At 11:30 p.m. on August 31, 2009, I was sitting at work. It was a Monday night, and I found cursing the existence of student media. Wasn’t one of the reasons why I left the student newspaper so I wouldn’t have to work late on a freaking Monday night?! Frustration ensued.
Then, as I was editing a multimedia presentation in Flash, my friends showed up at the door.
“It’s your birthday,” they said. “You need to come with us.”
And so I did. Weeks, if not months, before, I had decided we were going to the Breakaway (which has since been shut down. Says a lot about the institution, doesn’t it?) because I would get a free birthday shot. Friends gathered at my house while I ate ice cream cupcakes from Coldstone and laughed about what the night could hold.
“I won’t drink that much,” I said. “I have to go to work in the morning.”
Oh, how wrong I was.
We walked over to the Break. I’m not sure how many shots I consumed. My last memory was being surrounded by sorority girls chanting, “Drink, mother f***er, drink!” It was very ritualistic.
The following events are based on the accounts of others.
After more drinks at the Break, someone decided it was time to go home. I insisted that because it was my birthday, we needed to take a walk on campus. Pictures on my phone indicate that we ended up by the university’s sign next to the main entrance. We then walked to the quad, where apparently sprinklers were going off.
And really, you should know what happened next. I mean, c’mon. Sprinklers.
I took off running through the sprinklers, having the time of my life. Then, I decided that it was time to look at the stars, so I lied down on the wet grass.
Dear readers, it was a cloudy night in the middle of a city. There were no stars to look at.
In order to get me to stand up, my friends said we could take pictures by the great John Mackay statue. More pictures were taken, some in probably inappropriate positions.
We then walked home, and Dana and Amy put me to bed. As I was falling asleep, I asked why my clothes were all wet. They thought this was particularly funny.
I awoke the next morning, damp and with one of the worst hangovers of my life. I only woke up because Adam, just as he had promised the night before, was at the front door so he could make sure that I got to work in the morning. When I did show up, the two people there were astonished: “Really, Jessica, you shouldn’t have come in today.”
I don’t remember much else from that morning. All I know is that I was hungover well into the afternoon, when I had my Shakespeare class. The cute guy in my Shakespeare class chose that particular day (of course) to have a conversation with me. And I, looking particularly awful with bedhead and a bad Nevada polo shirt, just smiled and thought, “Well, this isn’t the worst thing that could happen on my birthday.”
The rest of my birthday celebration, which was stretched out over a week, included barhopping, baseball, karaoke and dancing.
21 was a good year to me. After the havoc that was my 20th year of living, 21 was a gift. I was going to make a list of why being 21 was awesome, but I’ve lost all motivation for that. Just know that things might get bad, but then they eventually get better.
Here’s to another year of life, hopefully just as good as the last.