I don’t know why, but I had a dream last night about my college Spring break. It was a time I hadn’t thought about in a long, long time. I was at Rider College in Lawrenceville, New Jersey studying journalism. My goal was to be the next great investigative reporter – you know – the next Woodward and Bernstein. I was in my dorm room in Switlick C (I know, it’s a strange name for a dorm) when my room mate, Weazer asked if I wanted to join him, Space, and Breeze on a road trip to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. By the way, their real names were Dave, Jim and Paul. I think the real reason they asked my to go was because they didn’t have a car to drive down and I did. But that didn’t matter, I quickly agreed and off we went.
That was the amount of planning.
We jumped in my car with a backpack full of clothes, virtually no money, no plans, no hotel reservation or place to stay. We just assumed we’d figure it out on the way down.
And we had the time of our life.
We drove all night. Decided for some strange reason to stop in Orlando on the way and spend a day in Disney World. The only reason I remember stopping in I have a photograph of Space standing in from of the Space Mountain sign. He has this shit eating grin on his face. I’m pretty sure he was drunk. I seem to remember that we knew someone at a college in Florida – and we crashed in their dorm for a night. Had a fairly late party, and decided in a drunken state to go visit Mickey Mouse. I’m sure at some point in the night it seemed like a good idea.
Next day, off to Fort Lauderdale. We somehow found a place to stay. I think we crashed with other guys from our college, because I seem to remember we had seven of us in one room. We stayed for a few days. Went to a few bars. Met a few people. And then we decided Fort Lauderdale was lame.
So all seven of us packed up our two cars and drove further south to Key West. Again, no plans, no reservations, no hotel. Just seven guys. Two cars. And a few six packs of beer.
By the way – you’ll notice I never mention eating food. From this entire trip, I have no recollection of ever eating. Probably because we didn’t eat. We used all of our available money for beer. But that’s beside the point.
We get to Key West and can’t find a place to stay. Nothing. Everything is booked. So we decide to sleep on the beach. Can’t be too hard to find a place to sleep. Some of us can sleep in the car. Some on the beach. But then a miracle happened. As we’re driving to the beach, we see a beachside shack. Sitting on the porch (and I’m not making this up) are seven local girls drinking beer. They wave at us. We wave back. We head over. Before you know it, we’re drinking their beer, sleeping on their floor, and basically crashing at their shack for the remainder of the trip.
While in Key West, we also ran into another friend from school that had become stranded in the Keys when his group from school left him behind. So he crashed with us. We drove him back. And that was a good thing. He had money for gas. We didn’t. One thing we forgot to figure into our plans was money to buy gas for the return trip.
It’s funny; I often talk about my daughter and how they’ll leave the house with no plans, no money, and no idea where they’re going. And it always works out. Maybe I should let it go – because my Spring break trip proved to me long ago – that some times the best memories are the ones you don’t plan.
Spring break was one of those times.