Well, school’s over for the year. You former freshman have moved back in with your parents and secured that summer job and, after the first couple of weeks, have discovered a sad truth: while you’re a college student, summers blow.
You’re working forty hour weeks in menial labor. None of your college buddies are around anymore. Your parents don’t seem to appreciate when you show up at your house drunk at 4 a.m. Your mom still does your laundry, but she’s sharing her car with you, so you have to let her know when you’re going anywhere. You never thought you’d ask this, but: is it September yet?
You call up the ever-dwindling number of people you still talk to from high school and see what they want to do, and at some point, somebody suggests going to the bar — you know, that crap-tastic small town dive bar filled with locals. Sure, why not? When you walk in, here’s what you can expect to find:
1. Former Homecoming Queen/Current Bartender
Right off the bat, you recognize one of the bartenders: she was one of the most popular girls in your graduating class. She recognizes you, too, and though she calls you by the wrong name, she’s happy to tell you her plans for enrolling in the nearby community college and learning Spanish. Then another song comes on, and she and the other bartender climb on top of the bar and do an awkward, theoretically arousing dance like two Coyote Ugly rejects.
2. The Regular
This is a kid from high school whom you’ve completely forgotten about, and might not have even recognized if your friend hadn’t nudged you and pointed him out. He’s at the end of the bar, talking idly with the owner. You don’t think much of it until later visits to the bar, when you see him in exactly the same spot, doing exactly the same thing, and never, ever moving.
3. The Middle-Aged Couple
Man, are these folks having a good time. Since it’s summer, the bar is filled with more college students than normal, making the two forty-five-year-olds stick out like sore thumbs. But they seem slightly too tipsy to know or care. Instead, they’re rocking out to the Bruce Springsteen song that’s playing, and no, they’re not good dancers. You don’t know whether to be happy for them or throw up in your mouth a little.
4. The Guy You Used to Hate
You have history with this guy. It’s no secret you both hated each other in high school. Maybe he was even a middle-school bully. Tonight, he’s clearly trashed, and treats you as though you’re his long-lost, presumed-dead brother. He comes out of nowhere to give you a hug, asks you about college, and even buys you a drink. You still secretly hate him, especially because he obviously forgot about this old grudge and you haven’t, but hey: free drink.
5. The Popular/Trashy Girl
The clique of popular girls from high school all walk into the bar together: they’re still friends and still live in town. Unfortunately, an extra year of smoking nonstop has not been kind: they’re not nearly as attractive as you remember. Some go up to chat with the bartender to see when she gets off so they can hang out; one of them spots you and says hi. This is a girl who wouldn’t give you the time of day in high school, and now it occurs to you that you have at least a reasonable chance of sleeping with her this summer — and even though she’s uglier now, that would be rather cool.
6. The Friends You Actually Came in With
These are easy to pinpoint: one will downright hate seeing all the people from high school, complain about it the entire night, and never talk to anybody outside your own group. One will barely even notice the people — he’ll be far more interested in consuming the large amount of alcohol he’s gotten used to drinking four nights a week in college. And one will have a bizarre, unexplained amount of knowledge about what everyone’s been doing for the past year. “That’s Meghan Conroy, from two grades ahead of us, remember? Yeah, I hear her dad just got cancer and she’s working at Pottery Barn.”
7. The Old Guy
A staple not just of your hometown bar, but every bar everywhere. Late in the night you’ll go up to grab another drink, and this drunk guy who’s pushing sixty will turn to you and mumble something about “these teasing sluts.” You chuckle politely, say “Yeah,” and wonder why the PBR is taking so long.
8. The College Girl Who Unfortunately is Now Better than You Are
In high school, this girl wasn’t that attractive and was always one of the brainy kids you either ignored or made fun of. Now she’s in the same boat as you — home from college and bored. When you go up to chat, you realize that she’s grown into herself, and as she starts talking about how fun her school is and how many extracurricular activities she’s doing, it hits you: unlike these other schmucks, she’s more successful than you are. What the hell is that all about? You politely excuse yourself from the conversation and go back to talking to people you can safely look down your nose at.