The Vermont Cynic

The College Life

It’s getting to that point in the school year: everyone is broke.Desperate times call for desperate measures, and my friends and I have fallen victim to slumming due to our broke-ed-ness.You’ve seen us around.Attending ALANA meetings and UPB events just to scam free food.Running late to class because we’re filling out a 15-minute survey in the Davis Center atrium for a mere Milky Way mini bar.Can you blame us?With $3.40 in my savings account and 38 cents in my checking account, I can’t afford to buy food. I can’t even afford to withdraw money from an ATM, which is why I am always seen buying lighters at Rite Aid to get $5 cash back. And as my broke-ed-ness increases, the quality of my diet subsequently decreases, as in nothing for breakfast, nothing for lunch, and by 4 p.m. I’m so hungry I end up spending 10 bucks at New World Tortilla for a Thai chicken wrap and a drink.So much for being economical. While I eagerly await my bi-weekly $137 UVM work-study check, I even begin to consider participating in sketchy Fletcher Allen studies. Seems easy enough, take a little Viagra and make $75 bucks! So what if I’m a woman. Then things start to get really desperate.I usually begin by searching my car and apartment for change I can cash in at Coinstar. And while cans and bottles are only worth five cents, I begin to religiously separate them from my recycling like a homeless person. Then I skip class to drive to the north end to cash them in, all for $3.45.The alcohol I consume also begins to decrease in quality as my bank account dwindles. While I started the year drinking handles of Ketel One and Miller Lite bottles, I can now be seen around town sipping on S.S. Pierce and Natty light.Come on, they were on sale!It is interesting though that when I have $15 to my name, a thirty rack sounds like an excellent way to spend it.And when my funds are completly depleted, I am forced to flirt with sketchy men at RiRa’s in order to procure free drinks. What am I supposed to do, stop drinking altogether?Checks also seem like a good idea due to their time lapse.Good thing my drug dealer accepts them for $10 grams.Despite my lack of monetary funds and the outrageous gas prices these days, like any lazy college student, I still drive up to campus Monday, Wednesday and Friday.9:05 class at L/L, you have got to be kidding me. Not to worry though, warm weather and summer jobs are quickly approaching, so by next September, I should once again have thousands to spend on alcohol, drugs and New World. I can hardly wait.

The College Life:

My story all starts with a bottle of cranberry Smirnoff vodka. Classy, eh? Approximately one year ago, I had a bottle of this deliciousness stashed in my closet to bring back to school after Christmas break. The morning I was packing to leave, I reached in the closet to grab the brown bag and realized it was gone.Panic-mode ensued. I come from a pretty conservative, Christian family, in which my mother had always said I wasn’t allowed to drink because “it’s against the law.”Fortunately, because my parents are either a) super awkward or b) didn’t want to address the fact I had a bottle of vodka chilling in my closet, they never said anything.They instead went with the passive aggressive punishment, placing the bottle in the front of their liquor cabinet for me to see.I had pretty much forgotten about the vodka until the following summer. It was a friend’s birthday, we were going out, and desperate times called for desperate measures. It appeared my parents hadn’t touched the vodka, sans removing it from its brown bag during the six months it had sat in their liquor cabinet. I gathered two friends in my room and worked out an unnecessarily complex plan to take back the vodka. While my friend Mollie chatted up my parents, I grabbed the bottle of vodka, poured the entire thing into a water bottle (classy, again) then refilled the bottle with water. Clutch. Or so I thought.I checked on the bottle a couple times throughout the rest of the summer. It remained full (of H2O) and I assumed my parents would never actually drink it. Fast forward to Thanksgiving. I came home for the week and out of habit I check on my secret. It’s a quarter gone. I freaked out. My best friend calmed me down and told me it was probably for a guest because a) a guest wouldn’t complain about a drink and b) my parents don’t drink cranberry Smirnoff. My panic died down during the rest of the week, though I did make some half hearted attempts to replace the bottle.But really, I’m broke, and seventeen dollars is a lot of money to spend on a bottle of vodka that’s not even for me.I escaped the vodka situation when I headed back to Vermont after Thanksgiving.I should have known that it would come back to haunt me.Christmas break arrived and the ‘vodka’ once again became the 5th member of my family. I found the story so amusing that I tell both my older sister and brother about the circumstances, and again made half-hearted attempts to replace it.Then the day of doom finally arrived. It came disguised peacefully as New Years Day, in an ever-so subtle brunch with family friends from Switzerland.Everyone was making awkward small talk, while I was being the perfect daughter glazing the ham, when I heard the fateful words, “Who wants a Bloody Mary?”Now why my dad would be making Bloody Marys with cranberry Smirnoff is a subject of its own discussion, but it’s beside the point.The point is, I watched in horror as my dad pulled the bottle of cranberry vodka from the liquor cabinet and poured it generously to concoct three Bloody Marys for our guests.I continued to watch in horror as these people walked joyously around my house drinking said Bloody Marys. I panicked. (I tend to do this a lot, apparently). I called a friend to make a legitimate, albeit last minute attempt to replace the vodka.Oh yeah, it’s New Year’s day and every liquor store is closed. I couldn’t stand another minute: the guests, the Bloody Marys and the bottle on the counter were all mocking me.I pulled my mother into my room and informed her that I did something really bad but that she shouldn’t get mad. Having recently watched both “Juno” and “Knocked Up” that week, she horrifyingly asked, “Oh my god, are you pregnant?”No mom, I’m not pregnant, but your cherished guests out there are drinking tomato juice and water. Yummy. My mother let out a sigh of relief, and even a laugh as she asked, “They’re drinking water Bloody Marys?” Yes. Yes they are, now go stop it!Luckily everyone finished their first drink without complaint, my mom informed my dad what was up, and everyone was served mimosas with brunch.After the guest left, my mother requested that I tell me father the “funny vodka story.” (Thanks Mom, it’s not that funny). He clearly saw directly threw my lies as I blamed the incident on it being a “friend’s bottle and she wanted it back” but none-the-less found it amusing.Now I get jokes from them pretty much on a daily basis. When cooking with brandy the other night my mom asked “Did you replace this bottle with water too?”No Mom, brandy isn’t even clear.And when asking what I wanted to drink with dinner the other night, my dad asked, “Do you some vodka? I have a whole bottle, do you want it on the rocks.” Again, not funny. Yet what I’ve learned from this year-long ordeal is that the closer you are to being 21, the more your parents come to accept the fact that you drink.I’m still six months away, but alcohol has come out of the closet and evolved from something taboo into something my parents and I can joke and talk about. And that is almost as cool as being legal. Almost.

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