There was this drinking game in college – I’m sure you’ve all heard of it or played it at some point. It’s called “I never.” A table full of people takes turns announcing things that they’ve never done. An example might be, “I’ve never eaten Jello.” Then, people at the table who HAVE eaten Jello have to take a drink of whatever tasty beverage they have in front of them. It’s a game of strategery (sometimes you say “I never xyz” even when you have, and then you have to drink too). It’s also a good way of getting to know a group of people you don’t know very well, or a way of bonding (I suppose) with people you DO know.
I was thinking today about the things I used to use, my trump cards in the “I never” game. “I never got a driver’s license” was a good one; most people had done that. “I’ve never been outside of the United States.” “I’ve never slept with more than one person.” “I’ve never smoked pot.” That last one is still true, but the others have changed with time and experience. The last time I played “I never” was with a group of people all staying the weekend at a friend’s cabin at Lake Tahoe one Fourth of July weekend, and by the end of the trip I felt like I knew all those people really well, because we’d spent a long weekend together, had swum in the frigid and gold-dust-filled lake, had taken hikes and gone exploring, and had played “I never” into the wee hours. I was friends with several of them for a couple of years after that, though everyone went separate ways after graduation and the friend who’s family owned the cabin ended up dropping out of school and moving home with her parents after a series of embarassing pathological lies came to light and she got caught embezzeling money from our co-op. I do hope she got better.
It’s much harder these days to find groups of people to call friends; to make new friends in social situations, at parties. It’s much harder to go away for long weekends with large groups of people when everybody has responsibilities and jobs and lives and significant others. I suppose that a little of that is recaptured when we go to the cabin, but we usually know everyone who goes and “I never” is of little use. I hope that my next job has more people who are younger and in a similar life stage to Dan and I, because spending three years surrounded by people an entire generation (and sometimes two) older than I has been a bit of a damper on my social life. I’d like to meet more people, make new friends here in Denver, and I’m hoping that some of the same people are at tomorrow’s dance class. I’ve got some other ideas about meeting new people, especially now that we have a car and don’t have to limit ourselves to events within walking distance.
Though “I never” was a fun college drinking game, looking back on it, I’m glad it wasn’t something that people I knew continued doing past college. Because nobody really needs to know that much about a group of other people they’ve just met. Some stories are better left for times after you’ve known someone a while. And I would have to come up with an entire new set of “I nevers,” since my old ones are outdated. Heck, I can’t use “I never went to a post-Folsom Street Fair after party and saw someone getting paddled while wrapped in Saran Wrap,” “I never saw a huge group of babies who wore split pants instead of diapers,” or “I never met (or dated )(or got engaged to) someone from the internet.” If anyone used those around me, I’d just have to take a drink.