Yesterday a good friend of mine (never mind the fact that I haven’t called him in a long time) had his birthday. I thought about this (and didn’t call him) … but I did decide to write about this funny story!
He went to West Point, or the United States Military Academy, and I went to Southern Methodist University, or rich-kid private liberal arts college. He and I probably had very different college experiences.
Before my freshman year of college I attended “Mustang Corral.” It was a couple of days where incoming freshman went off to some place, and we were supposed to bond and befriend each other and such. The group I was assigned to had some good looking, fun, outgoing, happy people – this made me sort of shut down. If I’m uncomfortable and around people who seem very comfortable, it’s time for my inner kid-who-sits-in-the-corner-and-just-daydreams to shine. Real wallflower power.
There are a few funny stories from that camp but that’s for another time.
I got back from the few days and had not managed to make any friends. I had spent the time hanging out with a guy I called Big John (in my head, not to him). He was a big fella from Texas who just didn’t talk. He and I could hang out, not talking, for up to an hour at a time. It was splendid. Thankfully I ended up seeing this guy Big Red (who I had met at some other orientation thing) and I found out he would be living right next door. Other than that, I left the camp worried.
I don’t know anyone here, my family lives super far away, I’m in college and what if I fail? … All this mess is scary.
Then, a phone call. It’s my best buddy from high school!
I answer the phone and he is PUMPED. Super excited and happy. You know why? Because he had finished Beast (the “orientation” cadets go through before their freshman year). And he was walking around in circles, because no one was around to tell him what to do.
He was so excited … About walking in circles …
It may be cruel, but I was really happy at that moment. I realized just how stupid my worries were – of course I was nervous, and of course I didn’t have friends (I didn’t TALK to anyone). After I got off the phone with my buddy I went next door and met Big Red’s roommates (I didn’t care much for any of them – but it was still a good thing to do).
Happy birthday to my friend who has helped me without knowing it more times than one! And … I really should call you sometime.