Six Reasons Why the World Isn’t Going to End in 19 Days

Sure, there have been all kinds of natural disasters, not to mention strange weather patterns in general. (One mild winter in North Dakota last season was awesome, yet terrifying, because it’s so uncharacteristic. This one’s rounding out to be pretty similar.) And even though I might have been a little nervous about it myself when I first heard of the whole “2012” thing a few years ago, I’m now convinced that there’s no way we’ve only got 19 days left. Here are a few reasons why:

1. The Mayans made calendars, not predictions.

Why are we banking predictions of the future on a civilization that couldn’t predict its own demise? Yes, it’s still a mystery and archeologists aren’t sure what necessarily caused it, but it certainly happened quickly. You’d think a big disaster might have been something they could foretell. That is, if they ever claimed to be foretelling anything. Let’s give the Mayans some credit here. They were pretty advanced people. They probably realized that the notion of predicting the future was quackery, themselves.

I couldn't resist.

I couldn’t resist.

So, their calendar happens to end on December 21, 2012. Ours ends on December 31 every year. What if some futuristic space people come to Earth in a thousand years, find one of our old calendars, and assume we predicted the end of the world because of that? As for the 2012 thing, maybe they just got sick of making calendars at that point. Or maybe they were like, “Hey, it’s like, 900 A.D. I think 2012 is more than enough. Let’s take a break. We’ll make more calendars in like 1980.”

Oh, how I love this.

Oh, how I love this.

2. Some are catching on to the fact that Taylor Swift is not necessarily all that and a bag of gluten free popcorn chips. (Trust me, in spite of any “gluten free” connotations, those things are delicious.)

It’s no secret that I’m not necessarily a Swift fan. At first, I thought it was an irrational dislike, but honestly, I just don’t see why everyone flips out and thinks she’s the greatest ever. As far as singing and songwriting, she’s pretty average among her competition. A majority of her songs are pretty much about the same thing – heartbreak, relationships, boys suck, yada yada. They all sound pretty similar. And now she’s not even staying true to her country roots, getting all “popified” with her new album. (Does anyone else think the, “WeeeeEEEEE!” in “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” sounds like a pig call? You know, “Sooooo Weeeee!” Maybe it’s just me.)

She has summoned the pigs!

She has summoned the pigs! (Yay for cute baby animal pictures in this post!)

But I always said jokingly, “If the world ends in 2012, it’ll be because Taylor Swift is some kind of spy and brainwashed the nation into trusting her and thinking she’s perfect.” I guess I just don’t fully buy her squeaky clean image. And my less-than-impressed opinion of her has gotten me yelled at multiple times. Each time, the yellers to try to convince me to love her. Why? If someone isn’t particularly a fan of any other music artist, people generally shrug it off thinking, “Eh, to each his own.”  What makes her so different? So, that’s what’s bothered me about her.

I'm just sayin'...

I’m just sayin’…

And that opinion is starting to grow, much to my surprise. So, there goes that theory. One more point for the world continuing to exist.

Yay!

Yay!

3. Hello, does anyone remember the whole “Rapture” thing?

Yeah, that didn’t happen. Although, it did make for an awesome excuse to have Rapture Parties and to sit around watching horror movies and drinking. December 21 will be an excuse to bring on the even more awesome End of the World Parties!

Plus, it was a great excuse for Shock Top to make this beer that I couldn't resist getting last night. It's pretty good, but I honestly think I really like it because of its clever name.

Plus, it was a great excuse for Shock Top to make this beer that I couldn’t resist getting last night. It’s pretty good, but I honestly think I really like it because of its clever name.

4. We’ve only gotten through the mid-season finale of the Walking Dead. Every episode’s enough of a cliffhanger as it is. There’s no way we can hold out that long.

Well, we actually haven’t even made it that far yet, but in approximately six hours we will. I’m going to have a hard enough time waiting until whenever it starts up again; I really don’t need an apocalypse screwing it up. However, if zombies were to be involved, at least I would have learned some great survival techniques.

