April 18, 2007
I'm not going to be that person. You know the one, somebody dies and suddenly the deceased person was their supposed best friend? "Oh my gosh! I can't believe she's gone! She was one of my most special friends all through middle school!" But really, they probably just sat next to each other in Earth Science and happened to be at the same birthday party once. I'm not going to be that person.
My time at Virginia Tech was short, freshman year to be exact. It wasn't the right fit for me. Too far from home, I had no car, and the girls wore cardigan sweater sets and used curling irons every morning before class. This last discovery rocked my world. Curling irons? Before class? I honestly thought that the universe prohibited the use of curling irons unless a person was in a wedding or attending a prom. But college is for learning, right?
I learned that I'm a New Englader at heart, so I transferred to Maine. Maine girls are honestly more likely to braid their armpit hair than they are to use a heated hair appliance. Here's an illustratvie tidbit for ya--one of my roomates got dumped for the female captain of the Woodsman Team who sported a full-back tatoo of a battle ship...can you believe that? I guess the guy had an appreciation for fine art. It's 100% true.
Ahhh, U Maine--take a deep breath and smell the pine trees, the paper mill and the hippies' body odor. Love it. The bulk of my college memories are set in Maine, but a few of my favorites are set in the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains. For example, did you know that I lived in the same dorm as football star Micheal Vick? I have two words to describe that man--Mama's boy. That year I also dated a guy who's last name was Smirnoff, adopted Holiday the Iguana (who is now over four feet long), saw a fantastic Tori Amos concert, purchased my still-favorite sweater, and chucked one circa-1970 exercise bike out of a fifth floor window. I hope you're interested in hearing more about flying bike, because that's where I'm headed with this post.
Somehow, the universe matched up the two worst laundry-doers on the planet and made them college roomates in 1998--Amy and Ali. Eventually our laundry situation got so out of hand that we decided to pay someone to do it all for us. We loaded five laundry bags into the car and drove it to the pay-by-the-pound laundry mat. 81 pounds--totally out of the budget. So we loaded 81 pounds of dirty laundry back into the car and drove to the Salvation Army to buy a new wardrobe--totally not out of the budget.
We walked into the salvo and locked our eyes on a circa-1970's exercise bike. It was very similar to the one pictured above, except in was aqua and had a shiny chrome seat. I can testify to the truth of love an first sight, because it happened to me that day--I loved that bike. So off we went with 81 pounds of dirty laundry, no new clothes and one big-ass exerciser hanging out of the sunroof of a little red Honda.
We rode the hell out of that old thing. Sometimes we would watch VH1 all night on our 13 inch TV and take 10 minute turns on the bike. We didn't need to be gym rats like all of the other girls, we had just what we needed to keep our asses tight and spirits up. Sometime we would cheer each other on, sometimes we would eat oreos while we rode, sometimes we studied. It didn't much matter what we were doing, bike riding was our roomate bonding time.
One night, 2 or 3 months after we bought the bike, we were lying on the bunk beds in our dorm room. I was on the top bunk admiring our homemade artwork on the ceiling, and Ali was lying on the bottom bunk admiring the Amy-shaped divet of the top mattress. I can't recall all of the details, but our conversation went something like this:
Amy-I'm sooo bored.
Ali-I'm more bored than you are.
Amy-Do you want to throw the bike out the window?
Amy-Ali, don't pretend like you don't understand. I asked if you want to throw the bike out the window.
Ali-Yeah, let's do it!
So we opened up the window, dismantled the screen and hurled our beloved bike out the window of 5022 Cochrane Hall. About three seconds later we heard metal hit pavement followed by some very angry cursing. We hung our heads out the window, screamed our apologies to to that innocent bystander and asked him if he was interested in throwing the bike out of our window. He was. Three minutes later there was a knock on our door. It was a very handsome African American male, holding our now very unattractive exercise bike. He was like, "do I just throw it right out here?" We were like "yup." And out it went.
The bike throwing went on all night. If I remember correctly, every single person on the floor took a turn--including the international student from India, the kid in the wheel chair, and both RAs. A lot of participants were drunk, but most were not. The mangled up bike sat in our floor lounge until the end of that year. And occassionally, the resident fifth floor pot-head would attempt to ride it in his weed-induced stupor. Damn that thing was squeeky--but very well built! The aqua exercise bike throwing was nothing more than one giant laugh-your-ass-off fest...college bonding at its finest. Now it's a very trippy, nonsensical memory.
This is exactly how I remember VT. 26,000 dumb-old kids seeking an education and seeking some fun. I hope...I really, really hope that as time goes forward, the aqua and chrome exercise bike will be the first thought to pop into my mind when I hear someone mention Virginia Tech. Today, unfortunately, it's not.