There’s an old saying that “you can’t go back home,” or something along those lines. After being back in the city I grew up in for a couple of months, I find myself agreeing with this statement on many levels. I won’t bore you with things like the boredom of the suburbs, but suffice it to say, “home” is a place I have moved on from.
So, I can’t go back home. But can I go back to college?
This year marks my 10 year college anniversary. Now, I’m not gonna get into the whole “holy shit, it’s been 10 years since I graduated college!” thing. Well, maybe just once. HOLY SHIT!!! It’s been 10 YEARS since I graduated college!!! I’m getting old, fat and bald!!
Ok, that’s out of my system.
I ask this question because a couple of weeks ago, Kim and I met friends that we met in college back in our college town to celebrate this milestone. We rented a cabin that had a hot tub, pool table, a gigantic porch that allowed us to play cornhole and can-jam while it rained, and enough bedrooms that allowed us all to sleep in beds and not on couches (this really marks the end of an era).
We had a great weekend of drinking too much, bon fires, eye-watering laughs, and drinking some more. I got to get to know my friends’ partners, talk about important things like starting quarterbacks, and bore people with my Sasquatch theories.
But more than anything else, we had a good time – a good time that you can only have with old friends. Not old as in I’m-getting-old-fat-and-bald-old, but old as in known each other for a long time.
We went into Athens, the home of the mighty Ohio University Bobcats, and bar-hopped our way down memory lane. Some things have changed, like our old favorite happy-hour bar closing down, but it still mostly looks like what I remember. But then again, I have changed too – I actually ate a full meal before going out for a night a drinking, not just ramen noodles.
We did a scaled-down version of our typical Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night shuffle, hitting up our old favorite haunts like Lucky’s and Pawpurrs. Even though most of the bars had changed somewhat, they still felt the same to me. Granted, I couldn’t really tell you how things used to feel a decade ago other than “drunk” and “happy”, but I knew the feeling when it hit me.
We ended our night at Tony’s, everyone’s favorite bar (where everybody calls you names!). Gone are the days of cigarette smoke so thick that you can barely see the person sitting across the table from you. And gone is the bartender, who always had a cigarette in his mouth and never spoke to anyone, just pointed at them to get their drink order. But Tony’s was just as I remembered it, wooden tables covered in graffiti, baseball playing on the old TV behind the bar, and lots of hot nuts.
It was a fantastic weekend that went by way too fast. As much as I would have loved a couple more nights with my friends and their stories about their lives, I don’t know how well my liver would have handled it.
So, maybe I can’t go back to college – yes, I’m too old, fat, and bald for that life again. But meeting up with friends, having a great time, and going to old college bars? I’ll always be ready for that.