Oh man, today has made me miss college so much, and this weekend is only going to make that feeling stronger.
I’m at Slippery Rock University this weekend for our Regional Disaster Training Institute (known as “the Institute” or “RDTI”). Last year, I drove up on Saturday morning for a class I needed to take in order to be promoted and then drove straight to work afterwards; this year I was personally handed an invite the day the dates were finalized back in December and asked to request off for the entire weekend (in a nice way, not in a “you have to do this” way). It doesn’t officially start until tomorrow morning, but I finagled my way into the small group of people arriving today. Technically, I’m the “back-up IT guy,” but in reality I just bummed a ride, a dorm room, and dinner.
Before we left Pittsburgh, I made a pit stop at Page Dairy Mart for some fresh blueberry soft serve – I figured I’m taking days off of work, so I may as well make this as much of a vacation as possible, right? It was delicious, as always, and I’m glad I went the little bit out of my way to get it.
We met at the chapter at 3 to load our Emergency Response Vehicle that we were driving up, but I got out of loading it because one of our volunteers not going to the institute needed help with something. So really, I loaded my own stuff, buckled up, and then we were on our way. I didn’t really do anything to earn my spot. 😉
We got stuck in some of the worst traffic ever (what the frick, I-279?!), and ended up taking almost two hours to complete a one-hour trip. It was fine, though, because I love the people I went with and I was neither the one stuck driving nor the one stuck being co-pilot. Again, I’ve been useless on this trip so far.
Finally, we arrived just as the people from other chapters were getting ready to go to dinner. We played musical chairs with peoples’ personal vehicles so that we wouldn’t need to take our gigantic ERV and park it (on-street parking only at the restaurant), but eventually we made it.
Dinner was at North Country Brewing, which was an interesting experience. I’d been there with my family before, and my aunt and uncle practically live there, so I kept expecting I’d see them every time I turned around. I ordered the fish & chips and a fruit beer. I’m not big on beer, so to me it just tasted like college, but it wasn’t too bad. Still, give me a gin & tonic any day. The fish & chips was good, but enormous. Like, really incredibly large. The person beside me got it too, and we couldn’t help joking that we should’ve split one order of it and we still would’ve had leftovers.
Finally, we got back to campus and got our dorm assignments. If I ever start to think that these people don’t treat me like royalty, remind me of this weekend. We’re supposed to be paired up with roommates, so after I dropped my stuff off in my room, I went downstairs to inquire with whom I’d be sharing a room. To my surprise and utter delight, I’m solo. I’m all alone, in a corner room at the end of a short hallway, with no one on either side of me. I have two beds, two desks, two dressers, two closets, a fridge, microwave, bathroom, shower, and sink all to myself. I am in my glory. I was so anxious that I’d be stuck with someone I don’t like (which, I have yet to find anyone within this organization that I don’t like, so I’m not sure why I’d think that), or that I’d be stuck with someone who doesn’t shut up or who snores or who just flat-out annoys me. Now I’m much calmer. I’m a happy kid.
My belly is full, I had ice cream with lunch, and I have an entire dorm room to myself all weekend while almost everyone else is stuck with a roommate. I’d say today has been a good day. 🙂