June 13, 2013

On the Occasion of My Five-Year College Reunion, or, The Hot Mess

In college, it's fairly common to become a hot mess. Whether you're partying or not, you likely struggle to manage your time, your laundry, your homework, your eating habits, and your budget. Add in hygiene, both personal and domestic, for boys.

You sign up for an 8:30 a.m. class that will satisfy three different distribution requirements and promise yourself you'll make it. And you just don't. You don't even have a hangover--you've just been up until 3:00 a.m., watching reruns of Roseanne with your roommate and building a fort. And because it's a small liberal arts college, professors actually take attendance and factor it into your grade. So when you do finally start dragging yourself to class with a vat of coffee and a to-go cereal, the girl seated next to you who was on Teen Jeopardy and has attended every class all semester looks at you like you might be contagious. You are a Hot Mess.


And then there's the partying. Pitchers on a Wednesday night feel very reasonable. A sheet of plywood and two sawhorses find their way into your living room. Food you buy at the grocery store on a whim rots in the mini-fridge while you take recovery egg-and-cheeses to the face at the snack bar attached to the dining hall. Your funnel grows mold and you still use it. You are a Hot Mess.


But here's the secret: the Hot Mess doesn't end when you graduate. You might sit in your chair on graduation day, sweating Yuengling into your polyester gown and thinking about how good it will feel to be an adult and do adult things like making kale chips or going to the farmers market, but the Hot Mess is not over.


No adult is actually an adult. They are all roughly 22 in mind, no matter what they are in body. They do stupid things late at night and then drag themselves into work at 8:00 a.m. because the paycheck or the job satisfaction or the competitive streak is a better motivator than the frowning professor's attendance sheet. They are hot messes, only now they can hide it a little better.

So, on the occasion of my five-year college reunion, here's to The Hot Mess. I'm not going, but I've designed a burrito bowl to eat in memory of the days before rent checks, regular car maintenance, and lawn care were a part of my life.

Rice, black beans, fresh corn, avocado, roasted sweet potato, jalapeno, cilantro, and salsa. Make yourself one when you're recovering from your five-year, your ten-year, your thirty-year reunion, and let your Hot Mess flag fly.

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