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April 2, 1999




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Week in Florida burns flesh, friendly relations

By H.G. Miller
Kansan staff columnist

H.G. MillerAlthough I´m sure many of you did wonderfully exciting things during spring break, got addresses you´ll never write to and contracted all sorts of diseases to circulate into the Lawrence biosystem, the fact remains that I am vain enough to consider my life one of, if not the, most fascinating events you´ll ever be privy to.

So, I´m going to talk about my spring break.

Being driven by the stupidity of youth, two friends and I decided to pack ourselves into a two-door automobile and drive to northern Florida.

Eighteen hours later, it became abundantly clear that all of those sappy movies extolling the greatness of road trips were simply propaganda from fast-food restaurants and roadside gas stations.

Although these traveling companions may have been friends, the camaraderie seemed to fade somewhere south of the Tennessee border. One of my friends drove too slow, the other had no sense of direction and I guess my habit of swerving into oncoming traffic wasn´t appreciated, if I interpreted the stream of profanities screamed at me correctly.

We further butchered the stigma of road tripping by caravaning down with another group of people. It seemed like a good idea until we noticed that they weren´t right behind us as we pulled into the hotel parking lot.

Concern would have to wait, though, because our first impulse upon seeing the sandy beaches, rolling ocean and scantily clad women was to go into our hotel room, pull the shades and go to sleep.

At some point, I remember the phone ringing and one of my traveling partners intercepting a message from our wayward companions, who said that their car had exploded somewhere near Nashville.

It sounded devastating, but they had called, and they were alive, so we went back to sleep.

After rousing ourselves for the free breakfast provided by the hotel — we all know that stale bagels and orange juice laced with heavy lumps of concentrate are the best way to start a day — my friends and I headed to the beach.

Soon enough, a very tan old man who appeared to come from some cardboard boxes on the beach informed us that the wooden slabs we had camped out on were actually rental units, and that we would have to pay $15 for the privilege of using them.

So, we kindly moved five feet over into the sand, and got our sunburns for free.

Finally, evening came and it was time to hit the local clubs. Realizing that I was among strangers who were mostly drunk and would never see me again, I decided to leave all sense of reserve behind and do something completely cruel and unforgivable to those who witnessed it.

I danced.

Of the limited blessings God has given me, fluid movement is not one of them.

I sure tried, though.

I bobbed my head, I thrust my hips and I flailed my arms. I knocked over drinks, I stepped on feet and I bruised a lot of hips.

In short, I made very few new friends in the state of Florida.

Eventually, I got close enough to some young lass who couldn´t ignore my bounding energy. I smiled. She smiled politely back. The groove was on, and we started to do that “grind thing,” and I became painfully aware of just how long it´s been since certain muscles in my legs have seen action. I guess that walking up the hill three or four times a week isn´t quite the same as five minutes of actual aerobic exercise.

But, we´re grinding, right? So, I fought through the pain. A little alcohol and I was feeling pretty sexy, and she had this look in her eyes. It looked like the spring break fantasy was about to come true until she said, “Your keys are digging into my thighs; I need to go.”

And she limped out of my life forever.

So, I moved on to my next target: the bar.

After that, the rest of the week is kind of a blur. I didn´t end up with a tattoo like one of my companions, so I guess everything worked out OK.

Of course, after another 18 hours in the car on the way back, my friends and I have decided to never speak to one another again.

H.G. Miller is a Hutchinson senior in English.


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