Monday, January 10, 2011

Booze Cruising

Anyone who knows me well knows that I refused to drink alcohol in high school.  People knew better than even to ask me if I wanted to go to a party.
Sometime between high school and my senior year of college, though, that changed.  I mostly blame two people and one situation for the change of heart: Jordon Nissen, Medora, and Guillaume Andrieu.

In my junior year, I was still working as an RA of Watson Hall at Jamestown College.  I turned 21 that year, and I was on duty until midnight every Sunday during the second semester.  Come rain or shine, when midnight rolled around, there was my coworker Jordon, ready to take me to the bar for drinks.  Keep in mind that at that time, bars in Jamestown closed at 1:00, so we'd have less than an hour. But believe you me, we made the most of that hour.

The following summer, I spent my first summer in Medora.  I made friends with crazy people who liked to drink a lot. The rest, as you know, is history.

Upon returning to Jamestown College that fall, I was fortunate enough to make friends with this French kid. Guillaume.  It's pretty funny how I met him in the first place, actually, and if you want to know the story, just ask.  It doesn't really apply to the blog, so I'm not going to tell it here, but it IS a good story.  In any case, Guillaume did not allow anyone not to go out and have a good time. Especially me. And if we weren't out having a good time, we were in having a good time. It made for a good year.

And I haven't stopped the trend.  I drink about two nights a week now that I live in Boulder.  And have a really good time...

However, not many things in Boulder can compete with the beauty of booze cruising.  Now, you city people will never, ever understand the appeal or rationality of this, but I'll do my best to explain it in such a way that you won't think I'm crazy and stupid.  I definitely don't condone doing this where there are people driving or walking across the roads. Or where there are stoplights.  But it's a little different when you are the only car for miles and miles on gravel roads in cold, lonely North Dakota.|

Anyway.  Like I said, in high school, I didn't drink.  And anytime anyone did anything that involved drinking, I didn't want to be around.  My sister, on the other hand...  Again, a different story.  The thing is, though, that in high school, kids are way under the drinking age.  So going to the bar is out of the question.  Next best option: create your own bar.  In a car.

Yes, that's right.  Booze cruising, for those of you who haven't been exposed to the term, is quite literally and simply drinking and driving.  Usually in excess.

I had never *really* gone booze cruising until Thanksgiving this year.  And by the time the decision was made to go booze cruising, I had had enough to drink not to care about the safety issues behind driving around in a pickup on snowy, gravel roads with a driver who had had too much to drink beginning about 3 hours prior to the start of the cruise.  It just seemed like more fun than going home and going to bed.

And it was way more fun than going home and going to bed.  I can't really explain the appeal in driving around, drinking, peeing outside (yikes!), getting lost, and other such behavior.  It's just really fun.  I don't know why.  I guess it's just one of those things.  Or maybe it depends on the company?  I'll stop guessing.

In any case, I did it again at Christmas, and this time may have been even more fun, due to an incident that requires acting.  If it didn't, I would describe it here.  Maybe I'll take a video of it sometime for all of you.  Suffice it to say that it involves snow, gravel, peeing, and driving.  All at the same time.  Use your imaginations.

To be clear: I don't condone this behavior, nor do I necessarily think that it's a good idea.  That's why I didn't do it for a long, long time.  I still am not sure that it's something that I should be doing at the age of 25, but boredom breeds bad decisions?  (See "whoops.")

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Home for the Holidays II

So, do you remember a few months ago when I promised that I would try to write a blog a week?

Yeah, that didn't happen. And it probably still won't. And I didn't make it one of my new year's resolutions, because everyone knows that no one keeps their new year's resolutions, anyway. Instead, I'm just going to keep on going with writing when I have time/a topic comes to mind.

Do you remember about 5 weeks ago, when I was home for Thanksgiving and wrote this blog about my time there? And how I promised a second half and told you all to "look for another installment and the point of the blog sometime soon."? Yeah, well, there are two problems. The first is that I don't remember a lot of what happened when I was home after that, and the second is that I don't remember what I actually had in mind for the point of the blog. My bad.

I did, however, make a list of serious topics that came from that trip home, so you'll see those in the coming weeks....


I just looked at the list, and guess what's on it! The point of the previous blog!!! Sometimes I do things like that, that are intended to make my life easier, but I don't pay attention or forget, and then my good intentions go out the window. Not this time, kids. Not this time.

Okay, so. On to the point of the previous Thanksgiving blog, which again, you can find here. I really recommend that you read at least the first two paragraphs.
I'm very fortunate in that I have a very great group of friends and a fantastic family that has been super-supportive of me and my life decisions. I'm also very fortunate because even though I live 3-ish states away, they still keep in touch.

I'm not the best at calling people. Just ask my mom. (Sorry, Mom. I think maybe I'm getting better??) Apparently, many of my friends also aren't the best at calling, because they don't call me, either. (Yes, I just called you all out.) But we're all busy and have stuff going on, and it's easy not to call people. I used to use driving as a good excuse to call people, but I rarely drive anymore. I mostly take the bus, and I refuse to be that girl who keeps talking and talking and talking on a long bus ride.

Ugh. I'm straying from the point.

Even though I don't necessarily stay in the best of touch with my friends, when I'm home in ND, I try to make a point of seeing as many people as possible. This is not always easy. For example, many of my friends live 5-6 hours from Gwinner. Some (okay, most) have significant others, jobs, etc. that don't allot much time to Gwinner while I'm there. But we try. And it's great.

And I'm straying again.

I'm going to stop beating around the bush and get to the point. The point is this: If I spend too long within the boundaries of Gwinner, I start to go crazy. I get super crabby and really mean and get a really, really awful attitude. And I know that people notice. And I do apologize, but being there for too long makes me nutso. I know that it's the place that I grew up, and I know that everyone there is super supportive, but it's really hard for me to spend extended periods of time there. I love having a place to call home, and I'm more than happy to take short visits. And I love my family and I love visiting my friends who are around. But I just. get. miserable. And I feel bad, but it's true.

After my grandma died in the summer of 2008, I thought a lot about the small-town atmosphere. I thought to myself, "How could I ever live anywhere but a small town?" Everyone was more than willing to help with anything that anyone could possibly think of. It was so refreshing to see people come together and everyone knew and everyone cared. It was touching.

What I've learned from living in a bigger place, though, is that the same thing happens here, it's just with a smaller group of people. The people who know you and care about you are the ones who help and do what needs to be done. Sure, the entire city of Boulder isn't going to come together for me when my dog dies (I don't actually have a dog), but my closest friends and maybe even people one or two branches out from that circle would be willing to do whatever is needed. The city atmosphere just helps me to be more anonymous, which I totally appreciate.

This past summer, I spent my fourth summer in Medora. You can read about it here. Basically what it says is that I was miserable all summer. And I attributed a lot of my misery to crazy tourists. I still won't deny that. But now that there's more distance from the experience, I also attribute it to Medora's size and the traits that follow from it being a small town. Not the people, just the situation.

Here's what I'm trying to say. I appreciate the small-town life and am glad that I grew up in it and have experienced it. I love visiting it. There are some aspects of it that I seriously miss (see the blog about booze cruising to come soon). I'm really, really proud of a lot of things that my home state does. I brag about ND all the time. I'm glad to have a place to call home. I'm just mostly uncomfortable there. And I'm sorry for that.

But most of all, I'm sorry that when I'm there I get awful. Feel free to call me out. It's a serious problem. I can take it... Probably.