Lori made the zombie apocalypse so much worse than it had to be.

Lori made the zombie apocalypse so much worse than it had to be.

5. I finally bought an iPhone. I better get more than 2 weeks to use it.
My Android phone spazzed out on me late last spring, so I got frustrated, went off the deep end, and downgraded to a dumbphone. It was nice to get away from paying for a data plan for a while, but this phone is even crappier than the phone I had in high school. I can only take teeny baby pictures on my teeny baby screen. I can’t take videos. It doesn’t like to send texts all the time, and it definitely doesn’t like to let me know when I’ve received one. So, a shiny, white iPhone 5 has become my Christmas present from me to me. It’s currently hurtling toward me and should be here by Wednesday, leaving me about 16 days with an iPhone if those who believe the end is near are right after all.

Hawt.

Hawt. My dumbphone.

6. This morning, I drank coffee with creamer that expired in September. If I made it through that, I can make it through anything.
I know this doesn’t help the rest of the world have any hope, but I’m feeling particularly resilient for living through that. I made it through half the cup of coffee before I decided that something was really wrong, and those chunks floating in it probably weren’t just undissolved sweetener. So, if living through drinking curdled coffee creamer adds any credibility to my End of the World Survival resume, let’s slap it on there.

Me, reading the expiration date.

Me, reading the expiration date.

But in all seriousness, I am kind of interested in these apocalypse theories, no matter how whacked out they might seem, and I like the idea that this whole December 21 thing isn’t an apocalypse, but an ending of one cycle and the beginning of a new one, as cheesy as it sounds.

But, hey, if you’ve been stockpiling food and alcohol for bartering, like a lot of the Doomsday Preppers I’ve seen on TV, that won’t mean it was all for nothing. It’ll just make your End of the World Party that much more awesome!

2012_end_of_the_world_party_invitation-p161584299638290495en75o_325

Where is the love? Right here!

I heard about this on Sunday, but there was really no outside information to pass on besides the fact itself. I guess there still really isn’t much. But maybe for the four or five readers who’ve stuck around ( 😉 ) and aren’t from North Dakota (hence, don’t know me personally), this is new to them.

In any case, it’s worth writing about because it’s nice. And I like nice things and nice people. Mean people suck.

But this makes me happy that not everyone sucks. Allow me to cut to the chase: Minot, ND, a central North Dakotan city I would call decent-sized but you non-North Dakotans might consider minuscule, is still picking up the pieces from the disastrous flood they battled earlier this summer. Over 10,000 residents were forced to evacuate in late June. The start of the school year has been delayed, the North Dakota State Fair, the state’s biggest annual event, was canceled, and the cost of the flood is estimated somewhere around $1 billion.

This one’s a tear-jerker. “Fix You” is enough to start the waterworks for me, but a weekend trip to Minot was always one of my biggest treats growing up. It’s sad to see a place you’re so familiar with suffering.

Josh Duhamel — hunky actor, married to Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas, you may know him from Las Vegas, the TV show, and movies like Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!, When in Rome, the Transformers series, Ramona and Beezus — is from Minot. Pretty sure I would have dropped over dead if I’d ever seen him walking around the mall there.

Prowling the halls of the Dakota Square Mall? Maybe.

He’s been backing his hometown from day one, just like a true North Dakota boy. So, he got the Black Eyed Peas to set up a special concert benefitting the flood fight that’ll be held in Minot on September 3. Awww, *swoon.*


Tickets will go on sale August 12 for $100 a piece, and full information should be available at this site: www.minotrising.com. (Only it’s super faily and just says “Coming soon…” for now. That was the only source they provided when the news first broke. I had to laugh a little.)

Still, I’m glad they’re spreading the love, following the cry from “Where is the Love?,” one of their first hits. (I oftentimes forget that song exists, but I’m glad when I remember because I think it’s my favorite of their songs.)

Oh, and speaking of Duhamel being a North Dakota boy, this is a perfect opportunity to plug this little video, which went semi-viral last summer, but really just never gets old. It’s also where I got the name for my Wild Wild Williston posts.

