My excuse? It was accidental. I just got hammered because it tasted good.
JCrew and I went out on Saturday night. By the grace of god, she had obviously bonked her head that morning because she offered to drive her Escalade all the way to West Duluth to pick me up. Just like a real live date.
"You don't have to do that," I said.
"I've already got my coat on," she said.
"Oh, well ..." I said.
"See you in a half hour," she said.
We went downtown to not-the-kind-of-bar-where-either-of-us-especially-me-usually-hangs-out. It's one of those bars where "Sex and the City" rams boob-first into the crew from "Entourage." It's a bar pulsing with strobe lights and man nipples. A place where everyone looks like they got dressed in Katy Perry's underwear drawer.
"Excuse me," this girl in 9-inch stilettos asked JCrew's friend while we were crowded into the bathroom. "Do you know how to make my hair, like, poof?" She tugged at her tresses and formed a helpless pout.
One time when I was leaving this bar with Chuck he said: "If this place exploded behind us, I wouldn't even turn around."
I sipped something clear very slowly, and about an hour and a half later had another that I sipped almost as slowly. I wasn't at all annoyed about being there any more than I'd be annoyed about being dropped into any Animal Planet reality program sponsored by Axe Body Spray. It was interesting. Until I reminded myself that if I was single, I'd be thrust into this environ occasionally and forced to talk about the peaks and valleys of Linkin Park's discography with a guy wearing a soccer jersey and sipping a drink peppered with protein powder endorsed by the cast of Jersey Shore.
Then I just got sad.
One of JCrew's college friends was in town, a woman who had apparently been fairly deep in her cups while the sun was still shining. By now she was air-grinding and making slightly mermaid-ian squeaks. She tottered robotically toward JCrew, her arms akimbo, her squeaks increasing in a celebratory way. She got a single plod from JCrew when someone bumped into her, sending her spinning back the direction she came from. She squeaked herself away, seemingly forgetting that she had even seen JCrew.
We paraded to an enclosed area littered with cigarette butts. A barback on a recycling mission busted us in what was the employees-only smoking alcove.
"You can't be in here," he said.
It was a liberating moment. My goody-good flight instinct fully drowned by my realization that the worst thing he could do was kick us out of a bar I loathe.
"There are cigarette butts all over the floor," JCrew's friend L said.
"It's for employees only," he responded.
L took a drag of her cigarette, looked at him, and said: "So can I get a job?"
Eventually L gathered up the drunk college friend into the proverbial slop pail, and JCrew and I lit out for another destination. This time, a place where I'm more comfortable.
It was dead. Eight people at the bar. And this is a place that requires a crowd to drown out the sounds of its grim narrative. We beat a hasty retreat.
We went to another bar, the slightly-less morally reprehensible sister bar to the first. Another of JCrew's friends from high school was there. A fellow with a faux hawk and a Northern Minnesota accent so deep that his O's sound like they should be wearing flannel fur-lined ear flaps.
Disaster hit. An otherwise pretty sober-ish night mucked up by a raspberry flavored martini in a glass rimmed with Pop Rocks. I had two. Quickly. From zero to "sure I'll have a shot" in like nine sips.
I thought I was in the safety zone. Post 1:30 a.m., what are the odds you'll suddenly get hammered. Rookie. Suddenly I was hammered. Epically hammered.
Hammered enough to stumble inside from the cab and immediately heave Pop Rocks all over the entryway and my hair. (But not so hammered I couldn't clean up our wood floors with 409 spray). I stripped down naked, leaving a trail of clothes in two different bathrooms and plopped into bed. The way Chuck later described me sounded exactly how one would describe a Raspberry martini-scented stick of chalk with barf crusted in its hair.
I woke up a few times, but I didn't really address the fact that it was a new day until about 6 p.m. And that was only because I needed water. Water that bungeed out of my stomach and steamed from my nose. Back to bed. I tried again at 8 p.m., and was slightly less worthless. By 10:30 p.m I was able to fit a winter coat over my robe and hit McDonald's drive thru.
JCrew was able to answer a lot of important questions from that night:
Why the cab ride was $33 and it took until 3:30 a.m. to get home. (We were scammed, and drove her home first).
Why we got 86'ed from a public location. (We didn't. I did).
Why I called her at 3:30 a.m. (To tell her I barfed).
On Monday I still felt like all of my internal organs had been rearranged by a sadist.
On Tuesday I still needed a medicinal dose of McDonalds and a Gatorade.
And that is why I am never drinking again.