>>> The Rollercoaster of Drama
By staff writer Simonne Cullen
January 4, 2006

Well it's the New Year. Who knows what 2006 will hold for all of us. Seniors are realizing that they only have five more months of boozing and freedom left in them. Freshman girls, rejuvenated by the winter break, have high hopes that this semester they won't play second fiddle to the Xbox 360. Juniors and sophomores are just enjoying campus life. And post-college grads around the nation are still trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives, wishing they had spent more time at their university’s career center, living in small apartments, or still living at home trying to adapt to the new environment. Ultimately, we're all just trying to survive; some just have it better than others.

So what's great about post-college life? Not much. The bars are more expensive, and you don't get to drink at them as often. Rent is expensive. Health insurance is expensive. And tax season is just around the corner, and I'm sure there are a couple of friends out there (you know who you are) who are downright unwilling to pay the government anything other than the Take-Out Food Tax, and who treat April 15th like it's nothing but five days ‘til 4/20. Perhaps the hardest adjustment is not living so close to all of your friends. “Hey you want to go grab a beer tonight? Oh, that's right, I forgot you live in Minnesota now.” Then you try to have a beer with them while on the phone, but it just isn't the same. Probably because you're watching two different shows on television and the commercials don't correspond to each other.

“I noticed that Smirnoff has created a grape malted beverage. Even though I would never drink it, I feel like I should have known about it long before it hit the shelves…”

I have to take vitamin C pills every day because I don't have health insurance yet, and can't risk getting the flu, influenza, polio, bird flu, or whatever disease Britney Spears and Katie Holmes caught that's made them so stupid. A couple of months ago some friends asked me if I wanted to drive down to Kentucky for the weekend and go skydiving with them. I told them that I didn't have any health insurance and really shouldn't risk it. And even if I did I wouldn't want to go sky-dying anyway. So it sucks turning down adventure. It sucks a lot. While I'm saving up for the big move to LA, life on the homefront has been rather difficult. There are a lot of rules—more rules than when I was in high school, and even though I don't have to pay rent, I now have to grocery shop and cook three nights a week. Which has turned out to be quite the adventure—adventure in humiliation.

I went shopping the other day at the grocery store. I like to start at the produce section and work my way back towards the frozen food section. In between I always end up taking a casual stroll through the booze aisle, and every time without fail I get a little choked up, longing for the days of picking up a six-pack, a handle and some Sprite, and then heading back to campus to spend the rest of the weekend living off of tortilla chips and Coronas.

You know, once you graduate college you'll notice that your stories never start out exciting. Rarely do you hear any of your friends say, “I was so hammered last night, I can't believe I….” Or, “You will never believe who I hooked up with….” Or, “Before you say anything about my appearance, don't worry…it's just a couple of stitches.” Now it's, “I was grocery shopping for marsala wine for the chicken marsala I planned on making that Thursday night after work. My god, that sentence was so boring I took a nap halfway through it. Anyway, I'm at the grocery store and these guys, clearly still living their glory days at DePaul come in. I ask them if they know anything about cooking wine, and they give my pants suit a once over and say, ‘Sorry we don't cook our booze. We drink it.’ Then they snickered at me. Snickered. Not even a good-natured giggle. I got a snicker and I don't mean the candy bar. Naturally I got on the defense, ‘I drink booze too! Go check my profile on Facebook! See how many pictures there are of me holding plastic cups with squinty eyes! I swear!’ But they just strolled into the walk-in cooler with their tortilla trips and dreams. Bastards.”

On New Year's Day my friend Shannon's mom sent her out for some sherry for whatever she was cooking, and Shan, still hungover from the night before, proudly returned with cherry flavored vodka. She didn't even know what cooking sherry was, and assumed her mom meant cherry. So obviously I'm not the only one not mishandling this transition.

Also, while I was in the liquor section, I noticed that Smirnoff has created a grape malted beverage. Even though I would never drink it, I feel like I should have known about it long before it hit the shelves…

Most of my girlfriends still live at home—that is, the ones who don't have these mind-blowing apartments downtown. See, there's no middle ground in the Chicago group. Everyone's on two different extremes of the spectrum. One of my close girl friends has doormen in her apartment building. Buildings with doormen usually have a strict policy of having guests sign in even when you bring said “guest” home from the bar. One Sunday morning while I waited in the lobby for her rich ass to take me to breakfast, she came off the elevator when the doorman asked her, “Miss Hardy, what were you doing with that plaid pant wearing young man when it ain't Halloween? Next time you come home with a suit or I'm going to say something to you in front of him.” So at breakfast Miss Hardy says to me, “It's a good thing to have someone there to spot your men for you. You should consider living someplace with a doorman.” I was like, “Miss Hardy, I’ve got the poor man's version. He's called my dad.”

My parents still stay up and wait for me to get home when I go out. Even if I tell them I'll be out ‘til bar close and not to wait up, they will. I think they do it for me to feel guilty and come home earlier, but I won't. And here's the reason why: They called me once a week in college—every Sunday morning to see how I was doing, and probably to check if I had made it home the night before. They slept soundly the rest of the week in their comfy bed of senility. Not knowing anything about Dollar Pint Monday, Jim's 2-for-1 Tuesday, 80's Night Wednesday, Thirsty Thursday, etc. So don’t get all dramatic on me now on Friday nights, when I'm stumbling home in once piece, without stitches, broken bones, or a hookup in tow. Count your blessings.

Once you graduate college and live at home, every boundary goes to hell. The other day Ag & I are watching the Grey's Anatomy rerun where Meredith had herself some casual sex with Patrick Dempsey. My mom comes in, plops down on the couch, watches Meredith have her little sex scene, and during commercial it dawns on my mother that this is the perfect time to ask both of us if we're having safe sex. That's when I started looking for my own apartment. I don't want to have to give a disclaimer to my friends before they enter the building that my mom, unlike theirs, won't pretend to be senile. Personal questions may fire out of her mouth without notice, so pretend you have Crest White Strips in your mouth to avoid said questions. It's why my teeth are blindly white.


*At the end of every article now, I'm going to share a little bit of my daily office life in hopes that it will scare some of you into staying in college a while longer.

So my office bought one of those Flavia coffee machines. When my boss first told me to order it I thought he said, “Go online and research the labia machines.” I seriously asked him, “What kind of machine?” at least eight times before he had to write it out for me. I may not know much about advertising and marketing, but if I ever invented a machine, I wouldn't name it something that rhymed or could be mistaken for a part of a woman's vagina.

I used to wear a those flared Capri pants to work until one day one of my older, unfashionable co-workers made the comment that I looked quite similar to a “Swashbuckling Pirate.” I figured I'd be fired if I bought Vogue and stuck sticky notes all over it pointing out that when Kate Moss wears similar pants it does not represent the entire pirate nation, so instead I stuck to casual pant suits. On casual Friday I wore my fuzzy boots, and another co-worker mentioned I looked like a Bratz doll. Hmmm, female version of Jack Sparrow, or Barbie doll with an oversized head? Maybe I should be reading Vogue more thoroughly instead of just looking at the pictures.

On my desk I have a picture of a couple friends and me at Disneyland with Captain Hook. A co-worker came over and asked, “What bar were you at that Captain Morgan made an appearance?” I was like, are you a moron? Pretending that Captain Hook is Captain Morgan doesn't make you cool. But you know what would? Filing that stack of paperwork over there so I can take an early lunch. Thanks Captain Tool.