The End, Pt. 2

May 31, 2013

The End, Pt. 2

Well, that’s The End of High School.

Perhaps some will say that High School isn’t really over until we walk at graduation or take our diploma. But I can’t help but feel that it’s really…done. Because this next week will be filled with the formalities of graduation, it’s not actually school. As of yesterday at 9:59, we no longer had any obligations to attend a class at Gull Lake High School. If you ask me, it’s over.

But that’s okay. Because after 9:59, I spent the afternoon with some of the greatest people on the planet.

The Group

The trip we took to South Haven was a huge success. After setting up camp, we spent the afternoon having a blast on the coast of Lake Michigan. The sun was high, the sand was hot, the water was frigid, the times were good, and the chips were warm and greasy from laying out.

Feet

In general, there was a buzz of joy in the air. There was also quite a bit of sand flying in the air. But that was mostly due to the hole Logan decided to dig. He even brought shovels and everything. For some bizarre reason, he felt this intense desire to…dig a hole. I suppose he’s free to do whatever he wants, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t slightly odd. I’m trying not to see symbolism in the fact that a bunch of High School Seniors dug themselves a hole on their first day of break.

Logan

Anyway, when we weren’t helping Logan dig, we were chasing each other into the ice bath that was Lake Michigan. Or we were playing a rag-tag game of 500 (a game played with a football and points are given out to those that can catch it). Or we were taking walks down to the impressive pier that stretched proudly into Lake Michigan’s waters. Or we just…laid around.

Carly

Later, as the afternoon began succumbing to night, we moved camp to one of the grills located by the pier. Logan and Maxson fired up the grill and threw hot dogs, burgers, and pizzas on there for us all to eat. We had ourselves a little picnic. Storm clouds threatened to dampen the party’s mood, but there were very few things on Earth that could ruin the elation we felt.

Digging

Because we had finally done it. It doesn’t even seem real to me yet. But it’s true. It is all over. Every single class since the first one I took on our first day of High School, Freshman English, all the way to the last class I was in before we left, AP Literature. They’re over.

If I had to look at this blog as a story, I would say this is the climax. The moment of highest tension. The moment when that last bell rang at 9:59 and High School ended. The moment that I’ve marked as: The End. Of course, there’s still a little bit of resolution to get through.

In any case, a day at the beach with a great group of kids was the perfect way to end High School.

Zach

When I started this blog, I mentioned pretty frequently that I was scared of this moment. The End. But I think I’m okay. It’s not so bad. My time at the beach made it strikingly evident that I’d still have my friends. What more could I ask for?

Jacob

So, I’m looking forward.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

Forward

Senior Spring Break

For my Senior Spring Break, I was given the amazing opportunity to join the Snow and Hostetler family in their trip to Pensacola Beach, Florida. Truly, I couldn’t possibly thank them enough. Their generosity and their patience exceeded even the most absurd expectations. I mean, I was down there with eleven other kids, all of us running around like chickens with our heads cut off…I don’t know how they put up with us.

I can still remember the first day, when we pulled up to the beach house we’d be staying in. My jaw dropped. The house almost looked like Atlas, holding the sky upon it’s shoulders. It was raised up on high stilts and the frame of the house seemed to be reaching upwards. Balconies were attached to nearly every room and they looked like hands, supporting the clouds. It took all my willpower to help unload instead of taking off in a dead sprint to see the inside of the house.

When I finally did see the inside, my jaw dropped even further. I must’ve looked like some of the fish we’d be eating later that week. The house was amazing. I didn’t think I’d have any trouble spending a week there.

A Senior Spring Break comprised mostly of boys meant a few things: Primarily, crude jokes frequently resounded throughout the already noisy house. Secondly, farting and belching suddenly became everyone’s favorite pastime. And thirdly, food disappeared from the cupboards like we were hosting very crafty mice. (Although, Mikayla and Kylee probably had something to do with that third thing.)

Mikayla and Kylie Makin' Bank

Reflecting upon the week, I still remember certain highlights with a warm fondness. Like when we took to the skies and went parasailing. Or when we went with Mikayla and Kylee down to the Boardwalk and had them hula-hoop for money (they made $22). Or when we made a sand sculpture in front of our house that resembled a very voluptuous woman. Or when Ben, Brady, and I went into the ocean on a windy day and got tossed around like dolls in the rough surf. Or even the rainy day that we spent inside…playing Pokemon and Super Smash Bros. Brawl. There were so many moments during this break where I just had to look around for a moment…and appreciate that these were my people, these were my friends, and these were my teenage memories that I was making. And it was in these brief moments that I found myself smiling the fullest.

