Mamacita says: Back when I was in college, one of my friends had a map of North America on a corkboard, hanging on his wall. When things were slow, we would take turns throwing a dart at the map, and wherever the dart landed, we would hop in a car and drive there.
A couple of times the dart landed in Canada or Mexico; with my supreme skill at the bad lucks I always had mono or strep then.
Eventually we made a rule that it had to be a place that we could reach and return from, over one weekend. That helped immensely. Mike cut down the map to show only those places.
Sometimes, we just had time to cross a state line before we had to head back to school. Why did we do this so often? I don’t know. We were in college. We were young. We were creatively silly. Do you really need a reason? We didn’t. It was fun. And we were young enough that going almost anywhere without asking permission first was a novelty. To cross a state line was a high that couldn’t be gotten any other way. I never mentioned this to my parents. Mom still doesn’t know.
Mom still doesn’t know lots of things.
I’m counting on you all not to tell her. Thank you very much.
Mike, the map’s keeper, was a great guy. Cute, too. He was an awesome dancer, and had the biggest stereo speakers of anyone I knew. (Back then, that was a plus, not a minus!) (This is not a euphemism.) (Then again, I wouldn’t know.) He could supply the music for an entire neighborhood with a flick of a switch, and often did. We used to go dancing all the time, a large group of us, at a club attached to a semi-sleazy motel on the far east side of town. It’s no longer there. I was always thankful that it never got raided when I was there; my parents would have removed me from college and put me in a convent school. And we weren’t even Catholic.
By “semi-sleazy,” I mean that it had a working neon sign. Truly sleazy motels don’t have neon. Or if by chance they do, it doesn’t work. At least one letter is blown out of a sleazy motel neon sign. It’s a rule.
And I never saw the inside of the motel, so I can’t enlighten you about that. Which is not to say that I was never ASKED. . . . .
I dated Mike for a year, in college. Several years ago, I got a call from one of the old ‘gang’ and was told that Mike had died. Of AIDS. His partner was calling people in Mike’s address book to let them know. I hadn’t even known he was gay. Everybody else did, and knew it even back then, but I never suspected. It wouldn’t have made any difference; I would have still liked him; but I didn’t know. Looking back, I can see it, but at the time, I didn’t.
Maybe that was why he was never pushy about the motel. He asked, but he never insisted.
Whenever I think back on college memories, his face is what I see first. I wish I could still see it. Somehow, wherever he was, everybody was happy, everywhere was fun, and everything was cool. He was so funny, so kind, so snarky, so witty. He also wore hilarious boxers. To dinner. When he was at our table, it didn’t much matter what the menu had in store for us; dinner was awesome when he was sitting with us.
Wherever he is now, I’m sure he is having that same effect. Big speakers and all.
P.S. Definitely not a euphemism. BIG speakers.
P.P.S. Shut up.
P.P.P. S. I really miss him.