There will come a day when I will no longer be amused by cheap vodka. That day is not today.
Today, I will sleep until noon and then struggle through my Statistics homework. I will go to dinner and enjoy every last French fry while I make inappropriate jokes with my friends, the kind for which my great aunt would write me out of her will if she heard them.
Tonight, I will take shots of Watermelon Burnetts and there will come a point when I honestly believe that it is the best thing I have ever tasted. I will only realize my mistake hours and hours later, when my regret is multiplied by how many shots I kicked back.
I will probably catch the gaze of a boy in a corner of a kitchen of a house that belongs to someone on the rugby team who I have never met. He will ask me where I’m from and then tell me that I don’t have a New York accent, and in the moment I will find this to be captivating conversation. It might cross my mind that this will be a cute story to tell our children one day.
We will run out of things to say to one another two exchanges in, and my friends and I will put on blinders and single-mindedly make the trek to WaWa for mac-n’-cheese. “It’s not really that long a walk,” she’ll insist, but half a mile in we are all carrying our heels and linking arms for warmth as if we are sixth grade girls.
The next morning, we will recount the best (or worst — it’s a matter of semantics) stories of the night and then bitterly mutter about how much work we have to do. We all know that we will be too hungover to actually get anything done that day.
This is not a defense of drunkenness or blackouts or excessive partying. This is about being a little bit reckless, and a little bit ridiculous, and a little bit stupid. And fine, this is a defense of a little bit of drunkenness, if that’s what you want.
But this is also about being young, of being in college and having no idea what you want to do in the near future. You can’t picture ten years down the line, but ten years down the line, you will be able to look back on whatever it is you’re doing now. And yes, some of the times you should look back on reading, running, studying, working, crawling into your parents’ bed because you’re still secretly afraid of thunderstorms.
But it can also be streaking at 3 in the morning because it’s a tradition at your college. It can also be experimenting until you find your perfect drink, and developing a long list of one-sip-leads-to-a-downward-spiral concoctions to be avoided at all costs. You can look back on times that you don’t really remember very well. This is all okay too, because once you’re 40 years old, it won’t be funny and you won’t be able to laugh at what you did the previous night while you spoon-feed your toddler Cheerios.
In two and a half years, I will be in the “real world,” and I have absolutely no idea what that will look like or what makes it more “real” than the world I’m living in now. So for now, my “real” is Chaucer and roommates and homesick phone calls and long walks around campus. My real is also, admittedly, dancing to Yellowcard and shots of Watermelon Burnetts on a Friday night.