IMG_0737

Most fondly, though…I remember the balconies. There was something about those balconies that really stuck with me. I think every beach house should have a million balconies. The more obvious reason is that it provides everyone with an outlet to see the ocean, which is always a plus. But as the week progressed, I began to see another reason. Almost every night, I found myself on a balcony with our group of Senior boys. In particular, we liked to stand on the highest balcony, the one attached to the roof. It was almost as if we had to physically express our current state of elation. All of us were filled with such high spirits, we could’ve touched the moon…And when we climbed to the highest balcony, we were saying: “Why not give it a try?” I think every beach house needs to be A House Full of Balconies because anyone who’s on vacation in a beach house…

Well, I’m thinkin’ they’ll wanna try and touch the moon, too.

You wanna know the funny think about this blog post? I wrote it Friday morning as I lay awake in bed, waiting for Brady and Zach to wake up. We hadn’t left Florida yet. And I made that comment about wanting to touch the moon, right? Well, Friday night we were out on the back porch when suddenly Austin said: “Look at the ocean! The waves are neon!”

Sure enough, the ocean waves were glowing.

It only took a few seconds for the entirety of our Spring Break crew to be down on the beach, looking in awe at tiny, blue, glowing specks that littered the water and shore.

“It must be some kind of fluorescent algae,” Mr. Snow observed.

Whatever it was, it was amazing. We immediately began playing with this latest discovery. Digging a hole in the shore resulted in a pool of water and a high concentration of the glow being left behind, as opposed to it being swept away by the waves. Scooping up a bucket of water and splashing it anywhere created a sort of “ground firework”.

The thing that really stood out to me, though, was when I scooped up a small handful of the algae covered sand…the tiny blue spots on the dark sand made Zach say:

“It’s almost like you’re holding the night sky.”

So, we didn’t quite touch the moon. But we got the next best thing:

We held the stars.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

The Quest for Fast Food

August 21, 2012

And so we begin, right? If there is anyone reading this, you’re doing it, presumably, for some form of entertainment, you want to hear more about the Life of an Idiot. So, it’s story time. My first story is dated. The Quest for Fast Food happened many months ago…my Junior year Spring Break…

*Insert Dreamy Transition*

I was vacationing down in Panama City Beach with some of my best friends of all time. When in conversations with my parents, to save time, they are most commonly referred to as: “The Cross Country Guys”. However, this particular trip did not feature the entire team, only a handful of us made it to Party City, USA. It was me, Nate, Jeremy, Sam, Zach, Pop-Tarts, Dallas, and Ryan. We had the time of our lives. A bunch of teenage boys given free reign over a beach city packed to the brim with other teenagers on Spring Break? Can you say: recipe for success?

Well, it was mostly successful. There was one night, though, that our good buddy David (dubbed Pop-Tarts…that’s a funny story, I’ll have to tell you it sometime: “How David Became Pop-Tarts”) really got on our nerves. It should suffice to say that he was being very…difficult. Without going too far into unnecessary details, (so we may focus on the main point of this story) the group at large was thankful when it was time for bed. There were a few of us, though, who decided that bed was not enough comfort after such an annoying night…we needed sustenance. We needed Fast Food.

The Quest for Fast Food began with 5 of us getting grumpily into a van. There was me, Jeremy, Sam, Ryan, and Dallas. Nate, Zach, and Pop-Tarts had stayed behind. So, we set out into the night, in Quest of adventure and greasy treats. Had we known what we would endure that night…perhaps we would’ve stayed back. Perhaps we would’ve given up on burgers and fries. Perhaps we would’ve quivered in our very skin just from knowledge of the horrors…

“To Sonic!” cried Sam “I’m in desperate need of a shake.” Off we went, our first stop on this trip of terror was Sonic, the Drive-In Diner. We rolled up to one of the available windows (there were quite a few) and sat there for a good ten minutes as everyone debated what they would be ordering. Finally, when everyone was settled on their choice, we pressed the order button. Before we could get one word out, though…

“Sorry, our computers are down…” said the Sonic worker. If hateful thoughts could kill, this world would be down quite a few Sonic employees. With Sam near tears, we all nursed our wounds as we set off to our second choice: McDonald’s. Since when have the Golden Arches ever let down those in need of some grease covered comfort food? It was the logical choice.

