If you went to school at the University of Minnesota during the 2003-2004 school year, you most likely attended a party at 10th Ave and 4th St. or 11th Ave and University Ave (they were on the same block).
This is a story about a party I attended at 11th and University early during my freshman year.
The house that sits on 11th and University is made for college (today it is a fraternity). It’s a large 3 story house with a basement. It is also where I spent my weekends my first semester of college. And by weekends, I mean Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Almost every night there was a keg of Busch Light tapped.
The first floor is basically one giant living room that had been turned into a party room. The floor is hardwood and sticky from spilled beer. It smells like cheap stale beer and cigarettes. There is no furniture, aside from a couple of musty couches pushed against the wall that were usually reserved for people who had a little too much to drink. There is a bar on the left side of the room. This is where the kegs are. This is where you buy your cups. Only residents of the house are allowed behind the bar (well, not always but that is a story for another day).
The wall behind the bar is furnished with a couple of multi colored lights to promote the dance club ambiance. There is a beer sign and an old stereo connected to a laptop that played the same playlist every night. Some of the most popular were “Summer of 69” by Brian Adams, “My Own Worst Enemy” by Lit, and “Get Low” by Lil John & The East Side Boyz (to name a few).
The third weekend in September the house was set to hold what was known as a “rager.” If memory serves me right, there were 6 kegs.
As usual, I showed up early and started drinking heavily. Some of the house residents I knew from my home town and the others I got to know fairly well. Mostly, I was excited to have a place to hang out and party on the weekends. I spent most of my time standing on the outside of circles awkwardly and laughing at stories whether they were funny or not.
Over the course of the evening people continued to show up at a steady pace. Eventually you couldn’t move. The music continued to blast as people started their drunken hook ups, making out and groping each other as if there were no other people in the room. The romantic soundtrack blared “to the windoooow, to the wall, till the sweat drop down my balls…” The majority of people had a vacant look in their eyes.
Random shoving matches and fights broke out every half an hour. As a college freshman, this is exactly what I signed up for.
The music shut off in the middle of a song with a response of “boos” and grumblings. I noticed that there seemed to be more multi-color lights chasing around the walls than usual when the first person yelled.
The university police had the house surrounded. My chest tightened, I dropped my beer on the floor and started to plan an escape.
I made my way to the front door, but couldn’t make any progress through the crowd.
I swam through people toward the backdoor.
A girl stood frozen in the corner sobbing as her boyfriend yelled at her for dancing with another guy. Then it seemed like every girl started to cry out of fear of the trouble that the police would bring. I had managed to choke back the tears in this scenario.
Half way through the kitchen that led to the backdoor the crowd started to do an about-face and started to run away from the door.
In my experience, when the cops come you run away from the party and the beer. Here these people were running into the party.
My attempt to fight through the crowd failed. I now had to decide where I would hide. The majority of people headed to the basement. I decided that I would go up stairs.
I settled on the third floor bathroom. I ended up in the bathroom with a few other girls. I laid down in the tub while the girls continued to weep about getting in trouble and going to jail.
A loud knock on the door.
“Don’t open it.” one of the weeping girls said.
We stayed silent.
“Please let us in we can’t see” a girl screamed outside the door.
A girl opened the door. Two girls rushed in with red puffy eyes and made their way to the sink.
“They are shooting smoke into the basement” said one of the new girls.
My luck, the only guy in a bathroom with five drunk college girls at a party. Three of them are crying and two have been tear gassed.
Upon hearing the news of tear gas I stood up and said, “fuck this, I’m out of here.”
“You can’t go out there, cops are everywhere” one of the girls said.
“Well, I am not going to get tear gassed in here.” I said as I shut the door behind me.
I decided that I would take my chance trying to walk out of the door. I got to the main floor and it had been all but emptied. I saw cops in the front yard taking a guy, rather forcefully into a cop car (that guy would end up being one of my roommates the following year).
I decided not to go that way.
I went through the kitchen to exit out the back door. I found a line.
“What is going on?” I asked the guy in the back of the line.
“Cops are right outside the door giving breathalyzers. They said that anyone who didn’t come out would go to jail” he said.
Well, that makes this decision pretty simple.
I got in line and waited my turn. It took a while because a girl ahead of me seemed to have trouble blowing hard enough through her sobs.
My turn came.
“Any chance I can just walk home?” I asked.
Worth a shot…
I blew and the machine read out .14 BAC. The police officer handed my ID to another officer who wrote me a ticket (my first and only) for minor consumption.
I walked across campus to the dorms alone and drunk. Well, I made a late night stop at McDonald’s first.
I played out how the conversation with my parents would go. The Gophers were playing the following day which meant that I would see them.
The following morning I called my parents.
“Hey dad, I – umm… I – er… I got a minor last night.”
I decided to go with the nervous, straight forward approach.
I braced for the worst.
I was not expecting this response.
Man, I miss college.