PEOPLE ALWAYS TALK ABOUT COLLEGE LIKE THERE'S NO
opportunity to elongate the experience. I was always told, “Townes, college will be the best four years of your life,” but the truth is that anyone who graduates from college on time is a moron. I have a cousin who graduated magna cum laude from Vanderbilt in three years. She probably had sober sex, snuck around her dorm's musty hallways a few times—giggling past curfew—and made dean's list all six pathetically short semesters spent almost entirely in the library. Congratulations? Every Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas I remind her she's a GDI failure in my eyes. As you know by now, I made sure to take full advantage of every second I earned on campus, leaving a trail of destruction in my wake.
Each memory I've shared with you is precious to me, but none more than Alpha's formal during my first senior year. Even if you decide five, six, or eight years of undergraduate studies are necessary to absorb a suitable dosage of the college experience, you still only get four spring formals (assuming you pledge your first semester like a fucking man). For the third consecutive year we voted New Orleans as our destination, so we were all familiar with the morally corrupt city with
which we were dealing. The mind has to be in a disturbed place to handle the shit that occurs in that town, and normal livers can't handle the amount of alcohol we forced ours to absorb during our stay. So I spent weeks preparing myself mentally (by skipping class) and physically (by drinking, fucking, hazing, and playing golf as often as possible).
When it comes to formal, the bus ride ends up being almost half the fun. The nine-hour pilgrimage is nearly as dangerous as Bourbon Street itself, and the seniors' bus is indisputably the most volatile, because for us (the old balls) this is the last hurrah, and we just don't give a fuck. During this final voyage the goal is to shatter any remnants of your moral compass and come out of the three-day fog with as many inappropriate stories as possible. All the while it's important to keep your date's level of respect for you, or her BAC, high enough that she'll still let you drunkenly pound her privates. Otherwise, you'll end up trolling the hallways of the hotel for randoms, or worse.
Our caravan of charter buses planned to leave at 8 a.m. on Friday to ensure a suitable arrival time in the Big Easy. Some people had Friday class, but showing up wasn't even an option. Weeks ahead of time, Nate and I arranged to take two freshman girls from different sororities as our dates. We figured their unfamiliarity with each other would give them an opportunity to discuss The Bachelorette and how much they adore Diet Coke. Apparently I had met my date, and invited her to formal, at a bar on a Tuesday night the week before. None of which I remembered. The following day I received a text from a contact I had saved as “9”:
3:13 p.m.: OMG totes excited about New Orleans! It's gonna be the best weekend ever k call me soon Townes!!!!!!!!!
It took me an hour or so to figure out who she was, but when I did, I wasn't disappointed. Her name was Katie Groom, and yes, she was stacked. The number 9 must've been my drunken assessment of her good looks. We picked up Katie from the Omega house and Nate's date from Kappa, and then made our way to the frat castle. It was early and I was battling a hangover, so it wasn't until boarding the bus that I realized these two rookie slams were both wearing sundresses appropriate for a day at the racetrack. They were completely oblivious to the level of filthiness about to take place during the drive.
The drinking started immediately. Coolers were packed in the far back of the bus and spread throughout the aisles. Katie had stuffed mine with a case of Keystone, a bottle of Woodford Reserve, and a box of wine for herself. The backpacks stored in the overhead compartments were crammed full of tobacco products, snacks, and miscellaneous drugs. The instant the driver fired up the diesel engine, Turbo downed a beer bong filled with whiskey. By 10 a.m. he'd be an unstoppable force of destruction, full-sprinting in the opposite direction of the finish line that should've been his date's vagina. As we pulled out of the parking lot the movie Top Gun began on the TV screens, and Monte started a roaring “USA! USA! USA!” chant, inaugurating the trip. Some sorostitutes who thought they'd be able to get some sleep were caught off guard by the swift start of binge drinking and obnoxious patriotic noisemaking. They reluctantly joined in to avoid standing out like heteros at a gay pride parade.
One of the more entertaining aspects of the trip was observing the interactions of sorority girls suddenly thrown into a frenzied situation together. The spirit of camaraderie between brothers was at an all-time high. Testosterone was flowing as
high fives were exchanged, and beers were being shotgunned on every aisle. Contrarily, the awkward disdain that the grab bag of random dates pretend not to have for each other was also at an all-time high. Miraculously, two girls who normally wouldn't acknowledge one another's existence conversed when forced to sit a few feet from each other. I'm no zoologist, but I'm pretty sure this is what it's like when two lesbian pandas scissor each other after being caged in captivity for an extended period of time. The tension was eased with the nonstop flow of Franzia box wine, and slowly these girls found they might not be so different after all; some just prefer Lilly Pulitzer to Vera Bradley. Regardless, they had no choice but to become allies if they wished to survive the days ahead, both socially and physically. What else were they going to do? Their dates were too busy drunkenly reminiscing on pledgeship and form-tackling each other.
