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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My parents' party house is just like college

In preparation for their eventual retirement, my parents had a house built in a resort community called Suncadia about a year ago. Located just on the eastern side of Snoqualmie Pass, Suncadia is one of those sort of communistic planned communities where you have to get approval from the local politburo if you want to paint your house a slightly different shade of green.  But once you get past the red tape, it's an amazing and beautiful place to have a retirement home.

Now that Jesse and I have been up there for a few visits (including for our wedding), I can’t help but notice the similarities between this resort community and a college campus for grownups. Suncadia is quite new, and so most of the homeowners in the area are still fairly young, much like my parents (young in comparison to retirees, Mom and Dad. Don't get all excited about being called 'young'). They all plan to retire there “someday,” but for most of them, that someday won’t be coming for a good ten or fifteen years yet. So what you’ve got is a bunch of weekend warriors in their early 50's who drive up every Friday night and spend the rest of the weekend partying.
So basically … it’s college. Here's how:
Everyone Hoards Alcohol
The nearest stores to buy booze are a good fifteen minutes’ drive away, which we all know is way too far for a late night beer run. Thus, Suncadia’s Weekend Warriors always make sure to pack in enough booze to survive a months-long siege. If someone firebombed I-90 and trapped everyone up in their homes, they’d last weeks before the first signs of sobriety began to appear.
It's sort of like in college when your one friend with a fake ID would go to the liquor store: you’d send him with a shopping list a mile long, because who knows when you’re going to get another chance to stock up? (The difference here being that, of course, everyone in Suncadia is WELL over the age of 21; they just don’t want to stop partying long enough to go to the store).
I didn’t feel like drawing anything for this, so I thought I’d just steal whatever Google Images found for “castle siege.” But then that turned out to be a bunch of well-done drawings by people with talent so I felt bad and decided to draw my own castle after all. It’s “under siege” … GET IT?!?!?!?! AHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

If You Do Something Stupid, Everyone Knows About It
When I was a freshman in college, I lived in a dorm called New South. One night, another freshman who lived in my dorm got a little too drunk and belligerent, so his friends locked him in his room. They put him to bed and barricaded the door, hoping he would just sleep off his belligerence instead of storming around getting into trouble.
Apparently the guy had other ideas, though. Not content to remain in bed, he decided to make a break for it. He tied some sheets and blankets together, then tied them around the leg of his bed and hung this makeshift rope out the window. He then proceeded to start climbing down this rope, which led from his third-story window to the lower roof of the building. (No word on what his plan was to get from the lower roof down to the actual ground another 20 feet below.)

In the end, it didn’t really matter what his plan for getting to the ground was, because his rope was far too short for the amount of distance he was hoping to cover. He got about halfway down before running out of rope, at which point he just let go and dropped down to the lower roof (which was covered in broken glass from drunk students tossing beer bottles out their windows).
As one might expect after a 15-20 foot fall, the guy broke his leg. He then had to stumble drunkenly on a broken leg over shards of glass to pound on the windows of some first-floor dorm rooms, screaming for help. After this incident, damn near every student at Georgetown knew that this had happened. For months afterwards, any time someone recognized him they would shout “HEY, YOU’RE THAT DRUNK IDIOT WHO FELL OUT HIS WINDOW!” and the guy would just have to nod sadly.

Suncadia plays by the same rules. One night, after some bawdy drinking and shenanigans, some guy decided he was tired and wanted to go home. So he hopped in his car to slow-crawl the mile or two back to his place. And he managed to slow-crawl his car right into a ditch. (I picture something like the steamroller scene in Austin Powers, where the accident happens in such slow motion that you really have plenty of time to react, but you don’t and so now your car is in a ditch.)
Crashing at 3mph is really embarrassing.

He managed to get himself home just fine, but he wasn’t able to get a tow truck up to rescue his car for a day or two. And meanwhile, all the Weekend Warriors saw his car in the ditch and easily recognized it. And they all knew what had happened, and they all laughed at him. And I just imagine one night at the winery, someone shouting “HEY, YOU’RE THAT DRUNK IDIOT WHO DROVE HIS CAR INTO A DITCH!” and the guy would have to nod sadly because really, that is exactly what happened.
There are no secrets among Weekend Warriors. If you want to do something epically stupid, go to Tijuana like a normal person. I hear you can ride a donkey painted like a zebra there.

You Always Invite Too Many People To Stay With You
In college, I had a tiny dorm room, a twin bed, and a roommate. But if I had friends coming to visit DC? "YOU GUYS SHOULD TOTALLY STAY WITH ME!"
Same as when I would go to visit other friends at college – we never really planned out the logistics of who would sleep where; we’d just invite each other and figure it all out later. Because we knew alcohol would be involved, and when alcohol is involved, you really don’t need a comfortable place to sleep. A patch of bare floor will do – I’ll use my shoe as a pillow and my coat as a blanket and I’ll be a-okay.

Over-inviting is also the name of the game up in Suncadia. There’s a loft above the garage that has a lot of floor space, and we’re generally of the opinion that there is no limit on how many people could sleep on that floor if need be. When Jesse and I got married, we had pretty much the entire wedding party strewn about the room sleeping in various nooks and alcoves. And it went like this.
We slept like babies.

Karma Means Everyone Takes Care of The Drunk Guy

Unless you never drink or you do drink but you exercise restraint in everything you do (in which case, why are you reading this?!), odds are you’ve been “that guy” before: that guy that drinks too much and loses the ability to function without help.
In college, one night a friend of mine drank too much and threw up all over himself and his dorm room floor. A couple of us cleaned him up and put his clothes into the laundry, because that’s how you collect good drinking-karma. Another night, my roommate was delivered to our door by a complete stranger, and I put her to bed with a big bottle of water next to her head. Yet another time, a friend and I discovered a young man sitting up by the observatory on campus, SOBBING, because he didn’t know where he was. He said he was visiting a friend and couldn’t find the right dorm.

We figured out where he needed to go and walked him home. These favors would all be repaid over the years when it became my turn to, ahem, be “over-served.”
The same rules of drinking-karma apply in Suncadia (as long as you don’t drive into any ditches at low speeds). At our wedding reception, one of our girlfriends decided she was exhausted and wanted to head back to my parents’ house to get some sleep. Like pretty much everyone else at our wedding reception, she was drunk. This meant that she left without remembering to tell anyone she was leaving, and without remembering to ask how to get back to the house.
Now, my parents’ place is only a ten or fifteen minute walk from the winery where we got married, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for a drunk person to figure out. But this did not slow my friend down one bit.
She took off walking in what she figured was the right direction, bobbing and weaving her way down the middle of the road with a bouquet of flowers in one hand and a champagne flute in the other. The Suncadia shuttle bus driver saw her and asked her where she was going. She mumbled something about Jamie’s parents, which was not helpful to him. She mentioned a wedding. The bus driver, who knows my parents, figured out that she’d been at our wedding and was trying to get back to their place. So he demanded she get on the bus and then he dropped her off safely at home.
NICE WORK, BUS DRIVER! After all, there are a lot of ways that could have gone wrong:

She must have had good drinking-karma J

Meanwhile, I'm pretty excited for Thanksgiving weekend. We'll all be up there for a good three or four days ...

Better stock up on booze.

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