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About Last Night

This Week: A ride-along on a party bus that takes college kids to the downtown bars.

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June 9, 2012

Every Thursday night, my friends and I sit on the Independent Bar patio, crush a few beers and watch the horde of drunk 20-somethings stumble down Orange Avenue. We weren't sure where all of these drunk kids were coming from, but eventually we discovered the source: each night, an unremarkable white coach dumped its payload and flooded downtown with blowouts, broken high heels and bad decisions.

My friend Chuck and I decided to Google "Orlando Party Bus" after we solved the mystery. Three or four sites popped up, each assuring the "ultimate party experience" with bikinied women leaning over white powdered beaches, friends posing in front of the Orlando Skyline on a rooftop deck somewhere. One of the bus lines, its website said, picks up at UCF every Saturday night, providing trips downtown and entrance into select nightclubs for $10. A simple phone call reserves your seat. Two weeks later, we were party-bus-bound.

9:30 p.m.
I roll into my friend's apartment across from campus. There are many beers on his kitchen counter. We chug them to the sweet sounds of Starship's "We Built This City on Rock and Roll," like the badasses we are, and leave toward campus for pick-up.

10:26 p.m.
The road into UCF is jammed with traffic from a nearby high school graduation. This makes Drunk Me upset. I yell at the cars that poor decisions are of the essence, and would they kindly move their asses along. They can't hear me, but it feels pretty nice. Also, I have yet to wet myself. So far, so good.

10:32 p.m.
On campus, we find two white, unmarked coaches idling quietly in a parking lot. The first bus has a line of maybe seven people jawing at each other outside. Some guy wearing a fluorescent pink Oxford shirt and black slacks is standing by the bus door. He must be the doorman, although he wears nothing to suggest as much. We fork over our cash, get banded and take our seats.

10:47 p.m.
The bus is relatively empty. The cabin lights are dark. My buzz has dulled some, and I realize this is how many a horror film settles in, right before the maiming starts. I begin asking around the bus for more alcohol.
Me: "Hey, this is pretty weird. Have you ridden this thing before?"
Kid Behind Me with Bottle and Braces: "Nah, it's my first time. You want some? It's African wine."
Me: "African wine? Are you a student here?
KBMWB&B: "Nope, I just graduated from high school, over there."
Me: "... Oh."

10:50 p.m.
I hear rustling and voices outside. Seemingly out of nowhere, a reveling horde has emerged in the parking lot. Students carry bottles and cans and entire handles full of alcohol. I find myself fast becoming the Least Drunk and Most Boring Person Around very quickly. I am violently shamed.

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