Some things are better left unexplained.

Well, hello blog. It’s been a few days. Here are some tidbits that are just vague enough to either be confusing and unrelatable, or universally understood. You decide. Sometimes my inner beeyotch just has to come out, but never to who needs to hear it. I just smile and bend over backward. Eventually, it has to come out, and usually in this form … only, usually, not publically.

  • Passive-aggressiveness should not be allowed in the workplace.

  • Putting in one’s two weeks notice means, “I will no longer be employed at your establishment after two weeks.” Not, “Sure, I’ll pick up extra hours because you’ve continued to put me on the schedule two weeks after my two weeks notice.”
  • What is this “fluff” criticism crap? I like fluff. It’s a welcome distraction from how much people can suck. Fluff is not here to harm, it’s here to make people happy. Maybe everyone could use some more fluff.
  • Some people just never get the hint.

  • I’m sacrificing what small semblance of a life I’m currently grasping on to, is there anything else I can do for you? (The answer is always yes. I’ve learned the hard way to stop phrasing this in the form of a question … which goes into effect after this morning, when I did phrase it in the form of a question.)

  • Hot coffee, when given the chance, will always spill. Same with most other liquids. This also applies metaphorically.
  • On a related note, don’t leave that hot coffee alone too long. It gets cold really fast. That can be metaphorical, too, if you want it to.

  • Jack Johnson was mostly right. “Maybe” always means “no.” Same with a lack of response. It sucks to be on the receiving end, but, as mentioned earlier, other people need to also learn to take the hint.
  • People will generally make stupid, unwarranted, uninformed comments on most things you post online. YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW.
  • There’s never such a thing as too much time. Or too much money. And, unfortunately, the two are not friends.

  • I wish I had nothing better to do than sit around in coffee shops being pretentious.
  • There’s only so much one can do before they reach the point of *metaphorical brain explosion*. This is characterized by silence, glazed over eyes, and extreme lack of motivation. This person requires a recovery period, or more caffeine.

I only wish a kitty was the source of my brain explosions.

  • A teeny bit of consideration can go a long way.
  • Those people who never get the hint? They’ll really rub it in your face that they don’t get the hint. It’s karma’s way of punishing you for not just spouting off to them. I’m currently suffering a terrible punishment.

  • Haters gon’ hate. Control freaks gon’ control. And the rest of us just have to deal with them apparently. I deal by writing long, bitchy e-mails to said Control Freak and then never sending them. Passive aggressive? Kinda. Therapeutic? Absolutely.
  • Just because someone isn’t working for you at the moment doesn’t mean they’re just sitting on their ass in a beanbag in front of the TV eating bon bons and getting fatter. Don’t assume they’re not working somewhere else.

  • Instructors of online classes should still make an effort to be a fricking teacher. You know, answering voicemails, e-mails, grading assignments before the last week of class …
  • It’s dangerous to bank on it not raining.

  • Don’t pass up an awesome deal because you assume it’ll still be there when you have more wiggle room in your wallet to buy it. When the time comes, the price goes.
  • Can I take back all the hours I never took naps as a child and use them now?
  • Weekends are never long enough.
  • Anxiety is more often used for evil than good.

  • There’s a fine line between pointing out errors in work to be helpful and being completely obnoxious.
  • Wow … and your computer will always short-circuit, displaying a huge error message that basically says, “You’re screwed” every time you’re in the middle of something important. Every. Time.

If I had a little more energy, I could have probably cleverly weaved these bullet points into a crafty little post. But I don’t, so this is what you get.

Come on over! We’ve got Kegs!

I’m a self-proclaimed foodie. Some people might call me a fatty. Either way, I enjoy food, and I’m not ashamed. When I had cable, my TV was on Food Network at least 80% of the time because I find it interesting, and because it’s relaxing background noise for doing homework. Now, I have to resort to planning my workouts around my TV schedule, and end up being “that girl” who’s watching Food Network while she’s running on the treadmill.

I can't believe I actually found this picture. That's me. Only I'm not tan or brunette.

