I was sipping my jack and ginger, looking around the room, and listening to the myriad of conversations going on. It’d been a long time since I’d been in a room with so many Cornell people. Had someone not sent me an email that said “Open Bar from 6-7″ in the subject line, the time since I was surrounded by fellow alumni would have extended further. I was taking another sip when some 5’7 slick-haired white dude in a suit with no tie bumped my elbow and nearly caused me to spill my drink and unleash my inner black. He raised his hand to the bartender. “Let me get 3 vodka tonics for the ladies and a Stella for myself.” He felt self-important. He was probably a trader or some sh*t. I was laughing inside because this was an open bar. You’d have thought he was ordering 3 expensive drinks for some models that at night’s end would leave him to go home alone with a pair of dry nuts. He would tell his friends he had sex with all of them.
My boy J was standing nearby. “I can’t believe we went to school with these people,” I said loudly as to not be drowned out by the jappyness and douchery that was so prevalent in the room. “Yeah man. This was Cornell.”
I enjoyed my time in college. It was the best 4 year period I’ve had despite the potholes that were in the road that was my life. I ran track, pledge Omega, and rolled with some of the most known dudes on campus. The parties were great, but the stories the next day were even better — well, for the most part. I remembered when I lived with 8 dudes in a house and how quickly the walls in the living room turned blue from wild parties with intense grinding on the walls. We didn’t get our security deposits back.
I remember living on the first floor right off the living room and how easy it was to pull someone into my air-conditioned oasis. Wet. I remember the chicks that disappeared into rooms, put on shows, then left in the morning like they’d really just been “sleeping.” Yeah right. I also remember the time I got drunk, slept-walked, and woke up in the morning on the 2nd floor next to a bag of trash butt-ass-naked covered by a random blanket. Yeah. That was college. I wouldn’t change a thing in the world about it.
This open bar event reminded me how much of a bubble I lived in even though I was active in the community. I had forgotten about all the wealthy Long Islanders and the sons and daughters of new and old money that went there. The douches in khaki shorts in winter turned out to be the douches in suits on Wall Street in the spring. J and I were amongst the few Black people there. And just like college, we were all standing in our own little groups resembling the cliques that are as much a part of college as sleeping next to someone in a double-sized bed.
What if I went to a party school, another ivy, or an HBCU? What type of person would I be today? By the time time I started asking myself these questions, I was on my third drink. 3 jack and gingers in 30 minutes probably wasn’t the best idea, but with the open bar deadline looming I didn’t have much of a choice. And with the tingle starting to take over, I didn’t feel like thinking deeply anymore.
“Yo J, you ready to be out?”
“Yeah, let’s roll.”
It was just like we were leaving another white frat party when the beer ran out. I went home and ate some pizza. Yeah, it was just like college.