Lost Journal: The Anticlimax of Spring Break ’89

Journal entry: March 18, 1989 (age 19) – Spring Break ’89

Where to spend spring break this year was not a tough call. The obvious choice, when you attend a college like SUNY Oswego, where ropes are tied between buildings so that you aren’t carried away by bone-chilling winds, was to head south. A two-hour hop down to my hometown of Binghamton was not going to cut it.

My roommate, Dan Walker, is from another upstate New York heat sink – Wappingers Falls (near Poughkeepsie). Two of his friends from home, Laura Sammons and Samantha Kunz, also attend Oswego and have become good friends of mine. Laura’s parents moved recently, and she invited Danny, Samantha, and me to spend our vacation at their house in Boca Raton, Florida. (I believe Boca Raton, in Spanish, means “like Baton Rouge, but nicer.”) At the last minute, another Wappingers native who I’d never met was added to the list. She had the innocent-sounding name of Mindy.

The big question was, “How do we get there?” Laura already had a plane ticket, but the rest of us did not have “the fundage.” Driving Dan’s 1979 Buick for 26 straight hours seemed like a reasonable alternative. Twenty-four hours into the drive, when the engine overheated to a temperature suitable for smelting, it didn’t. The required pit stop at a service station gave us a chance to stretch our legs.

It also gave me a needed break from the company of “Mindy the Interloper.” She doesn’t attend Oswego. She is highly annoying. She spent the entire trip speaking only to Samantha. And complaining. And calling my mix tapes “hillbilly music.” She preferred scanning the radio dial for a stronger signal so that we could hear Tone-Loc’s “Wild Thing” for the 14th time.

We finally arrived in Boca last night. After settling in, what better thing to do than get back in the car? Tonight, we drove another hour south to Miami so we could go out clubbing. Once the others assured me that no golfing, harming of seals, or adding bacon to sandwiches was involved, I was on board with the idea. We’re all under 21, but we were prepared. Back at school, we had painstakingly used yellow chalk to change the birth years on our yellow New York State driver’s licenses from 1969 to 1967.

Laura led us to the swankiest club in Miami, and we excitedly waited in the line outside with red velvet ropes on either side. This was our moment! We were five college students on spring break in Florida – rested up and dressed up after a ridiculously long trip, and eager to hear “Wild Thing” on bigger speakers. Danny was the first to reach the door. The muscle-bound bouncer was dressed all in black, with gold chains around his tanned neck. He grabbed Danny’s license, glanced at it and asked, “How old are you?” Danny instantly blurted out “19.”

That was that. It was all over in 3.5 seconds. The bouncer pocketed the license, and our group shuffled out onto the sidewalk, stunned. The lesson did not need to be verbalized, but it was in all of our heads. A key element of lying is follow-through. If you’re going to lie, stick to it – at least until threatened with arrest or bodily harm. We spent the drive back to Boca threatening Danny with the latter.

Tim Mollen
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