If you watch Food Network semi-regularly, you’ve probably seen a pretty popular show called “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.” It’s one of my favorite shows on the channel, along with “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” That’s probably because these shows pick out awesome little restaurants around the country and feature them for making fantastic food. I’ll totally stop at restaurants featured on the shows if I’m ever near any of them on vacation. (North Dakota doesn’t really get a whole lot of airtime.)

In fact, I would make a road trip out of it to go to some of the nearby places. It’s nothing to me — In high school, we used to drive 45 minutes to get a Whirl-a-Whip in Stanley, ND. (It’s kind of like a Blizzard from Dairy Queen, but known around the state.)

This is an image from Stanley, ND's, website. The Whirl-a-Whip is their claim to fame.

Although North Dakota (specifically, Grand Forks, ND — since that’s where I’m currently living) has never been featured on one of those Food Network shows, we’re home to some spots that are definitely worthy of some airtime. I finally visited one for the first time today, after a lot of curiosity and recommendations.

“Have you gone to Kegs yet?” my parents often asked me. I’d always do the mental head-slap, wondering why I didn’t think of it last time Chris and I were sitting around playing the “I dunno — What do you want to eat?” “I don’t care. What do you feel like?” game.

This is actually a website. The F-word makes it somehow more funny and entertaining than your average recipe website: http://whatthefuckshouldimakefordinner.com/

My dad often told me how he was a regular at Kegs when he was a student at the University of North Dakota, grabbing a monster burger or some onion rings on his way to work. The student-friendly prices haven’t changed. A huge, homemade cheeseburger was around $2.

I probably forgot about Kegs because it’s tucked in the middle of town. It’s plopped right in the middle of a residential neighborhood. Kegs definitely takes you by surprise a little when you first approach it. Aside from being a little dilapidated on the exterior, you can’t deny that it’s got a curiosity-sparking gravitational pull.

The Kegs Drive In at three on a Monday afternoon.

When my family and I pulled up, we were the only car in the lot. It’s a true old-fashioned, 1950s drive-in. You press the button on the menu when you’re ready to order, and the waitress brings you your food on a tray. It first opened in the 1930s, as part of a local seven-restaurant chain. This Kegs is the last one that remains.

The Kegs Menu

We were a little unsure it was still open until we saw a fluorescent-shirted worker passing behind the counter inside. We discovered she was pretty disgruntled, to say the least, but I think it added to the whole experience. Besides, the food is worth it.

They’re known for their sloppy joes — That’s what I had. I didn’t think you could really do much with a sloppy joe recipe, but there was definitely just something better about it. They’re also known for their root beer, as you can probably tell by their signature keg-architecture, but they have a whole slew of beverage choices, like homemade vanilla, lime, and cherry Coke and even a chocolate Coke, which I might have to try next time.

Their burgers and onion rings were perfection, too. I had a bite of my dad’s and will definitely be trying that next time. As my brother said, it tasted like 1953. And in the best possible way. There’s just something about a really great cheeseburger that makes everything seem right in the world. Or maybe that’s just me and my foodie-fattiness.

Not long after we arrived, Kegs quickly filled up with cars full of people young and old. Battle Axe Waitress and her younger counterpart remained efficient, although Battle Axe also remained pretty crabby.

There’s just something about places like Kegs — They’ve been around forever because they’ve been doing things right. Grand Forks, like any city, is rich with tradition, but a lot of those traditions stem from the University and its hockey team.

Kegs is a place that hangs onto a tradition of its own.

“You never know. This could be the last time we eat here. They’ll probably tear it down by the time we get back to Grand Forks,” my parents were saying, acknowledging they’d said the same things 20 years ago when they were in school.

I’ve got a feeling Kegs isn’t going anywhere.

GTL: As long as the “T” stands for “Translucent”

I’m a natural blonde. I’ve never been a redhead (except the one and only time I became a brunette just out of curiosity and my hair kind of started turning auburn). You wouldn’t be able to tell by how prone I am to sunburn, though. I’ve got just enough Norwegian in me that I can’t quite enjoy the sun.

