Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Climb Every Mountain

Hey y'all,

No intro, let's go...

Climb Every Mountain

Where I went to college, we have three nights every fall that are, unavoidably, going to be party nights. Resident Assistants assigned those nights know that they will accompany some overenthusiastic first year or sophomore to the hospital to get her stomach pumped. They know that they will only be able to write social violation reports for extreme cases such as cocaine snorting and arson because everyone on campus will be violating some rule on those nights. Luckily, those students who aren't criminals or addicts or RAs are free to enjoy these three nights without fear of repercussion for minor infractions.

As an undergrad, this.was.amazing.

During my first two years in school, I had fun and I drank on these nights, however, I kept myself in check. But in junior year, I got cocky.

Really cocky.

I have *such* a crush on Runaways era Joan Jett
Photo by Brad Elterman

The specific night on which this story occurred began simply enough: I had a few drinks in my room with my friends. I wandered around the halls and drank some more with friends. Then I went outside for a few cigarettes and met up with my friend Stella and her boyfriend, Stanley. We were just running out of alcohol and debating where to find more when Rosaline approached us.

Rosaline is a year older than me and she is the very definition of a hippie. The wedding rings she salivates over are wooden. She doesn't shave her armpits unless begged to do so. She has been known to go days at a time without showering. Her clothes usually have beads or talismans sewn on to them and they jingle as she walks. Obviously, she's one of the most awesome people ever born.

As she shared a cigarette with us, Rosaline announced to Stanley that she was about to have a major load of mary jane delivered to her room and he had ten minutes to decide if he was in. Stella is allergic to mary, so it was always a major treat for Stanley if he found it when he came to visit Stella.

Instead of rushing to say yes, Stanley told Rosaline he'd let her know in the next few minutes if he'd be joining her. Stella and I exchanged a quick glance of concern: Stanley should have been jumping for joy. Right then Rosaline's phone rang and she walked away to answer the call.

"What's going on?" Stella asked, brow furrowed. "Are you not feeling well?"

"I'm fine," Stanley answered Stella and turned to me. "Abernathy, go with me."

"WHAT?!" Stella and I shouted. I wasn't even sure Stanley liked me and here he was insisting I score mary jane with him.

"I can't go alone," he almost sounded like he was begging as he looked off to where Rosaline had disappeared. "She's kind of...different. And I don't know these people. C'mon Abbi."

Stella shoved me, "Abbi, go with him. You know Rosaline isn't the most put together and if something goes wrong you can get Stanley out of it." I looked at Stanley and examined the wrinkle-free button down oxford he was wearing, the Sperrys on his feet, the Ray Bans poking out of his pocket...he'd never do this without me. Stella was staring at me and I knew she could tell what I was thinking. "He needs you Abbi."

Thanks to Jose Cuervo and a serious lack of judgement, I finally agreed.

As we walked up to Rosaline, a rusted black jalopy pulled up to the edge of the lawn. Rosaline turned to us, "That's him. Go wait for me in the smoke room."

"The Smoke Room" was just some girl's dorm room where people were always smoking something--cigarettes, pot, crack. Seriously, the girl had no boundaries. Tentatively, Stanley and I headed to the room. My college was pretty small, so I knew the owner of the smoke room, but I worried about the implications of entering such a laissez faire environment.

Inside of the room, people were sitting everywhere. A few were smoking cigarettes, but no one was talking much. We all sat awkwardly for about five minutes before Rosaline joined us. Immediately, the room came together like a well-oiled machine: three water pipes appeared out of thin air. In no time, they were packed and lit and beginning to circle the room.

Stanley sat directly across from me. We each received pipes at the same time and looked at each other cautiously as we took our hits. Something felt weird, but I didn't say anything: I hate smoking mary. I'd only done it a few times before and never using a pipe. I sat and took the room in, which was becoming increasingly more difficult as the people within the room breathed think pale clouds of smoke into the air.

When the pipe reached me a second time, I knew something felt wrong. I looked over to Stanley and he caught my eye before motioning to the door, "I think we should leave here. Now."

Like sixteen year olds with handles of SoCo at a busted house party, we bolted. "That was crazy!" Stanley said.

"I know." We walked over to the lawn, to find Stella still smoking on a bench.

"Done already?" She raised an eyebrow as Stanley slid onto the seat next to her.

"Something was off with the mary," he told her. "Right?" he looked to me.

"Right." I breathed. Suddenly, I did not feel so well. "I'm going to go find a beer." I said, trying to save face as I began looking for a dark corner to get sick in.


When I came to, I realized that I was in the back of the senior dorms. I'd snuggled into the brick wall and artificial scratches all over my arms and back. I couldn't remember how I got there from the bench with Stanley and Stella, but I was sure that if I moved even an inch, I would die.

I heard music coming from the dormitory above me. Inside, girls were still drinking and smoking and partying as the night wore on. This is where I began hallucinating. 

I wiggled deeper into the earth and held my breath, sure that if someone in the dorms found me outside, they would turn me in to the police. As I listened to my breathing, it occurred to me that the ground I was laying on was on a slight incline. I became terrified that the hill was actually a giant mountain and I was going to roll down it into the street below. In my confused state, I was convinced that I was going to roll into the street and break my arms. Then someone would call the paramedics and they would call my parents. My parents would show up at the hospital and say, "Abernathy, we are so disappointed in you!"

Then they would kill me.

American Gothic by Grant Wood

I began crying and digging into the ground, literally clawing into the dirt for fear that I would roll down this "mountain." Eventually, I passed out.


I woke up and realized that I was beyond drunk and high. I was genuinely fucked up. Making my first intelligent decision of the entire evening, I left my hiding spot on the ground and stumbled to the back door of the senior dormitory. Luckily, a friend of mine walking through the hallway saw me standing awkwardly outside and let me in.

"Are you alright?" She asked.

"I don't know!" I started crying again. "I don't want to break my arms on the mountain!"

"Alright, Abernathy. I'm walking you home." This was A Big Deal. My dormitory was at most a hundred feet from the senior dorms. I knew then that I looked just as fucked up as I felt.

via halfgodboy

My friend walked me back to my room, where I found my friends sitting around talking. I didn't even acknowledge them as I peeled off my jeans and t-shirt and crawled into my bed.

One of the girls asked if I was going to get sick.

"Probably," I told her. "I'm pretty sure I'm dying. I'll miss you."


When I woke up in the morning, there were twigs, clods of dirt, and leaves in my hair, under my fingernails and in every inch of my bed. I felt so sick I didn't eat again for two days.

It was easily the worst hangover of my entire life.


Okay, so what was The Point? I found 5. Additional points can be submitted in the comments!

The Points
1. Do not ingest anything given to you by strangers.
2. If you hate smoking mary, DO NOT SMOKE MARY.
3. The party gods will punish cockiness.
4. If you are going to be that idiot taking random drugs, enlist a friend to play babysitter.
5. Learning to say "no" to your friends is the greatest gift you can ever give to yourself.

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