My trip to Towson

There are some things in life I just won’t miss: the Super Bowl, McDonalds Monopoly and Dillo Day at Northwestern. The first two are self explanatory. But to clarify the third: For those of you who don’t know, Northwestern doesn’t have the most rambunctious party scene. Don’t get me wrong, we party, but not as much as other schools. It’s as if the founders of Northwestern made a deal with God that went something like this:

I actually do not love Towson

Founders: So we’ve got some pretty good academics, but would you mind throwing in a huge, rampant party scene? We don’t want to be like those South Side snobs who study all day.

God: Sorry guys, we all know nerds don’t party. You can have a couple shitty bars though.

Founders: Come on man. We’ve got to brave Chicago weather, not to mention sports teams, for nine months. Cut us some slack.

God: Fine, you can have a day at the end of May. It will be called Dillo Day, and no one will be sure why.

Founders: Deal.

So we’ve got one day all year to have fun. On top of that, I missed it last year to watch this guy. As you can imagine, I was pretty pumped for this year. Plus, with Regina Spektor, Guster and Nelly all performing, there was no way I was going to miss it.

As it turns out, I missed it.

One week prior to Dillo Day I found out I wouldn’t be attending. Rather I would be going to Towson, Maryland, to cover women’s lacrosse. I would explain, but I’m still pissed off.

To be fair, when I say “cover women’s lacrosse,” I mean cover the most successful college sports team of the past half decade, Northwestern’s five-time defending national champion lacrosse team. That was my saving grace. Because believe me, I would not miss Dillo Day to cover any women’s lacrosse game.

My journey started Friday morning at the Milwaukee Airport. I was pretty rushed at the airport so I don’t remember much, but I do remember the area where you put your life together after going through security is called the “Recombobulation area.” Which apparently is somewhat of a prank. Airport security, you jokesters!

I met up with a friend when I got to Maryland and we drove over to my hotel so I could check in. The cheapest rates I could find where at the Ramada Inn, which doesn’t even look nice on the website. Also, the first review that comes up after googling “Towson Ramada Inn” is this: “The place was dirty and decrepit. The neighborhood was creepy and rundown.” Need I say more?

Saturday I woke up late and headed over to a local Rite Aid to pick up a card reader for my camera. I didn’t have a car, so I ended up taking a walking tour through Towson. Unfortunately I didn’t bring any normal clothes (regardless, the only clothes I own are polos and khakis). So I strolled through Towson in my long-sleeve polo, khakis and dress shoes.

(As an aside, this post is not meant as tirade against Towson. It’s really a great town, with some very notable contributions to society, including Elaine Benes, Spiro Agnew and a draw queen named Divine. My hatred is just misdirected anger over missing this live performance of “Grillz”).

After I bought the card reader I went to a nearby McDonalds to pick up food for the night, not knowing if I would have any other option. The only food establishment I remember seeing near the Ramada Inn was a place called Cheesy’s Pizza (apparently they’re still experimenting with their web site), where extra large pizzas are $5.99 on Tuesdays. To be honest Cheesy’s crossed my mind, but (a) it was Saturday and (b) I could never do that to my heart.

Sure enough, when I got back to my hotel I realized there was a McDonalds on the other side of the street.

After I got back I took a nap and woke up in time to see Roy Halladay finish his perfect game. I knew there wouldn’t be another perfect game for at least a week, so I figured I had to watch the end of this one.

Because Sunday’s game was at 5:30 p.m., I went to bed around 5 a.m. thinking I would just wake up late. As it happened, I woke up several times earlier when the room service ladies knocked on the door. Each time I pretended to be asleep, and they went away. But one time they didn’t go away. They kept knocking and finally opened the door a little bit. This time my fake sleeping didn’t fool them.

“Please come to the door!”

I opened the door and they asked me if I had checked out. No, I told them, I was going to do it later that afternoon. Turns out I was supposed to check out at noon.

It was 1.

The cleaning lady gave me ten minutes to pack up all my stuff. In my mind it was like when God gave Moses one night to cross the Red Sea, only on a somewhat smaller scale. At first I thought that would be impossible, but it turned out to be surprisingly simple. The hardest part was deciding whether to take the air freshner I had bought because the room was a smoking room (I left it). I’m sure Moses encountered a similar problem.

I would write about the championship game, but I already did. I was up all Sunday night writing, so my plan was to doze off the second the plane took off. On the plane I was sitting next to two large women, which normally would have bothered me, but I fell right asleep. The plane ride is mostly a blur, although I do vaguely remember the women looking at me and trying to talk to me when I woke up. I probably should have said something or acknowledged them in some way, but I was too tired.

If you’ve gotten to this point I’m somewhat sorry. This is my longest and most self-centered Pretzel Day post, so please forgive me. If I hadn’t decided to cover the lacrosse team, you would be reading crazy stories about my numerous hook-ups and run-ins with the law on Dillo Day. But because I chose journalism over alcoholism, I was able to recount my experiences in Towson, Maryland.

And I’m a better man because of it.


1 Response to “My trip to Towson”

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