Contrary to popular belief, North Dakota does get warm for a few months. It’s an extreme climate. In fact, I had a Facebook status a few weeks ago that I think summed it up perfectly: “North Dakota: One of the only places on earth where you can experience what both 111 degrees and -50 degrees feels like.” I’m not exaggerating. We’ve been battling a heat wave that just recently let up enough for us to enjoy some time outside.

Sigh -- Apparently it's impossible to find the weather from a few days ago. I would have taken a screen shot, but it just disappeared.

But even on those rare days when it’s 75 or 80, breezy, and the mosquitoes actually aren’t gnawing at any bit of exposed flesh they can find, I can’t win. I had a coffee on the patio at Starbucks with Chris one afternoon for 25 minutes tops. I was under an umbrella in the shade. My shoulders still gleamed red afterward. So much so that mere acquaintances winced at them in empathetic pain and suggested aloe vera.

It pains me to even post this. It's so unflattering. This was the result of being fresh out of chilly ND and into Virginia summer heat. Sunburn doesn't usually show up well in pictures that aren't intentionally documenting it. Also, excuse the lack of makeup on my end.

I think it’s just North Dakota. I think being confined indoors, seeking shelter from blizzards and frostbite nine or more months out of the year, deteriorates whatever endurance you may have had for the sun.

In fact, I have evidence of this.

Chris’s background is Italian. When my grandma saw a picture of him she commented, “Oh, he’s so dark!” For North Dakota, yes. His so-brown-it’s-almost-black hair and golden skin sticks out a little against all of the blonde-haired, blue-eyed Norwegians here. And, I admit, he’s naturally several shades darker than my general hue of purple. (My translucent skin usually gives way to my blood vessels underneath. Yummy.) But set Chris out in the sun for a couple of hours, and he bronzes up like a freshly-baked calzone.

See? Notice my sunburn, once again. It's kind of turning into a tan in this picture, though. "Tan" for me is sometimes considered "darker shade of pink/purple."

Or, he used to. Now he has to worry a little about sunburn, a phenomenon he’d never experienced before spending a winter in North Dakota. Longing for warmer weather, he spent spring break in Malibu, California, his first year at UND. He came back with a peeling sunburn. Coincidence? I think not.

Unfortunately, no documentation of Chris with sunburn exists ... that I can find at least. But his nose was the worst, so here's a picture of a sunburned nose.

I’m finally taking a few days off from North Dakota living and heading east in two weeks, spending a few days in Pennsylvania, a few in Virginia, and a few days on the beach in Delaware. [I CAN’T WAIT.] I’m fully prepared to become Lobster-Kaitlin, as usual. Even when my initial burn has turned into my version of a “base tan,” I’m no match for a few days baking on the beach.

A lot of girls here, though, do achieve a bronzed-goddess glow. (Especially female athletes of winter sports — Have you ever watched a high school girls’ basketball game in North Dakota?) I’m jealous of them … and their perfect ankles. I think they achieve it from a combination of much more fortunate genes than those I was graced with and chronic fake-baking.

Even though my dad and grandma tan easily and burn little, I ended up with the crappy end of the gene pool in many areas: yucky toenails, fine hair, inability to tan, and the dreaded CANKLES. I do make a few trips to the tanning bed a year. (I know how bad it is. I only go a few times a year to acclimate my skin to ultraviolet rays in an attempt to avoid the inevitable melanoma-causing, molt-inducing sunburn that will confine me to a tub full of aloe vera lotion for a week.) Still, any tan I ever accumulate fades almost as quickly as I got it.

Ewww. Molting.

Sigh … the joys of a North Dakota summer. The only thing that’s worse is a North Dakota winter.

P.S. Just so someone else might have some entertainment out of my unpleasant situation, I’ll post a picture if I end up burned at the beach.

My Super Sketchy Sixteen … with a Creepy Old Guy.