Two hours in, someone toward the front of the bus broke out weed brownies and Adderall, then passed them around to the casual drug users surrounding him. Not only was everyone already buzzed on whatever booze they'd decided to start the morning with, but thirty minutes later several passengers were so high that they struggled to sit still, wide-eyed and grinding their teeth. As I polished off my seventh beer, I asked Katie if she wanted either of the aforementioned substances. She quickly shook her head as she looked at me like a terrified puppy during a violent thunderstorm.
“No! I mean . . . no thanks. I'm good with my wine!”
“That's fine. Just being a gentleman,” I responded as I put my arm around her and gave a reassuring everything-is-going-to-be-okay squeeze.
I don't know how much we paid the Greyhound bus drivers,
because I wasn't the fucking treasurer, but it wasn't enough. It seems to me that hauling our hedonistic asses to NOLA would be far more entertaining than driving a bus full of near-death stiffs to an Indian casino, but for whatever reason they didn't appreciate having beer funneled onto their heads while they drove down the interstate in the early morning. The poor guy had already gotten on the loudspeaker twice and respectfully asked that we “calm down a bit.” We responded to his request with a chorus of boos, and Turbo shouted, “DO YOUR FUCKING JOB, PEASANT!”
By noon, things really started to get out of hand. The line for the bathroom on the bus was unacceptable, so Nate made his date into a human curtain so he could piss into a bottle already half filled with dip spit. Everyone was entirely too fucked up, and the drivers pulled over in the middle of nowhere to gas up and give people a chance to grab some fresh air. This was every gas station's bad wet dream: three buses of drunken lunatics descending onto their property, knocking over aisles of chips and gum and blowing hundreds of dollars on pork rinds and sexual lubricant. They had a rack of American flag bandanas. It was gone. They had fifty packs of Marlboro Lights. They vanished. A few of the couples didn't exit the bus, but awkwardly remained under blankets trying to play off the fact that they were participating in dry handjobbing and finger blasting. Everyone else chain-smoked cigarettes outside, and raided the gas station for munchies, more nicotine, and more alcohol. I stumbled through the store and into the restroom, where I found Turbo blowing chunks all over the wall, laughing hysterically as Monte laughed in the stall next to him.
“Turbo, uh . . . you all right there, chief?”
“Yeah, I'm fine. Why do you ask? BLAHHH [projectile vomit].”
“Well, you're spewing all over the wall. Aim at the fucking toilet, psycho. I'll see you back on board.”
Once everyone was corralled onto their respective buses, the browbeaten driver attempted to do a head count. He gave up, mumbled something under his breath, and stepped on the gas. Back on the road, five hours in, the chaos continued. Most of the guys had drowned themselves and their dates in enough alcohol to initiate sloppy midday makeouts, clumsily fondling each other. Parsells and Rogers were crushing up Adderall and snorting it to stay awake.
Monte and his perpetual girlfriend Sarah were in one of their good phases, so he'd invited her along and had her straddling him in the back row with a blanket wrapped around them. I'm 99 percent certain there was some shameless public penetration going on. As he smiled and gave a double thumbs-up behind her back, I took a picture with Katie's camera, hoping it would be posted on Facebook for at least a couple hours before it got taken down. Others were slowly coming in and out of consciousness as we rolled toward the Sin City of the South.
Pack twenty-five guys with hot dates onto a charter bus filled with as much alcohol as it can hold, tell them they're about to have the time of their lives getting blackout drunk in another city, and then crank up the tunes and let the good times roll. That's the vibe on one of these buses, and it makes for some damn good TFMs...
The only time you'll find me on a bus is on the way to formal. TFM.
Making charter bus drivers wish they'd chosen a different profession. TFM.
Pissing out the bus window at 70 mph. TFM.
Talking shit to the driver because he hit a pothole during your kegstand. TFM.
Using your blazer as a blanket to turn an OTPHJ into a good old fashioned on the bus. TFM.
The collective “aahhh” at the charter bus piss stop. TFM.
Never getting back the security deposit for the bus. TFM.
On a road trip, we don't “visit” places. We pillage and destroy. We're basically just really well dressed Vikings. TFM.