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An Unexpected Trip Around The World (Or At Least Minneapolis)

, , , , , , , , , | Friendly | September 14, 2022

My group of friends and I are celebrating one friend’s twenty-first birthday. Most of us live on campus someplace — a frat house, an apartment, a house with roommates, etc. — in the Twin Cities, and the few that don’t will just be crashing at someone’s place after the birthday party.

We start our adventure at the Seven Corners area; we all drive and park at the twenty-four-hour parking ramp there. We venture to the bars, drink, and then start our trek back toward campus over the 10th Street bridge. We hit up a few more bars in the area, wander through Dinkytown, and hit a couple of other bars on our way to our final destination — a house party that’s on the west bank.

At the time of this story, I live in the Dinkytown area with my roommates, and I know my way around the east bank and even downtown Minneapolis very well, so the area is very familiar to me on a normal day.

After a lot of barhopping and walking, we finally end up at the house party. We party, drink, and have fun. My birthday friend is pretty drunk by the time things start to wind down at around 3:00 am, and he just wants to crash at the house we are in. I know we’re not too far from my place, and I really don’t feel like crashing at a random house party with half the people still up drinking and doing mean things to those that have passed out (drawing on their faces and such tricks). Another friend and I are pretty sloshed ourselves, but we decide to head out and walk back to my place. It should be a twenty- to twenty-five-minute walk, so it’s not bad; it’ll be enough time to let us sober up some.

We remember leaving the party and making it to University Avenue. After that, it is a bit of a blur. The next thing we remember is walking up to a gas station/convenience store. We’re tired and getting hungry and thirsty, so we decide to wander in. We grab some water and snacks and check out.

Employee: “You boys are back again, huh?”

Me: “Uhhh…”

I look over at my friend with a look of confusion. He just kind of looks back at me, just as confused.

Friend: “Yeahhhhh. We, um, just wanted to get some more snacks and get change for the payphone so we can phone a ride.”

Me: “Yeah, have to get change for the phone,”

This is before cell phones are a common thing; most people had pagers but not cell phones.

Employee: “Okay, you boys keep safe.”

We leave the gas station and walk outside to the payphone.

Me: “What the h***? We were here before?”

Friend: “I guess. I don’t remember coming here. And speaking of here… where the h*** are we?”

Looking around frantically, I spot a couple of street signs.

Me: “We’re on University Ave, but I don’t recognize the area. Call [Other Friend]’s place; he knows the area.”

Friend: “Yeah, I’ll call him and see if he can help us out.”

My friend chatted on the phone for a few minutes with our other friend. Come to find out, my friend and I, in our inebriated condition, turned the wrong direction down University Avenue after we left the house party and ended up walking half an hour in the wrong direction. Not only that, but we stopped in the same gas station twice — once on our way past it and the second time after we’d walked a bit and turned around because one of us must have finally realized we were lost — and don’t recall the first time we went in there. Our other friend that lived on campus wasn’t out drinking that night because he had to work, so he told us to wait and he’d come to pick us up and drive us back home, saving us a nearly sixty-minute walk home.

The moral of the story: be sure you know where you’re going if you’re out partying and decide to walk home, and make sure you’re with someone if you do. If my friend hadn’t agreed to attempt to walk back to my place that night, I wouldn’t have risked it myself; I would have just sucked it up and crashed at the house party.

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