Saturday, September 8, 2007

Freshman Fifty . . .

I took a walk down memory lane today with my friend Casey. We took a drive down to my alma mater, Quinnipiac University where I tried to buy a sweatshirt for Ava (the book store was closed, shocker). After we visited the campus, we had lunch at my FAVORITE place when I was in college, Side Street Grille.

I had another one of those "Ah-HAH" moments while I was thumbing through the menu for something to eat. The regular basket of popcorn sat on the table, the beer Casey ordered had been delivered and I remembered that, once upon a time, I didn't need to stinkin' menu at Side Street. Beer. Two of them. Wings. Lots of them. Popcorn. Keep it coming, hun! As I waited for my cup of chili, I remembered all the other places that we used to go eat in college.

There was La-La-LOOTzy, where we used to go for our Italian subs (chicken cutlet, double cheese, mayo - LARGE size) and there was Aunt Chilada's, where I would routinely eat the Three Amigos (a large buritto, a chimichanga and an enchilada) for lunch - I once went golfing with some friends at the Sleeping Giant golfcourse next door JUST so I could have lunch and a huge frozen margarita when it the nine-hole walk was over.

Forget the meals at the student cafeteria where I would eat foot long subs and double chicken patties with cheese and french fries and mozzerella sticks and cookies by the DOZEN.

I also won't get too bogged down in the detail that is the amount of booze and beer and late night junk food and happy hour buffet sludge and the snacks from home or the care packages my friends would get, etc. etc. etc.

What really struck me was how I had all but blocked out just how much weight I had gained my freshman year of college and the three years after. I would say I easily gained 50 pounds. Even my closest friends, Bruce, Delenick, TJK and Pezzu were even expressing concern by the end of the school year.

Most kids look forward to going away to college for the freedom that allows for drinking and smoking and hooking up and sleeping in and skipping class and tiptoeing to the edge of trouble. I HONESTLY remember the ONLY freedom that I was immediately aware of was that I could eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.

I guess college is really all about learning and education. My parents often said, and I believe, that it is also about finding and learning yourself. I learned a very valuable lesson early on but didn't pay enough attention to pass the test.

I didn't waste any time lamenting how I had eaten then or that my freshman year of college was likely when I opened Pandora's Eating Box or that I could have, should have and would have done it differently if I could go back.

I just didn't think there was any point in kicking myself now for what I did then.

I did finally learn the lesson though - 13 years later - the chili at Side Street is really, really good - you don't need the popcorn, the beer or the wings to have a nice lunch with a friend.

FASCINATING, in hind sight (smile).

1 comment:

Carrie said...

When you said "I did finally learn the lesson though - 13 years later - the chili at Side Street is really, really good - you don't need the popcorn, the beer or the wings to have a nice lunch with a friend." I think that's a great attitude. Also no sense in, like you said, kicking yourself for what you did (or ate) back then because you made some memories with friends in the process and they're by your side today, chili or no chili! ~ Carrie