Lost in the Frozen Tundra (or How I Spent My First Night of Break)

12:56 PM

Well, glad that's over.

It's fifteen minutes past 11 PM on the first day of spring break...a day I spent working. Straightening Styrofoam chicks in bunny hats, cramming bunny balls onto one shelf, rearranging an explosion of Easter merchandise that some sucker of a grandma will buy for her whiny grandchild, which will then set off a conniption fit in the mother whose basement already overflows with useless plastic stuff. I was done with retail for the day. For the month. For forever, really. Sniffle-nosed, crampy, tired -- I just wanted to see my boyfriend before crashing in my empty dorm. Eight blissful hours of sleep before our early morning roadtrip back to Wisconsin. But first, wrangling bags.

There was the water bottle, the bags of cheese crackers, the purse, the gloves, the car keys. The car keys hit the snowy pavement somewhere in that tangle. When I fumbled open the locked dorm door and threw everything on my un-made bed, I only had one glove. One? What? Where? Outside the...? Oh, brother. Yeah, it was there, halfway between the locked door and the locked car. Holding the door open with my toe, I stretched to grab the glove. Mission accomplished, back to the room -- wait. The car lights are still on? How are they on? Will they go off? How did I not burn out my battery before this? Fine, I'll just turn it off to be sure. It was a million degrees below zero. I'd changed a car battery in this kind of weather before. Never again.

Having preempted jumping my car tomorrow morning, I turned around to face the locked door.

Oh, no.

The locked door. I slowly felt inside my coat pocket. Car keys. Lanyard. No phone. No dorm keys. I pounded on the door. No way would my head RA hear this. College kids don't return to their dorms before midnight on the weekend.

Campus security. They could help! I shuffle-sprinted in my work shoes through the biting cold to the security building. They would still be there, yes? It's only the first day of break. They had to be here. The lady at the front desk when I turned in my off-campus housing form said she wasn't getting a break. They must be here. (At this point, I realized I could have driven to security.) I jogged up to the front door of campus security. There was a sign. A sign on the front. Please, don't....

BACK SOON
If an emergency, call this number.

Great! I wanted to yell. I DON'T HAVE A FREAKIN' PHONE TO CALL ANYONE. 

Language, Bailey. Calm down. You could go to -- nope, I don't have my student ID to get in that building. You could call -- wait, I still don't have a phone.

I made myself into a pitiful ball against the locked campus security door (it was locked, I knew, because I'd tried to break in) and philosophized on how anyone got by before cell phones. I cried a little. Poor, sick, miserable old me.

That got cold and boring fast.

I would run to my boyfriend's off-campus house. He wasn't there (because I had to pick him up in town in a few minutes), but maybe a housemate was. He was -- a housemate, that is, crawling on his hands and knees on the stairs.

"Whoaaa," was his first response.

"Can you please help me?" was mine.

We called two out of the three campus security phone numbers before a voice answered. He sounded old, not an ideal knight in shining armor, and seemed bewildered by my predicament. I'm kind of assuming this, because I couldn't hear anything he said above the click-click-click-click noise in the background. He said something that sounded sort of helpful, and I said, "Great! I'll meet you at Koon!"

"Is he coming?" asked the housemate.

"I don't know," I said. "Let's just go and wait there."

We sat in his warm truck for a while, making small talk with large punctures of silence. "Who's in charge of the dorm this year?" he asked.

"I am," I said miserably.

"Whoaaa."

My boyfriend says I'm really impatient, and it's true. It suddenly occurred to me that the screen to my window was off and had been the entire time I lived in Koon. I heard the bush outside my window scrape against it every single night. I knew there was a reason I'd never got around to putting it back in! I tried to pry open the window from the outside. He tried. Well, that was a dumb idea.

By this time, he was dialing my knight in shining armor who still hadn't shown up and I was trying to come up with how to delicately break to my parents that I spent the night at my boyfriend's house because I was locked out of my own dorm. That's just awkward. I watched the jogger turn the corner of the road. Health nuts. Exercising at 11:45 PM in negative temperatures. She came down my sidewalk. She turned onto my front steps.

"Look!" the housemate cried.

"WAIT WAIT WAIT!" I screamed. And I was inside, inside my beautiful little dorm babbling to my jogging savior how I'd spent the past half hour locked out and how I would probably be dead without her. She just wanted to shower.

I waved farewell to my housemate friend, who had made contact with my knight in shining armor: "I'm with Bailey. No, we're at Koon. She's fine, she made it in...."

Well, glad that's over.

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  1. This was way too horribly hilarious to be real. :) :)

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