In what could be considered the final triumph over my social awkwardness, I finally found my place in college in the final months of my Freshman year. A group of friends had formed around my weekly Thursday night beer pong tradition and I had built for myself a social outlet to cure my weekend loneliness.
In the month leading up to finals and our group’s inevitable disbursement for Summer, what I thought was a brilliant idea came to me while I was pumping gas one already-miserably-hot- in- Florida May afternoon. It was a concept that would eventually assign a name to our doomed conglomerate of people who had no business hanging out with each other. The idea was this: If any of us had gone a full week without speaking, we should call, text, IM, or Facebook each other for a Keep In Touch Tuesday tradition. The idea was born from my colossal failures at keeping in touch with my friends back in Pensacola (failures that are ongoing to this day), but it soon resulted in a Facebook thread that would become the skeleton of our group’s destruction.
You see, we weren’t all friends based on a common interest or similar personality types. We were friends because beer. Some individuals bonded more and others, but for the most part, beer.
My Thursday night watch LOST and then get hammered thing began as me grabbing whomever I could interest to come into my room and be buddies for a little while. The population in that tiny dorm was initially made up of people living on my floor. Some of them actually became my pals. Others drank beer, had a good time and were never heard from again.
The moment Elle stepped foot in my smells-real-strong-like-dude dorm room, that all began to change. The first night she came over, she brought an empty-headed sorority girl that she was friends with from back home. That girl never came back, but Elle did. Every single week from that point forward. She began bringing different people each time (including my longtime friends Katie and Ashlyn – who like my girlfriend probably feel like they deserved to be mentioned more often in this blog!).
The combination of my hodgepodge of dorm community-mates and Elle’s endless parade of newcomers fused into the earliest manifestations of our group, which in a tremendously stupid move would eventually come to call themselves “KITT.” Keep In Touch Tuesday. We were literally calling ourselves Keep In Touch Tuesday. Those of us with enough sense to know that this was dumb just kept our mouths shut because everyone else seemed pretty happy with the group name.
As I have alluded to in previous posts, my friendship with Elle was always a ticking time bomb. We were studying the same thing. We both liked alcohol. Other than that, we had a similar sense of humor and a frequent tendency to be inebriated. There were a lot of key differences and personality clashes that we ignored because yay booze.
The origins of our grand friendship came on a fateful night when I drank myself into a state of hyperbolic appreciation. In a fatefully slurred series of sentences, I declared Elle my “BFF.” It might have been a joke, it might have been drunkenly sincere. Who can ever remember such things?
BFFs we remained for several months. We started planning short films and productions together, discussing possibilities for after graduation. That’s right. I told this girl she was my best friend while we were intoxicated and we soon found ourselves planning a future together.
That BFF status endured longer than it should have. After being turned down by the girl I liked (Mallory) and venting to Elle that I needed some space from her while I got over it, Elle delivered Mallory straight to my door within the next 12 hours in a move as stupid and self-centered as it was prophetic to our friendship’s collapse. They wanted to get drunk and have fun, Brantley’s broken heart be damned.
Elle was as “there for me” as she could be during the jumblefuck of The Last Girl I Ever Led On and The Greatest First Date Ever, though I had another outlet that was a far better shoulder to cry on. She presumably read my rants, ravings, and confessions as I communicated them to her through instant message, but she wasn’t all that great at consoling me or making me feel better. I didn’t hold it against her, because I’m not the greatest at giving advice either and also she was fun to hang out with when beer.
After a Summer full of hysterical and entertaining communication via the Keep In Touch Tuesday Facebook thread, our entire group of friends was thrilled to physically reunite in the Fall Semester of Sophomore year. What we didn’t know was that we hadn’t actually been around each other enough to discover that we didn’t actually get along, but that’s an epic that will unfold over a future series of strange anecdotes.
As for my BFF-dom with Elle, she joined a sorority that fall and our differences became more apparent. I’m sorry to generalize, but sororities tend to worry entirely too much about things that mean entirely too little. I appreciate that these events and social dynamics are important to the “sisters,” but to an outsider they are trivial, tedious, and nauseating. I did my best not to hold her Greek affiliation against her, but Elle and I were beginning to drift and become separate people in those first months of Sophomore year.
The space gave me enough breathing room to realize that Elle wasn’t a good person, and some of her faults would soon affect me personally in ways that became increasingly more difficult to forgive.
But that’s for another time.
Be on the look out for KITT posts with more details about how our group that was founded on a faulty friendships dramatically (read “ridiculously”) collapsed.