Sunday, May 1, 2011

Course Overload #27: "Milk Quest"

You’d think that a guy would be happy about being wet and naked with a lady he’s never seen before. But when that happened to me last Tuesday, I was anything but pleased. I had just locked myself out of my dorm room after taking a shower with nothing but a towel, my cell phone, and my extemporaneous body fat to protect me. It was kind of like being on Survivor, only there was no money at stake and the chances of me catching and eating a rat were slightly lower.

After a few frantic phone calls, all omitting the trivial fact that I had done something incredibly stupid was stark naked, save for a girly towel, I managed to get a hold of security. Four minutes later, I heard a knock at the door, and my towel and I went to answer it. However, instead of the hardened security man I had envisioned busting down my door with a thunderous kick and firing a hail of bullets through my computer screen to make I was safe from computer viruses, security had instead sent a young woman who, upon seeing my exposed, dripping torso, released a confused yelp and averted her eyes. That’s when she accused me of calling her over on purpose so I could show her “what my momma gave me.” I didn’t bother explaining myself, because I was too busy weeping with an embarrassment that, along with Freddy Krueger and circus clowns, will plague my restless dreams until the day that my therapist decides that I’m normal.

But lo! I know what you’re all thinking. Or at least, what you’re all supposed to be thinking: “Matt is a commuter! That sissy doesn’t have a room on campus!” Well, devoted fan(s), no longer is Matt a lowly commuter… Now he’s a lowly resident! After seven semesters of driving 35 minutes back and forth every day, up hill, both ways, in the snow, I was tired of waking up early, rarely having time to eat, and never being able to find a decent parking spot. But through the magic of whining to my parents, all of that has finally changed! Now I get to take full advantage of resident life, like waking up early, rarely having time to eat, and never being able to find a decent parking spot, all from the comfort of a single, cramped room! Hurrah

Actually, living on campus looked a whole lot easier before I actually did. True, now I don’t have to hunt for a parking spot every morning, but there’s still a whole new set of challenges to deal with now that I’m a resident, like eating. One of the things I was looking forward to the most was being able to come back to my dorm and have a nice snack in between classes, instead of clogging my arteries by ordering French fries with a side of lard at the café every time a class let out early. It seems simple enough, right? Wrong. My first week here, I didn’t have a refrigerator. No refrigerator meant no milk. And no milk meant no cereal. My unopened box of Cocoa Puffs sat atop my dresser, taunting me cruelly from the day I arrived to the time I drifted into an uneasy sleep Friday night.

Morning broke outside my window that Saturday, and I was ready and waiting for it. My eyes popped open and I sat straight up, hitting my head on the top of the bunk bed above me. The night before, my father had shown up unexpectedly bearing a small refrigerator. Now I could finally get some milk! Throwing the covers off my bed, I knew in my heart that I was going to have my Cocoa Puffs that very morning, or die trying. Or I'd wind up waiting until lunch. Whatever.

I’ve never been on campus that early on a Saturday morning, so I had no idea that neither the campus store nor the café are open on weekends. Of course I discovered that the hard way, trudging both places through the approximately 12 foot tall snow drifts that had piled up the Saturday before.

Predictably, my milk-hating car had died earlier in the week, so there was no way I could simply go to Price Chopper for the beverage I so craved. Egad! Was I to be without my life-sustaining Cocoa Puffs for the rest of the weekend!? Of course not! It takes more than sub-zero weather, epic mounds of snow, and no transportation to stop me! I know I could have easily used a substitute liquid, like vodka, on my cereal, but never would I fold in my quest for milk!

Although I had already been in the bitter, student-killing cold for nearly 16 hours, desperately searching the campus for an outlet for my milky madness, I struck out towards the Sunoco station down the street. My ears were so numb I feared that merely touching them might break them off like icicles. Yet I continued on, almost getting mowed down by crazy, anti-milk motorists whose sole purposes in life is to prevent me from having breakfast. At last, after having to tunnel though a pile of snow nearly the size of the Great Wall of China with my bare hands, I emerged in front of the magical gas station! I hauled my gallon sized prize out of the gigantic refrigerator and rushed it to the indifferent cashier. “Sweet, sweet lactose!” I exclaimed, charging out of the mini-mart. I could feel exhaustion nipping at my heels, but maybe I could make it back to my dorm before I collapsed!

A horn honked, and as I looked up yell at whoever was trying to run over me that time, I saw my friend Michelle waiting at a nearby stop light! I was saved! The milk cradled under my arm like a child, I dashed towards the waiting vehicle. Michelle waved at me and grinned angelically.

Then the light changed and she sped away. I think I began screaming, but I couldn’t hear anything though the ice in my ears. Everything went dark, and I felt my fingers go numb, although I maintained my vice grip on the milk. The last thing I remember was hearing an ambulance siren in the distance, praying it was for me, and not being surprised as it sped right past my fallen body. “Sirens are so romantic,” I thought to myself. Then I slipped into a coma.

When I finally woke up, it was 11 p.m. As I lay dying, my milk had frozen into a horrifying block of condensed cream. There would be no cereal for me that night. I would have cried if all the water molecules in my body hadn’t frozen solid.

*    *    *

So, as I stood dripping wet in my towel, occasionally ducking into the bathroom to avoid questioning eyes, I realized that everyone has their own set of problems. I’ve been on both sides of the coin, and I know that commuters have a horrible time finding a parking spot and are often left out of college activates, and residents constantly have to battle the lack of decent food and accidentally locking themselves out of their rooms. But what bonds us together, what makes us all unified students of the same college, is our mutual love of cereal. Indeed, we are all coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs in our own, special way, so let us never forget our glorious shared heritage.

So, the next time you lock yourself out of your room, walk right down to the café and have yourself a big bowl of cereal. Unless it’s the weekend. Then you’re screwed.

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