I was so jet lagged for my eighteenth birthday, but it holds the record as my longest birthday clocking in at about 35 hours long due to starting in Germany and finishing in California.
At my birthday party, I was introduced to Roger Zelazny by two friends from my calculus class. And I was given a pound of Ghiradelli dark chocolate by my girl friend. My dog at the time would end up eating it, and nearly dying from chocolate poisoning. He was sick all over the white wall and rug of the steps. I was along at the time, my parents being out sightseeing with my visiting aunt and uncle. And if you'll remember I was on crutches at the time, and this was before cell phones. He almost didn't make it. I was just lucky that my parents came home when they did.
This year I started my long career at California State University, Sacramento. I lived in Sutter Hall, and started right up in the marching band. This kept all of my weekends full, but that was okay because my girl friend was going to one of the Claremont Colleges down south.
I did see her at the high school homecoming football game, and then again over Christmas when I did one of the stupidest things in my life. I took dating advice from my mother, and broke up with my girl friend suggesting we date other people (word implanted in my head by my mother). It devastated both of us, and it would be almost a year before I would really be dating again.
There might have been an attempt to patch things up, but I decided to go to Yosemite with an older woman, and her friends from marching band for spring break. I'd say possibly second stupidest thing, but Yosemite was awesome, and I doubt if I ever would have climbed Yosemite Falls again.
The best thing to come out of this year was meeting my present best friend (aside from my wife). John played saxophone in the marching band, and we knew of each other, each thinking the other was older than us, but we never really hung out. Then one weekend when there was no football game, I was visiting the comic book store in Pleasant Hill call Land of Nevawuz. I'm there looking at the back issues on the wall, when I turn around and see John. We chat for a bit, and I find out he went to high school in Lafayette, and he was home visiting his parents like I was.
The rest of the year, I saw him around the dorms, and we were nodding friends, but that was about it.
That summer, I started part time work in Concord at what would become one of the few remaining Sizzler's around. I worked the "Cold Side" taking orders and serving drinks and desserts. And chatting with the waitresses.