sounds like the perfect combination to me.

    Hope you had a grand Love Day this year!


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