Kicked off the train? You Betcha! Take a number.
Sophomore year-Eileen invited five best friends from the dorm to her home for a sleep over.
After dinner and a few glasses of Mateus and Lancers and dancing and laughing we settled into our sleeping bags -strewn on the living room floor. Per usual, we regaled one another with funny stories. Whispers and giggles turned into guffaws. We were, as a rule, very funny girls with keen, self-purported, storytelling prowess.
The first time her father came down the stairs to ask us to be a little quiet was midnight. We whispered sincere apologies. And softly, then, not so softly, went back to our ribald stories and jokes. Think: small volcanoes of laughter erupting.
Her father had to come downstairs one more time however, we heard him coming- and instantly turned into mummies. More giggles ensued. For some reason, we were not invited back.
Later that year…
Once at Bob’s Big Boy’s Restaurant, we sat down to a healthy snack of Diet Cokes and mountains of French fries dipped in a small lake of ketchup. We amused one another with stories about boys, classes, kissing, homework, dating, and boys. The only chemistry we were interested in took place on a date – not a laboratory.
We all could ‘tell a story,’ albeit with a modicum of enhancement and a ton of hyperbole. We sometimes “howled with laughter.” We were 20. And funny. At one point, the manager came over and asked us to be quiet. In a cup clattering, baby crying, fry cook yelling, waiter dropping stuff, Bob’s Big Boy we were asked to be quiet?
We had stories…
Many of us were blessed to be Irish and got the clever, storytelling gene. The Italian girls had the same gene and were louder and talked with their hands.
Note: We were polite, gracious. And audible.
There were a few restaurants where quiet couples nibbled on quiche and sipped a glass of white wine and glared at the 10 of us laughing, toasting one another’s good fortune. We always left restaurants sighing, exhausted and elated. As a rule: we always greatly over-tipped the waitress.
Meanwhile, at the St Francis Hotel
One of the girls got a job at St. Francis Hotel on Union Square. A fledgling restaurant was beating the bushes for customers and asked the concierge staff to fill the seats of family and friends.
The Mostly English Majors – only five could attend – were seated at the center of the room. Eye candy? We talked and laughed about the traffic, parking, I.Magnin’s, Paoli’s, the mimes on Union Square, Henry Africa’s and updates about Grad school, Med school, LSAT scores.
In no time – one Cosmo to the wind, the rumble of laughter commenced. Almost immediately, the maître d’ swept over and asked us if we would like a larger table. We demurred: “No thank you; so kind of think of us; sweet of you; no, thank you.” Minutes later, four waiters came to our tunnel-of-fun-table and moved our food or drinks and us to a corner table.
All graduates of esteemed Silicon Valley University- knew then and there to ask for a private room each time we gathered together. When a restaurant graciously offers, “That’s not necessary,” we insist, “It is necessary.”
The take away?
We have learned to skip hotels and rent a house for our annual “retreats”- so that we can laugh without scrutiny, a tell our animated and “fascinating” stories – and not disturb anyone. The world is a happier place.
I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers.