For years, my weekends (see: Thursday through Sunday, and sometimes Tuesday) have gone like this: meet the friends, kill the whiskey, hit the bar and/or vomit in a bathroom. Lather, rinse, repeat. Lately, however, I can hear my dusty big-people clothes murmuring in the closet that liver-murder is only good for ambulance rides, and is no way to pick up – let alone retain – a respectable job. So I decided to cut back.
I am not, however, ready to relinquish my downtown nightcrawling.
A recent weekend evening
My friend Chuck and I roll downtown. It is proving difficult to get hyped for a night of hydrated, lucid decision-making, especially since Chuck hasn't taken my sobriety pledge. A few minutes later, we're at a craft beer place, watching the bartender pour Chuck a Gulden Draak 9000 Belgian strong ale. I watch him drink that foamy, delicious bastard. I watch it hard.
We make it to our favorite spot, Independent Bar, and Chuck and I immediately begin frat-lapping around as people drift inside. It's funny: You think you've mastered basic communication concepts like, say, striking up conversation with a stranger, but when you cut yourself off for a night, suddenly the words dry up, too. You realize all that moxie you had before is now where your fear of shame and rejection reside – the same fear and shame those whiskey sours dry-humped out of you before. I still have my Diet Coke, though. I periodically sip from the bushel of tiny plastic things my bartender shoved in there.
The dance floor is filling up. Chuck and I stand at the fringes, people-watching. It becomes apparent there's no uncreepy way to do this, so we plunge into the throng, and a cute blonde fiddling with a disposable camera sees us. Yes, ladyfolk! I think. Here she comes, just stay calm and –
Camera Girl: Echscuse meh, can you guysch take a picture of me n myfrenns?
The two girls hovering behind her are also sloshed, in outer space – I would know, I own a summer home up there. For some reason, I pictured this sort of scenario unfolding differently.
There was a moment, around 12:45 a.m., when someone threw the hidden "Lil' John" lever. The entire club is shitwrecked. Random people keep offering to buy me drinks. They guide me to the bar and ask what I want, all those liquor bottles gleaming splendidly on the shelf. And they hate to take no for an answer. Chuck and I get creative in making excuses for my sobriety.
"I'm training for a marathon."
"I have an interview with Homeland Security tomorrow."
I eventually decide the best deterrent is to simply walk away. I have to evade one persistent gentleman by bolting upstairs to the restroom.
Somehow, I make it through the night without consuming any alcohol. We're about to leave the club, but we can't even make it out the door because suddenly, a completely smashed girl blitzes me from out of the ether. She tackles me into the bar and, before I can grasp exactly what's happened, she begins tickling me. She smooshes her chest into my shoulder, asking "Can you tell if they're real?" And as I lay there, every girl who's ever been catcalled or creeped upon turned to the girl next to her for the most thunderous high five ever.
Touché, Universe. Touché.
What did you do last night? Send us a diary detailing your drunken escapades, and we'll print the best ones in an upcoming issue of OW. Send your story, along with your name, age, phone number and email address to firstname.lastname@example.org. We won't print your name or contact info, but we do need it to contact you to make sure you're a real person and can verify your story.