Stop me if you've heard this one before--a guy walks itno a bar. He gazes at the various patrons and demands to know one thing: "Who's the strongest in here?" A very muscular, bearded gentleman immediately rises from his lofty bar stool and bellows "I am the strongest one in here!" The first guy looks to the other man and says "Oh, great. Could you help me push my car to the nearest gas station?"
What? That wasn't funny? Well, neither was the situation my friend Kameron found himself in on Monday evening, the first in a series of events that led to, believe it or not, a night that would later be full of laughs.
Monday evening just so happened to be my only day off from work all week, as well as one of my only days off in the couple weeks before I head back to Caldwell for the start of classes. Naturally, I hoped to use this evening as one of the summer's last hurrahs of debauchery. The night before, I made plans with my three closest local friends (Kameron, Jordan and Scott) to visit Big Al's, the new bowling alley/arcade that opened up in Meridian yards away from Marshalls' new location. Not only had I not been bowling for almost the entire summer, the hype surrounding this place was becoming almost mythical. My parents had stopped by a few days earlier and gave the place a rave review. Friends on Facebook claimed to have won hundreds of tickets in its arcade. I wanted in on this action, and I wanted my friends in on it as well.
Those plans fell through, unfortunately, when Jordan had to back out of the trip. He marches in BSU's Blue Thunder marching band on scholarship, and would be stuck at their practice for much longer than he anticipated the previous night. As a result, Big Al's would have to wait--we would go as a foursome or not at all. This would have been disappointing enough if not for Kameron's car throwing a hissy fit on the way to meet with Scott and I for a general hang out session. Scott received a cyrptic message from our automotively challenged pal saying that we should get to the Target he was stranded at ASAP, and that we should bring several gallons of water to aid his overheating vehicle. Luckily Kameron knew what he was doing, because Scott and I have about as much expertise with cars as fish have with breathing above water. Nevertheless, we sped over with about four gallons of water in tow, blasting bands like The Beatles and Oasis on the way.
I don't pretend to know anything about engines or cars, so once all three of us found each other in Target's parking lot, I pretty much stood back and let Kameron work his magic on the engine. I can't really tell you how the engine overheated with any amount of confidence, but I guess there was some sort of evaporation issue that caused a filter to explode? I don't know, really. In any case, all three of us probably looked all sorts of confused to passersby as we stared at the engine for several minutes, unsure of what action to take. Still, whatever the problem was, pouring a bunch of water into a convieniently placed hole seemed to do the trick, since the car ran fine afterward. Scott and I followed Kameron back to his house to make sure his car wouldn't explode again, and after successfully arriving with nary a hint of engine trouble, we piled into Scott's car and made the trip to Phoenix Fire Games.
It may not have been Big Al's, but the atmosphere at Phoenix Fire is a different sort of fun. This Meridian game store is the best place to go for any sort of tabletop game you have in mind. Dungeons and Dragons, Warhammer 40K, Magic: The Gathering--name it, and the fine folks at Phoenix Fire likely support it. Not only is their staff friendly and knowledgable, their play area is easily the most comfortable place to enjoy a few casual rounds of any game that strikes your fancy. So that night, instead of bowlers, the three of us were Planeswalkers. Not a bad trade. Finishing off the niight with half off milkshakes at Sonic was the perfect cap to the day off after driving all around Meridian most of the day.
I thought I would be unhappy when my big plans for Big Al's falling through, but really, it's all about attitude. The night started bad and got worse, but my friends and I didn't stop until we made it get better. I suppose staying optimistic in the face of adversity is always a good lesson to revisit, especially with classes getting closer and closer. And really, being with friends is always going to be fun no matter where you decide to go.
Clayton is a sophomore creative writing major from Meridian, Idaho.