Life as a college student in the late twentieth century could leave you a little disconnected from society. See, most people didn’t have cell phones, the internet was essentially in its infancy, and heck, we didn’t even have cable TV most of the time I was in college. Maybe someone could pick up the local radio station, but mostly people’s boom boxes blasted competing musical genres from CD’s. Life as an architecture student was even more isolated. I would go days without seeing my roommates, as we spent most of our time in studio. We actually drew on paper and had to do that outside of our 8 foot by 8 foot dorm rooms.
Our kind (architecture students) would miss entire world events sequestered away at our drafting tables. I remember, or rather fail to remember, the following events:
The October 1993 deaths of 18 US soldiers in Somalia
The February 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center
The November 1994 death of Tupac
The April 1995 Bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City
You’d think there was no good news in the early 90’s. But it seems that nearly all of these times corresponded with a massive design critique in architecture school. World events were of secondary concern.
The same was true of holidays. In 1996, I should have had my first Valentine’s Day with the woman who is now my wife. Nay Nay. Turns out, our professors decided that we should spend the holiday with them working on our thesis for the last major critique prior to completion. Lucky for me, my girlfriend was in architecture too. Convenient, right? So we decided to celebrate the day after Valentine’s Day.
In somewhat related circumstances, after 10 semesters worth of tuition, we decided to limit our gifts to each other to ten dollars. After some well-deserved sleep, and an overdue shower and shave, I went over to my girlfriend’s apartment. Most everyone else who celebrated the holiday had already done so by this time, but I had a small bundle of goodies to share with my honey. When I say bundle, I mean a plastic bag from the convenience store I stopped at on the way over. Romantic, huh? Go ahead, you jump to your conclusion and see how you feel in the next paragraph…
When we met up, we each held our “gifts” behind our backs. On the count of three, we exchanged them like hostages. I reached into the bag I received and found nearly identical chocolate treats to those I had purchased. We looked at each other, laughed, and realized that we both bought candy the day after Valentine’s Day at a heavily discounted price! That makes the chocolate even sweeter to me, and I might add that my wife regularly looks for day-after-the-holiday goodies to this day. Continuing on to the card, we each had added a scratch off lottery ticket to the other’s envelope.
In the end, love overcomes all, including mean old architecture professors. Consequently, my wife and I continue to limit our Valentine’s Day spending to $20 (we adjusted for inflation).