by Karla ° Tuesday, February 12, 2008
I spent all my all my college years living in Residence. In hindsight, I’m not sure how my natural tendency for quiet solitude managed to survive amongst the constant buzz of inebriated banter and loud-mouthed freshmen, but maybe the act of being perpetually drunk myself masked how much I hated the never-ending pile of dirty dishes, including the one time a guy from across the hall came and used the tub in my suite to do his dishes because his sink and tub were already being used for said dish cleaning purposes.

My stay in Residence has certainly left me with some rather startling memories, including scrubbing a friend’s vomit from a puke-stained carpet and an exploding BBQ propane tank that resulted in a towering inferno of fire deathly close to my bedroom because someone, well, I don’t know? Because someone left a smouldering cigarette on the ground after grilling up some beef? This still seems rather fishy and unlikely to me.

The fire, although narrowly missing the Residence building, was rather unforgiving in its angry wrath, and swallowed the bike shed whole that night. My two-wheeled mode of transportation, and means of fulfilling weekly responsibilities, like shopping for groceries, was nothing but a charred, gray-black hunk of metal by the time the fire was put out.

For all the downsides to Residence living, I did take away some amazing lifelong friendships. In my freshman year of College, I met Colin. We were both lover of rocks and the deep earth history they reveal, collectors of mineral specimens, and awkwardly nervous about being away from home for the first time.

Colin and I both lived on the same floor in our Residence building. Each floor had four suites, two for girls, and two for boys, and each suite had six private rooms, two washrooms, a kitchen, and a small common living area. Now, you would think with all of that personal space, Colin would have found somewhere to leave his dirty socks, but no. The guy basically lived in my suite, and one night he pulled his socks off his feet and left them right on top of the kitchen table. Where people put their plate, containing food, that they put in their mouth.

I think that fleeting instant of disgust was also the moment our brotherly/sisterly friendship began.

Colin left school a few months later, realizing that Geology wasn’t where his heart was, but we have kept in touch over the years.

He now lives downtown Toronto, unswayable in his desire to be a city dweller and at the center of it all, while I have found my place in a quiet corner of suburbia, content inside my brick-lined house, away from it all. Whenever he’s in town though, we make a point of getting together, but now instead of who can drink the most beer without falling flat on their face, we meet for steaming mugs of coffee during the early morning hours of the weekend that, ten years ago, would have made us cringe.

Every Christmas, we get together for hot chocolate and drive aimlessly through the city looking at Christmas lights, and every couple of weeks, we spend hours on the phone talking about nothing and everything and oh my god, remember that time we baked a Fruit Flan together? And what about the time you drank so much that you fell face first onto the pavement. Boy, those were the days, eh?

Two years ago, Colin made a life changing decision, and quit his full time career to go back to school for Environmental Engineering. I think that takes guts, to say, hey, I’m not happy doing what I’m doing, and I want a better future for myself, and our planet. I admire that. And sometimes, a small part of me silently yearns for the thrill of all the fresh opportunities and new adventures in front of him. He works hard, plays hard, and appreciates the value of true friendship even harder.

Colin is a sweet, gentle soul. He is like the big brother that I never had, and as we sipped our coffee last weekend, I couldn’t help but wonder where the past 11 years have gone. We are both totally different people, yet exactly the same people, all at the same time.

Except maybe for that one time during frosh week when we were totally plastered and I dared him to wear women’s clothes, and he did.


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those are the best kind of friends.
Posted by Blogger TBG :  February 13, 2008

It's funny that you would post this now because at the moment I'm sitting in the computer lap on residence listening to a bunch of crazy college kids eat and drink and have fun. It was almost like a soundtrack to your story.

I've been working all day all day all day and I'm tired. I really hope that ten years from now I'm doing something big and family-orientated and can write something like this, remembering college days, and... so on.

You are excellent. Don't forget that.
Posted by Anonymous Alison :  February 13, 2008

How wonderful to have a friend like that!
Posted by Blogger Amanda :  February 13, 2008

So funny, and it does totally take guts to move in an entirely different direction like that. Good for him!
Posted by Blogger Gina :  February 14, 2008

Thanks Karla, I have to laugh because I remember everything so well. You are and always will be that great friend.
Posted by Anonymous Colin :  February 15, 2008


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