1. You return home from college/another city/your bedroom upstairs. One of your parents wastes absolutely no time criticizing your outfit and general appearance. Your sibling giggles at the predictability of it all.
2. You’re bombarded with about 40,000 questions. Everything from “Does Giovanni still play hockey?” to “how have they not given you a raise by now?” Every time you try and answer one, you’re blitzed with three more.
3. With the zeal of a WWII soldier recounting D-Day, your mom tells you what happened when Steve the contractor came to look at the flood in the basement. Also, some very old person that you once met died two weeks ago. You’re kinda sad that you’re not at all sad.
4. The text buildup. The first time in weeks people are actually texting you. But of course, crickets from the ex that you could maybe rekindle things with. Classic Nicole.
5. A hurried dinner. You feel bad because it’s chicken parm and there was clearly a lot of effort put in. But it’s already 9 30 and most people are already at Gavins.
6. The half-eaten chicken parm gets stored away for the fridge. Like a 17 year hockey veteran, you’ve been here before, and know how crucial that’ll be for later.
7. Car ride to Gavins, amplified by revisiting the hit music station that powered you through your middle and high school years. Nothing like bumping tunes spun by the great Al Levine On The Scene.
8. A stop at 7-11, to pick up those Bud Light Plattypusses. Depending on how old you are, you either sit in the car cursing the drinking laws, or get carded and talk about how thrilled you are that people are still carding you.
9. Pulling up to Gavins, and you know exactly who is there based on the cars.
10. You decide to pull up next to Nicole’s car. For memory purposes. She parked like two feet away from the curb, which is classic Nicole.
10. As you shut the car door, yet another text from the group of people you didn’t end up pregaming with. You semi-dickishly ignore their invite, and ask which bar they’re planning on going to later. You know it’s not gonna be the same place, and you question why you’re even still bothering to be diplomatic. Is it for the Facebook likes?
11. You walk in from the back (this is the house where you always walk in the back), and that one friend who hasn’t totally gotten over high school greets you with frightening enthusiasm.
12. You say some dumb, break-the-ice comment along the lines of “it’s like we never left.”
13. Various conversations about school and jobs, in which your primary responsibility is to wholeheartedly embrace your current life stage. If you’re unsure of what to talk about here, follow this handy guide:
- Freshman/Sophomore Year: Brag about how “hard” your school goes, how sick your frat/team/organization is.
- Junior Year: Discuss how much more culturally enlightened you’re about to be upon spending four months in London.
- Senior Year: Discuss the intensity by which you are searching for jobs, while also telling others that they shouldn’t be in a rush because “there’s plenty of time,” and “should we really know what we want to do at this age?”
- Postgrad, Years 1-2: Inform others that you work much longer hours than them. Stress that a commute is a thing that you, and only you, must endure.
- Postgrad, Years 3-4: Engage in gossip regarding your ex who recently got engaged. This should be the conversational centerpiece, in order to compensate for your growing life dissatisfaction.
14. You keep doing that last item, only now the conversation is a bit more honest now that you guys have had a few. If a postgraduate, this is a great time to comment on how your tolerance isn’t even close to what it once was. Make sure to emphasize this as much as possible.
15. You participate in a a toast, perpetuated by that kid you were really good friends with in high school, but have sorta drifted separate ways due to diverging interests and career paths.
16. During the toast, you lock eyes with Nicole; she’s into it, but she looks away a little too quickly. Classic Nicole.
17. Everyone talks about “the plan,” which mostly consists of everyone asking everyone else about “the plan.” An additional 15-20 minutes is wasted trying to figure out “the plan.”
18. You barrel into the back of a minivan, driven by the one person who isn’t drinking. You do the thing where you strategically position your seat–Ralph is cool and you haven’t yet talked to him, so next to Ralph it is.
19. Nicole went with Hannah and Shaun, which is most definitely classic Nicole.
20. A really good chat with Ralph. Facebook has told you that Ralph’s been getting deep into the Capitol Hill game, and what he’s doing is pretty damn impressive for a 22 year-old. He talks with an uncompromising passion, and it makes you proud as hell–at least someone has figured out exactly what they wanna do.
21. You arrive at the bar. The first sighting of someone you hoped you’d never see again. This is why I had to get out of here, you think douche-ily to yourself.
22. The bar is packed, which probably has something to do with the fact that 92% of the current inhabitants have never been there other than the night before Thanksgiving. Though to be fair, the other 8% have been there most days.
23. You take a moment to marvel at the fact that some of your friends are legitimately becoming townies. You’re not sure if you feel bad for them, envy their life, or are just a dick who shouldn’t try and make assumptions about other people’s situations.
24. You find it immensely tough to get a drink without having to walk through a particularly rough gauntlet of people you really don’t want to say hi to. Is it even worth the drink?
25. You stake out a small corner of the packed bar, protecting your standing turf whilst greeting old acquaintances with various levels of enthusiasm.
26. To the left is that kid two years older than you, who you know is one of the few guys trying to do the same thing as you. You consider approaching, but don’t–networking right now seems douchey, AKA you’re too scared.
27. Another text. Your other friends are at the bar on the other side of town, with that scene that you always kinda hated. For a second, you regret not going. But the second doesn’t last long because…
28. “DUUUUDDDE Coach Stephenson is here! Lets do shots!”
29. Your friend who was on the varsity baseball team buys shots for you and your high school gym coach. It’s kinda weird, but kinda not. By now, you’ve realized Coach Stephenson is just another dude who also hates making car insurance payments.
30. You’re drunk enough to finally talk to Nicole. You look around, and you can’t find her. Beyond classic Nicole.
31. You’re suddenly really frustrated, even though you have no real reason to be. You go outside and bum a cigarette. This isn’t usually you, but it seems like the proper move.
32. While smoking, you see Nicole. Nicole hates cigarettes. She gives you that look, and for some reason it really affects you. You hate yourself for still letting her every look affect you.
33. Finally, the conversation. You lose track of time, but it’s not so much in a dreamy way as a legitimate catch up way. Shit, you’ve changed. So has she, in a way. When she reveals that she just started seeing someone, you’re genuinely happy for her. Part of you wonders what if, but would it even work now?
34. She hugs goodbye. Way tighter than necessary. Signature Nicole.
35. Back to your homies. They address you with their version of “that look,” the same one from 10th grade. You shake it off for what’s now the 1000th time.
36. No one really planned how anyone was getting home, which for some reason doesn’t concern you.
37. Car ride all across town, with some of the more random people you’ve ever been in a car with. The DD, who you probably wouldn’t’ve even said hi to if you randomly ran into him, cranks Radiohead. He really likes Radiohead.
38. Home, and its straight to the fridge and the chicken parm. You love yourself for having such great foresight.
39. You’re about to dive in, when you’re distracted by your vibrating phone. Lunging for it, you knock over your chicken parm. Fuck fuck fuck. It’s all over the floor, and it’s completely ruined.
40. On second thought, is it? This is your parents house and the cleaning people probably came within the past few days. Totes safe.
41. You revisit the phone, wondering who the fuck it was who minorly ruined the highlight of the evening.