Picture me in the middle of midterms, a floor down in Powell Library, struggling to find my creative juices when I received a message from my fraternity’s group chat.
“Does anyone want to RV to Arizona tomorrow?”
The thoughts of my responsibilities dissipated as I directly messaged my Beta Theta Pi brother who begged the question. If I liked what I heard from him, I’d find a way to finish my paper and take a weekend off of school to make a 500 mile trip to Tucson, AZ.
We planned to split the drive between five brothers while six sorority girls, all with connections to U of A, tagged along in a spacious RV. Once there, we’d party through frat row before tailgating and watching the Bruins take on the Wildcats, an experience a college sports-crazed fan like myself lives for. I was unsure I’d get this opportunity again, so aside from the fact that I labored to generate a thesis for my English paper, I saw no risk—just a good time. The following 12 hours, I performed a wild balancing act between writing and getting ready for the weekend of my life. I typed a 10-page paper that I naively thought was superb. In reality I was rushing through an assignment worth 30 percent of my grade so that I could “send it” as soon as I stepped foot on the RV.
Unfortunately I had to wait a while before having any real fun. The main reason the bros asked the house if anyone wanted to come on short notice was because they needed someone (me) to be sober throughout the eight-hour journey so they could drink and I finish the drive. I now shouldered the responsibility of driving ten intoxicated individuals in an RV.
I took over the wheel in Wellton, AZ after another brother drove for about 30 minutes, arguing we weren’t too far off. In reality, we still had three hours left.
I was already five hours sober in an RV full of euphoric drunks. Three more couldn’t hurt?
The drive consisted mostly of maneuvering through heavy diesel trucks but aside from this, driving the RV wasn’t as bad as I expected. I did well, receiving good reviews from those aboard.
But the praise was short lived. The brother who planned the trip never once thought about where we’d park the RV after arriving in the middle of campus.
In search for a place to settle, I turned into a residential area where I drove the RV through a tree branch that sliced through the roof.
I vividly remember one of the girl yelling, “Stop!” But three hours driving a wide and heavy monster proved stressful and I floored past the branch. I never saw it.
At this point I started questioning every decision I made to this point. Here I was in Arizona, a long way from home thinking, “Why did I half ass my midterm for this? How much would it cost to repair the roof?” Luckily the group was nothing but supportive. The girls made me feel as though the incident was no big deal and implored me to forget about it. The bros meanwhile assessed the damages and gave me signs of encouragement, claiming it wasn’t bad and that we’d all split the cost.
After setting base in a Walmart parking lot, we Ubered to the college town bars as I desperately sought to make the trip worthwhile. After the incident everything came easy. Arizona exceeded my expectations as I abused my liver, partied through Arizona’s frat row on Parents Weekend and slept through most of the football game before leaving the stadium early after I peaked earlier in the day.
To make matters better the guys and I were able to finesse our way out of the damages to the RV because the rental place neglected inspecting the roof. Apart from the fact that I narrowly earned a passing grade for my paper, the trip that began with high expectations,
only to be dampened early on finished with a bang.
Was it worth the trip? Had the RV place discovered the damages it most certainly wouldn’t have. But they didn’t so I’ll trade a C paper for a memorable weekend that I’ll never forget for the rest of my life.