We could sense trouble was afoot as we drove into the McDonald’s parking lot. The Drive-Thru line almost wrapped the Fast Food joint entirely in an automobile cocoon. To complicate matters, the line coming out of the front door didn’t look any friendlier. I’ve never heard five teenage boys whimper like we did. Always the optimist, I attempted (deeply in denial) to salvage the situation:

“Maybe it’s not that long of a wait…” I said. I mean, it is Fast Food, right? Just at that moment, two stately looking young gentleman came stumbling by…

“Man! Don’t even botha’, it’s like an hour wait!” they cried. All of our hearts sank. Despair started creeping into our stomachs…and, at the same time, a sudden passion for Fast Food. With renowned vigor, we set forth once again. Where to now, though? On a suggestion from Ryan, we drove to where we thought a Chik-Fil-A was.

Twenty minutes of driving later, Ryan admits that he’s a little lost…With about ten minutes worth of backtracking, we finally find the Chik-Fil-A. Of course, the reason we didn’t see it when we drove past the first time was because it was closed…all the lights were off. In our desperation, we went through the Drive-Thru anyway and screamed at the speaker for about ten minutes.

To say that I wasn’t hungry before we left would be an understatement. I really wasn’t. Some fries just sounded nice, I wasn’t actually “hungry”, per say. Now, however, it felt like I’d been starved my whole life and if I didn’t get a burger in the next five minutes, Sam would have to do as a midnight snack. It’s funny what desperation can do to you.

We left Chik-Fil-A with a fiery passion. Hitting up 3 Fast Food joints and nearly an hour of driving had yielded no favorable results. We still found ourselves without fries and shakes. All this time, by the way, our anger at Pop-Tarts skyrocketed. Obviously, it was his fault the computers at Sonic were down. Clearly, he was responsible for the back up at McDonald’s. Of course, it was Pop-Tarts who closed the Chik-Fil-A. It was all his fault. Dang that Pop-Tarts.

Through his tears, Sam whimpered that we should try Sonic again…to see if their computers were fixed. We were foolish boys living in a foolish daydream. Tonight had already proven it was not our friend. Why would our luck suddenly change now? Of course Sonic’s computers were still down. We left with our tails between our legs. Had Fast Food been nothing but a fever dream?

One last stop. One last chance. This had to be it: Burger King. It may not have been our first choice, (or our second (or our third)) but it looked open. Was this it? Would we finally get what we had Quested for? Was Fast Food really within our reach? The answer: Yes.

The greasy aroma of burgers, fries, onion rings, and chicken soon filled the car. We decided that this food was to valuable to just inhale on the way back to the hotel, we would eat it properly once we got back. However, there was no way in any Universe that Pop-Tarts (who’s a total mooch) was getting any of our Food (not after he’d shut down Sonic’s computers for so long…) So, we decided to eat our midnight snack in the lobby.

The night was almost over. One last challenge awaited us: The Idiots at Burger King hadn’t given us any ketchup or ranch or…anything! Just Food waited in our bags, there were no condiments. Sam, Dallas, and Ryan were ready to give up and just call it good with the Food…but not Jeremy and I.

This was America, was it not? The land of the brave and the home of the free or something like that! We would not sit there and eat food that we were not satisfied with! We deserved ranch! We deserved ketchup! We deserved condiments! Not only did we deserve them, we demanded them! Together, Jeremy and I sprinted across the street to a smelly old gas station where our delicious sauces awaited us. Only in America can two random kids get burger toppings at 2:00 in the morning.

It had taken us two hours. It had taken us five stops at four different Fast Food joints. It had taken us blood, sweat, and tears. It had taken us one trip to a shifty gas station. But we did it. We finally got the Fast Food meal we so deserved. Fast Food had never tasted so dang good.

Though the Quest for Fast Food seemed ridiculous and annoying at the time, I can’t help but reflect back upon it with the biggest of smiles. That trip to Panama City Beach was amazing and probably one of the best Spring Breaks I’ve ever had…yet, here I am telling you about a random Fast Food trip we took. The Quest for Fast Food, I believe, holds an important Truth…especially in the Life of an Idiot.

You could plan out every single day of your Life with events of so much grandeur that the Queen of England would weep at the sight of such a schedule…but you’ll never live as full a Life as those of us who know that the best memories are made through spontaneity. The best memories are made when you’re not planning to make them. They’re when you turn over a rock and find flowers waiting for you, instead of worms. They’re when you find your favorite restaurant after making a wrong turn. They’re when you round a corner and find there’s a festival happening downtown. They’re when you and a bunch of your closest friends decide one night that they’re hungry…and they want to go on a Quest for Fast Food.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)