So, as I’m pretty sure I’ve said before (and multiple times, at that), I’ve had a love-hate relationship with my alma mater for oh, ten years now.  This weekend was not only my 30th birthday, but also Duke Reunion Weekend, in which the class 1997 (among others) descended on the campus to party like it’s 1999 (or in this case, more like 1995).  I have to say, of all the Duke graduating classes I have known, 1997 has got to be my favorite.  I even attended their 5-year reunion (and not my own, two years later).  Considering the fact that I developed Senioritis along with this crew, my undergraduate experience understandably went downhill after they graduated.  So this weekend, I got a little reminder of why I love Duke.

Friday afternoon resulted in a call from my friend E, berating me for missing the sorority dinner on Saturday night.  (The Parental Units feat. Bubba were in town for my birthday, and I couldn’t pass up all the free stuff that was sure to ensue.)  “But you’re in my club!” she said.  “Wha?” I so intelligently responded.  “The club of people who have dated guys who went on to marry one of our sisters!  And who are also attending the dinner!”  “Oh yeah, and let me tell you, I am so sad that I will not get to sit across from J and A* at the dinner.”  “But when I signed up for this, in my head, you were in my club, and I was not alone!”  Well, at least she had a boyfriend tagalong–I did not have such a luxury.  At any rate, we decided that, if nothing else, we would get some drinks Saturday night after the ‘rents left town.

So, when Saturday night rolled around, I was excited to meet them at the James Joyce downtown.  I grabbed a beer and we sat outside on the patio while we waited for various other sorors to arrive.  Some were at a fancy gala on campus, but E had attended the one for her 5th year reunion, and it had been, in the words of Eric Cartman, hella lame.  The ultimate plan was for everyone to meet up at Honey’s, a local establishment that hosted many a late night of studying and/or sobering up.  (Oh yes, it is just as classy a joint as you can imagine.)  Apparently, I was the person who instigated this plan by mentioning it to city hostess extraordinaire, C.  And boy, am I glad I mentioned it off-hand, because that was good times.

C and I arrived just ahead of the rest of the crew, which was rolling about 12 deep.  The waitresses looked a little exasperated when we mentioned that number, but set us up at a nice long table that made the whole event seem like an elegant banquet, except for the sticky tables and pervasive scent of grease and cigarette smoke that is the hallmark of this esteemed establishment.  (But seriously, Honey’s rocks hard core.)  By the time everyone got there and got in place, I was seated across from E, near J and A, and next to D, the most brilliant person to ever become best known for puking.  We all laughed so hard about the good times we had in college (except for maybe J and A, who didn’t know me very well in the early days of my college career, and that was mostly what we discussed).  Most of the conversation revolved around the ill-fated trip to Orlando my freshman year (including the Boot and Hollar episode) and the Purple Jenga party.  Ooooh, the Purple Jenga party.  So not a good idea.  In essence, we mixed up a bunch of PJ and wrote crazy stuff on the bottom of Jenga pieces.  (Every time you pulled out a piece, you had to do what was on it:  Cornholio and chug, paddywagon**, and hold your left neighbor’s crotch were some of the favorite punishments.  If the tower fell, you had to finish your drink.)  Then we invited a whole bunch of people over, and the best part was, school was out so there were no po-po to bust up the fun.  Highlights of the party included Mezcal (mmm, alcoholic bbq sauce), E trying to convert everyone to Catholicism, me getting handcuffed to someone named “Love Socks”, and E telling D that he took up 90% of her brain.  (This was because we had just heard some statistic that you only use 10% of your brain.  She was trying to say he resided in the part of her brain that she never used, but came off sounding like she was completely obsessed with him.)

After that side of the table calmed down, I was able to talk to some of my other sisters, S, M, and C, who I have missed so much.  Sometime around 1am, the group serenaded me for my birthday, and the random other patrons clapped for me.  It was a nice night, and broke up way too quickly, at about 1:30.  Sigh.

Sunday remained awesome, despite the rain, because I got to go with J, my fake SSSE***, to the Women’s Basketball Banquet.  I was a little hesitant to attend after Coach G left, but I wanted to support the girls and let them know we’d stand behind them in the future.  From that event came one of my favorite quotes:  “We wish her many wins at Texas, but never against Duke!” which is what President Brodhead said in his farewell speech.  There was also a video from Coach G, who was in Italy coaching the US Women’s Team.  It was very apparent that they had to stop the camera several times and edit her speech in pieces because she kept crying.  Which made me feel a little better, but also caused me to lean over th J and say, “I know from experience–if you’re crying that hard about leaving a job, you’re making a big mistake.”****

So, yeah, all in all, a good weekend, and it left me with lots of warm fuzzies about my alma mater.  Let’s see how long it takes to squander them…

*I love J and A, but still.  It’s awkward.

**Everyone else playing the game lines up with their feet shoulder-width apart.  The person who drew the Paddywagon piece must crawl through everyone’s legs as all the people standing reach over and smack the crawling person on the ass.  If you’re really mean, you try to catch the crawler between your legs so that you can smack them for longer.

***Same Sex Spousal Equivalent–pretty appropriate considering the event.

****Hello, this is the whole reason I was throwing crap in a suitcase minutes before leaving Santa Barbara.  I couldn’t be alone in my apartment for more than 10 minutes without sobbing uncontrollably.

OOH!  OOH!!  OOH!!!  I just remembered one of the most hilarious parts of the night.  So, J and A had just finished telling us that they were in the process of adopting a baby from China.  The following conversation ensued:
E:  So, you’re going to have a cute little Chinese baby?
A:  (totally deadpan)  No, actually, it will be Black.
Me:  (in my head)  Really?  (mind racing, trying to remember if there would be any reason for a plethora of Black babies in China)
E:  all squeaky-likeREALLY??
A:  NOOOOOOO.
Everyone else:  (hysterical laughter)

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