I may be a bit behind the curve, but I just heard about this “51 year-old Doug Hutchison marrying a 16 year-old” thing. Hutchison is most notable for playing Percy Wetmore, the guy nobody liked in The Green Mile and Horace Goodspeed on Lost. Not that I personally recognized him. He goes back to roles in Party of Five and A Time to Kill, too. (Ironically, he played the child rapist.) But those are a little before my time.

Cue "The Creep" by The Lonely Island.

And a lot before 16 year-old Courtney Alexis Stodden’s. Maybe.

Annnnd that's their wedding picture.

All creepiness and illegality aside, this couple is extra controversial. When I first looked into this, I honestly thought, “Okay, so this Hutchison guy is kind of a creeper. Scandalous, but whatever.” But I watched an interview E! News did with the “happy couple” which I found deeply disturbing. I didn’t notice exactly how disturbing until I caught a glimpse of myself reflexively making a disgusted face in the reflection of my laptop screen.

Stodden doesn’t look a day under 25.

Her profile picture on her official Facebook page.

“So, whatever. She looks a little mature for her age. A lot of girls do nowadays,” I thought. I read in RadarOnline’s article about the E! News interview that people were accusing her of being “fake”: Either she’s had a lot of work done, or she’s older than she’s letting on. I thought that was a little obsessive for something that seemed so irrelevant to anyone’s lives.

But then, my curiosity got the better of me. As the interview went on, Stodden’s mannerisms became more … odd. She was striking ridiculous poses and practicing making coy pouty faces into the camera during their live interview. From the sound of it, she was trying really hard to make incoherent, immature responses to every question asked, whipping herself around and fluttering her hair.

Whatever voice you're giving her in your head to make fun of her right now, I guarantee it's not even as bad as hers in real life.

So I looked her up on Facebook, and I found two different pages of hers. “Courtney Stodden” and “Courtney Alexis Stodden Fanpage.” After spending just a short time on these sites, I decided there is no way one person can possibly be this stupid. Something has to be up — She has to be older, and for some reason faking her young age and total ignorance as some publicity stunt. Either that, or she’s actually 16 with the IQ of a shovel. There is no way any guy even in his mid-20s would put up with idiocy of that degree in a relationship, let alone a man who could easily be her father.

Wow, I bet that's how she always pictured it.

First off, she repeatedly refers to herself as an “inspiring” actress/photographer/model/singer/anything else she can think of to sound “good.” Even after people correct her. A normal human who wanted to be taken seriously would learn that she had made a mistake and change it. Stodden seems to only put it more prominently and more often, reinforcing the blonde bimbo persona.

She's giving me no shortage of material to back this up.

Let’s just take this exchange via Facebook comments on this photo:


And that was the exact point that I decided I needed to blog furiously about this. Not only does her long response defy all logic for how little cognitive functioning a person needs to maintain basic human mechanisms like breathing and blinking, but the incoherence of her short, afterthought comments boggles my mind.

The thing that sent me over the edge, though, was her last comment. It seemed to go just a little too far. I don’t know about you, but I think I see a zipper. “… so you should respect me and stuff.” It seems to me that any 16 year-old who’s trying to prove her maturity would avoid the whole “and stuff” default teen suffix. Its belittling, childlike, and it seems like she wanted it that way.

Um, can I take you back to your ... gutter?

But that’s just me speculating. I really don’t see why an older woman would pretend to be 16 and marry a 51 year-old. I guess I don’t see what a 51 year-old would see in a 16 year-old either … besides the platinum blonde hair and I-claim-they’re-real-but-there’s-no-way-in-hell chest.

How many bras does she have on here?

Maybe Stodden is just a really dumb teenager. And, in that case, Hutchison should probably hire a nanny or something for when he’s out of town. And not let Stodden cross the street unsupervised. E! News claims they have her birth certificate, but claiming they have a little piece of paper isn’t going to convince me. Her body definitely looks … aged, in more ways than just her development.

