College Years '89-'94
Any given night after Mu Upsilon, the Brooklyn College Chapter of Sigma Alpha Mu, have thrown one of our famous, well-attended club parties at Club Quick, Mars, Danceteria or the like, the brotherhood, having had our fill of beer and shots, reconvenes back in our home borough for late night/early morning munchies.The Floridian
is the popular spot.
A motley caravan, a la Cannonball Run, wends its way through streets and highways. Somehow, we all arrive at the same time.
The owner seats us with a scowl, a warning. Behave
. The furious scratching of pen on paper is all you can hear from the wait staff as cheeseburger deluxes and multiple servings of french fries, smothered in mozzarella cheese with a sides of gravy are ordered.
Waiting, the conversation is spirited. Everyone's playfully jabbing at one another, good-natured ribbing. Other patrons frown as laughing perturbs the previously tranquil environment.
Food comes. The tables quiet some, but not much. Everything is consumed voraciously and with abandon, youth and metabolism on our side. With deep sated sighs and the clanking of utensils, well, if anyone was civilized enough to use them, it signifies the end of eating. Thoughts turn to impending and inescapable sleep.
Hands motion and wiggle in the air calling for the check.
There's always some disagreement over the gratuity and how much each should contribute. Someone cries poverty while having eaten the most. One tries to skip out and is inexorably brought to task on the spot. And still, the bill is short. Eventually the check is settled.
We bid goodnight to one another and scatter to our respective rides, certain to repeat the night's events soon if not tomorrow.Fast Forward
Last Wednesday. A week long series of emails brings the alumni brothers of Mu Upsilon, Brooklyn College Chapter of Sigma Alpha Mu together for a drink and catch-up at Merchant's
on the upper east side. They file in slowly and separately, coming from different areas of the city.
Each new arrival elicits exclamations of surprise, shouts of greeting and a renewed round of hearty handshakes and hugs.
The room fills yet feels empty. So many brothers I'd would've like to see, aren't here. Then again, the room is really full. Metabolism has slowed for everyone, and most have capitulated in the battle of the bulge. Also notice a great deal of thinness in the upper hair region for most people. These two points, however, don't apply to me.
Most remarked to me, "You haven't changed."
After a few hours and many rounds of drinks, we move the gathering over to Brasserie
, where one of the brothers (the chapter's founding father, as a matter of fact) is executive chef.
Quietly, we settle up our tabs with little to no problems, beside the occasional, "how'd that get on my bill?"
The restaurant is gorgeous. I feel like a bull in a china shop. But we're expected and welcomed immediately.
As soon as we're seated, trays of appetizers start to roll out of the kitchen. We have some deliciously prepared mini-burgers and fries, not unlike so long ago, accompanied with shrimp tempura, tuna tartar, oysters, clams, ceviche and steak tartar. Goodness.
Everyone digs in. Some more than others. It's late, I have a bite or two. I know better. Some refrain, cautiously. Food allergies.
It's getting close to midnight, the night winds down. Jersey folks first. I'm the second wave out.
More hugs. Good-byes are said, as are promises and hopes of "doing this again real soon." I hope so, but realistically, who knows?
Labels: fraternity, friends