May 31st, 2004

I swear

This time I mean it.

Mid to late teens, you're introduced to the demon drink. You're not quite sure how the whole thing works, but you're fascinated. Of course the fact that it's forbidden makes it that much more attractive. Maybe you have a little too much champagne at a wedding when the adults stopped paying attention to you. Maybe you had an older sibling sneak you a six pack or a cheap bottle of vodka. Maybe you went abroad to a country with lax alcohol age restrictions. Maybe you just went to a party with your friends, and someone brought the booze.

At any rate, you're sixteen, seventeen, perhaps 20 years old, having the time of your life, wondering why your parents, the law, your teachers said you couldn't handle it. You suddenly have lost all of your inhibitions. It doesn't matter that your ability to articulate has pretty much abandoned you, that you stumble. Every thought that you have seems brilliant. You're beautiful and funny and everyone loves you.

Maybe it takes awhile, maybe you're one of the lucky ones and it doesn't happen to you. But probably not. Sadly, this is one of those things that you have to learn for yourself. You don't know any self-preservation techniques yet, though anyone watching you can tell what is going to happen, and how to minimize the pain. It's the weekend, you're young, you have no responsibilities. Maybe you're celebating the end of finals, or the first nice weekend of the year, or just fate has decided that tonight is your night. You start early, have a beer in your room with your friends. You go out, have a good time, switch from beer to something harder. Most likely tequila. It tastes terrible. You wonder how something so terrible can possibly be associated with the heaven that is the margarita. Someone starts creatively mixing it to try and get it to taste better. Jello. Kool-aide. Cranberry juice. Sprite. At any rate, you're hammered. If you're lucky, you end up puking your guts out, but sometimes that doesn't help. Someone helps you into bed. And you sleep a dreamless, not particularly restful sleep.

Morning hits and you wake up. It's early. Oh. My. God. At first you just lay there, trying to assess the damage. You're not quite sure why you're damaged. Your pillow isn't nearly soft enough. Unless you've woken up in an unfamiliar place, you don't try to piece the night before together yet. The pain won't let you. There's a dull thud in your head. A throbbing. Your stomach feels like crap. Your tongue grew at some point in the night. And you can't get away from the smell of booze. At some point you have to get out of bed. If you had your way, you'd stay there until the pain goes away. Unfortunately, you have to go to the bathroom. You have to either shit or puke your guts out. It's gross, though you do feel a little better once that's done. Not anywhere approaching good though. While you're up you decide to start drinking water and to take a shower. You need to try to scrub the smell of booze off of you. The shower won't work, but you have to try anyways.

This is where you start to assess what went wrong. You remember the beer, you remember talking to the hottie, you remember singing. Oh, God, there was singing. One of two things happens. Either you can't remember a key part of the evening, or you remember it all too clearly. Doesn't matter which, because both options are bad. You groan and weigh whether it's a good idea to call your friends for details or confirmation that it was/wasn't as bad as you think.

You dry off and crawl back to bed, taking about a gallon of water with you. You realize you haven't peed yet, though you've had more water than you've ever thought you could drink. Hopefully, you can sleep and when you wake up the second time, you can feel a little more human, though it will take a full 24 hours before you're fully functional again.

And then you make the vow, the vow that you fully intend on keeping for the rest of your life: I swear. I swear to everything that I hold dear. I swear I will never, ever drink that much again.

Weekend (so far) update.

I may have exaggerated the level of hangoverness. I definitely had too much to drink last night, but I'm not feeling terrible now. I attribute this to a well timed puking around three this morning and the gallon of water that I drank when I got home. Those self-preservation techniques one picks up over the years actually are somewhat effective. I do have to remind myself every now and then that I'm not 22 any more though.

Friday night was good. I went to see Mean Girls, which was excellent. I thought about sticking around to see Troy or something, but I couldn't bring myself to do it.

Saturday was one of those days where you get a lot accomplished, but it's pretty boring. Yard work, dog bathing, laundry. Claudia and I got sushi at some point, and I don't really remember what I did that night. I think I finished my book and ended up going to bed.

Yesterday was another errand day. I switched cell phone services from Sprint to Verizon, I went to the swatch store to get a battery and switch out a buckle, I went to the Contemporary Art Museum to pick up a present for my dad. I was heading to the paint store to pick up some paint for my front room, when Jose and Claudia called to remind me about our friend Michael's crawfish boil. After picking up a 12 pack as my contribution to the party, I got there around two, consciously aware that I wanted to pace myself on the drinking. I grabbed a beer and nursed it for quite awhile. Chatted with friends, made some more friends, laughed at my brother, who clearly had started hitting the beer with more gusto than I had intended. It was a nice, laid back day. People came and went. Some random Belgian (that word looks fucked up for some reason) guy showed up with a friend and didn't leave until hours after his friend left. It was good. Anyhow, I went inside to grab something non-alcoholic, and somehow ended up with a gin and tonic. That would have taken me from mellow to slightly tipsy, and everything would have been ok, but then Michael dragged about 15 people into the kitchen and started with the shots. Oh, my. The first one was a Mescal mixture. Our friend Paul ended up having to leave quickly to get it out of his system. I'm not quite sure how many shots there were, and I was the only girl for awhile. The other Paul and I got very friendly. Scott and an woman whose name I didn't catch got friendly. Claudia and Jim started laughing at everyone. Michael kept on pouring shots. Anyhow, it was probably ten or eleven by the time it was time to go. Jose had sobered up by this point, and he drove me home and stayed at my house last night.

We were up at around nine, and as far as I know, there weren't any terribly embarrassing incidents. Was a fun time. Though I do have to remind Scott that every time I see him, one of the two of us ends up hammered. I think both of us did last night.

Today is my dad's birthday, so I'll head over to their house tonight and we'll have a nice birthday meal for him. He and mama went to the ranch this weekend for some alone time, so I'm sure they'll be quite frisky when they get back.