As a mighty sophomore I thought I had outgrown the routine three questions (name, college, hometown), but they had merely been replaced by one equally stimulating question: “How was your summer?” That question is also a cover-up for someone’s forgotten name, as in “Hey? (pause of confusion) How was your summer?”
If people had asked me last year, I would have regaled them with exciting tales of my employment-free summer filled with raging parties, sunny beaches and endless nights. Oh, what a difference a year makes.
Though I was aiming for a “slamming,” “unforgettable” or even “youthfully indiscrete” summer, I got a restful, substance-free, “healthy” summer.
When I first returned home, tired from studying (and last-minute partying that needed to be done), I slept, camped-out in front of the television to watch “new to me” reruns and did my three daily crossword puzzles. Unfortunately, the summer never picked up from its geriatric start because of dreaded summer work.
Although I found work very “fulfilling” (the occupational equivalent of “healthy”), waking up at 6:15 every morning put a damper on my nightlife. Self-described “grandmas,” my work-plagued friends and I could barely stay up past our self-imposed curfews of 10 p.m. I could not find the motivation to get dressed for a second time in the same day to go clubbing for a few exhausting hours, come home, lather, rinse and repeat the whole assembly process for work in a couple hours.
Tired from the diurnally draining week, I lived vicariously through “Friends” reruns on the weekends. I knew I had reached my low point when my mother forced me to go out and be social.
As my own designated driver, I couldn’t party too hard anyways, though my grandma’s 1994 Toyota Camry was safer than my high school ride: a 1988 Mitsubishi “Hong Kong Getaway” van akin to a brakeless go-cart. With gas prices sky high ($1.90/gallon), I did little “cruising” and stayed within the speed limit … most of the time.
The riskiest thing I did this summer was to introduce my mother to the sweet pleasures of clove cigarettes. Though my mom had a ball, the very fact that she was present nullified the youthful indiscretion factor for me. But even my foray into quality-time smoking was stunted when I found out my lung age was 66 years old! Although I do have concerns about the accuracy of the breath test, an error of 4.5 decades is way outside the plus or minus three percent margin.
It must have been all those nights second-handing in hazy Naples (visibility: five feet) or other fresh air-challenged hangout.
What did I do with all my extra time between crosswords? I worked out pretty consistently, although I hardly made a dent in the freshman 15. I went surfing a few times to remind myself that I’m not a surfer and to be able to honestly answer “sometimes” when asked whether I surfed this summer. I would rent a surfboard like the hundreds of pasty tourists and get eaten alive by the humongous (described by my friend as “small and nonexistent”) waves.
But other than those few fiascos in the water, most of the daylight hours were spent slaving away at work, meticulously planning my bathroom breaks. So after four months, I hardly have a tan to show off to those from less tropical areaske up for lost time.
Nicole Lim is a sophomore in Berkeley College.