From her Official Facebook -- Taken when she was "13"

Either way, with celebrity stories like this which, I admit, are a guilty pleasure, I always find myself asking, “Why do I care?” I usually don’t have a good reason, but in this case I do: There’s just something too weird about her … and there’s that off chance that she’s an alien robot sent here from some distant galaxy, and her only way in to infiltrate the government is through Doug Hutchison. (She’s already defiled the flag!)

Creeping justified.

Hey, I’ve never been 21 before.

Not so long ago, I turned 21. And I’ve been “using my power,” as I call it, almost every chance I get, even if it’s just to browse the liquor store and not buy anything (which, I’m sure, looks kinda sketchy) or to go into a 21+ bar and grill with no intention of getting drunk. But I still have yet to get the hang of the whole bar thing. Or the inherent … comfortableness everyone has with one another at bars. I make plenty of noob mistakes.

Little turtle = Kaitlin. Big turtle = Everyone else at the bar

First of all, in general, I have no idea what to order. I’m not going to pretend I was some pristine being and never touched a drop of alcohol until I was 21, but really, dorm drinking (and sometimes even house party drinking) is very different than drinking socially for pleasure. Dorm drinking usually consisted of the cheapest crap someone could smuggle into the dorms mixed with whatever soda was still left in the vending machine in the hallway. Sometimes ice, if you were classy. It usually tasted roughly like rubbing alcohol and Sprite/Coke/Mountain Dew. Badass.

A.K.A. Rubbing alcohol.

I couldn’t wait to step up to the bar, lean against it all smooth-like, and order a drink. On my birthday, most people ordered drinks for me and funneled them down my throat. So when I stepped up to the bar later in the evening for my suave moment, free birthday drink voucher in hand,  I  had a mini panic attack when I realized I had no idea what to order. It was the time of night when I was getting sleepy … “Can I get a vodka Red Bull, please?”

Something like that ... In my dreams. I'm never that smooth.

Fail. I now realize that if I had a free drink, I should have gotten something expensive and delicious that I’m too cheap to buy myself. But I had no idea what that would be at the time.

"Bring me two pina coladas. One for each hand ..."

So, I’m cheap. I go where the specials are. Except how the heck am I supposed to know what the “wells” or “rails” that are on special are? I don’t want to look like the noob that just turned 21 and ask. (Even though they can see my birthday on my ID, I guess. I still have my pride!) So, of course, I Google it and find out the terms are interchangeable, and they basically just mean a simple drink made with cheap alcohol. Back to the dorms it is!

I’ve also come to realize that normal social boundaries are all demolished when it gets to be about 11:30 p.m. at a bar. That personal space bubble that usually floats around everyone? Gone.  Popped. It usually makes me uncomfortable when people I just meet hug me or hold my hand or tell me they love me and we’re going to be best friends forever or demand to get a picture with me as I come out of a bathroom stall because I’m a blonde. Not at a bar. At a bar, that’s perfectly acceptable. (Although, I would be really interested to see that picture I took with the girl in the bathroom. Maybe someday.)

Speaking of bathrooms, not too long ago, a girl sat next to me at a bar that smelled like that nauseating smell when someone leaves a nasty surprise in the bathroom and tries to cover it up with sickeningly sweet vanilla air freshener. Normally, I would have had to get up and leave, but eventually I became immune to the smell because we started talking and decided we would make pretty good friends. I would have probably passed out from the gaggish scent of girl that smelled like bathroom poo cover-up in real life, but in bar life, I not only remained conscious, but discovered that she was quite a nice person. Aw, yay for learning life lessons in a bar.


But all sentimentality aside, I can now see how people end up going home with companions they would never normally end up with after a night out.

"Explainthisimage.com" is right. I don't even know how they got this picture.

I still have a ton to learn about being 21. A ton. Like how to deal with creeps that won’t stop pestering you to play beer pong just so you can be “arm candy” for other creeps. And what to order — I’m definitely in a rut with my drinks of choice so far: Long Islands, Jeremiah Weed and lemonades (current fave), and vodka cranberries. (Apparently vodka cranberries are old lady drinks? Psh, don’t judge. They’re delicious.)

Any suggestions? Teach me, oh wise ones.