Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Drunkest Girl at the Party

I’m sure you recognize this scene:

You’re out on a Friday night, walking around the city with your friends, presumably on your way to somewhere fun, and you happen to amble past a person who’s obviously had waaaaaay too much to drink, and who is getting sick right in the middle of the street, completely oblivious to the world around them. Their friends are huddled around them murmuring encouragement, trying to help out, but this person is too far gone. As you pass by them, you happen to get a look at the drunkie’s face—the half-closed eyes, the slack mouth, the blank expression, and you think, “Oh, God, that person’s going to be hurting tomorrow.” Or maybe you think “What an asshole.”

On Friday night, I was that girl.

Just let me make something clear: I am twenty nine years old and by all rights, a responsible adult. I have a good job. I pay my rent and bills (most of them) on time. I always show up at least 10 minutes early for appointments. My bookshelves are not only alphabetized, but separated by genre. Deep inside, I’m a nerd, and there’s nothing I love more than being organized and in control. For this reason, I have never, ever, ever been the drunkest girl at the party. I may, under the influence of alcohol, be the loudest girl at the party (I’m usually the loudest girl anywhere), or the silliest girl at the party, and probably even the hungriest girl at the party (I like bean dip), but not the drunkest. And I’m never the puking girl.

In fact, I'm usually the girl who is busy taking care of the drunkest girl at the party. And in my very small social circle, the drunkest girl at the party is usually spiceboy.

You see, normally I have quite a high tolerance for alcohol. I can have many drinks, and even many drinks of different alcoholic varieties without getting sick or waking up with a hangover. After a night of drinking until very late, I’ve been known to pop out of bed at 8 am, bright eyed and bushy-tailed, and ready to face the day while others groan and curse my cheerfulness and lack of headache or nausea. I have been told that I inherited this drinking ability from my father. Some people have even referred to it as a gift. And in some ways, I supposed it is.

But lately I’ve been getting little hints that the tides might be turning—that my tolerance isn’t what it used to be. And what happened to me on Friday night definitely reinforces that theory.

Friday night, my plans included dinner with spiceboy and a friend and then going to see Super Diamond play at Irving Plaza. For those of you have been deprived of the pleasure, Super Diamond is a Neil Diamond cover band. Don't judge me--until you've had a Super Diamond experience yourself, you have no right to judge. They are awesome.

At dinner, I had one glass of red wine—very conservative. At the Super Diamond show, I had two vodka sodas—not a number of drinks that would normally turn me into a puking machine. The trouble started when I ordered my third drink, which I never finished. On a normal night, I would have finished that drink with no problems, stayed until the end of the show, and probably would have gone out for more drinks afterwards.

But not last Friday.

On Friday, once I had the third drink in my hand, I started feeling really woozy. And not in a good I’m buzzed and loving the music kind of way or even in an I’m the most energetic and adorable and fun girl in the room way. It was more of an Oh my god I’m feeling really sick what the hell is wrong with me??? kind of feeling. So I grabbed spiceboy and told him we had to leave. Immediately.

I haven't lived in New York for that long, but on Friday, I learned something very important: NEVER get on a subway if you've had too much to drink (or a moderate amount that normally would never affect you but for some reason makes you really ill). There was too much light and movement and noise and I thought I was going to die, or vomit, or both. I managed to avoid death, but wasn’t so lucky with the vomiting.

Once I got off the train, I basically vomited my way from Irving Place to the Upper East Side. I vomited on my brand new and very cute suede boots. I vomited on my favorite red velvet jacket. I vomited in front of a Duane Reed. I vomited on the street, in a cab, in another cab, and once spiceboy was able to coax me up the four flights of steps into our apartment, I vomited in my bathroom.

I woke up very early the next morning facedown on my bed, feeling like I’d been whacked in the back of the head with a baseball bat. I stumbled out of the bedroom and found spiceboy sleeping on the couch. This made me very sad. spiceboy is a very calm, rational person, and he never resorts to dramatic gestures of anger such as sleeping on the couch or hanging up on me. He leaves that kind of stuff to me.

I gently woke him up (read: I plopped down on the couch, poked him in the shoulder, and say “Hey”) and asked him why he wasn’t sleeping in the bed. He didn’t say anything at first—just gave me a look that said: Oh. It’s you.

You know how when you were a kid and you did something really bad and you expected your parents to yell at you but instead they stayed really calm and somehow that made it soooo much worse? I know it sounds kind of weird, but that’s exactly how I felt. I prepared myself for the worst—something like, “I saw a side of you last night that I never knew existed and I’m really disappointed in you.”

Instead, he said, “I was afraid that if I stayed in bed, you were going to puke on me.”

I guess I can’t really blame him for that.

Then he said, “What the hell was that last night?”
I said, “I was the drunkest girl at the party.”
He said, “You certainly were.”
I said, “I’m so gross.”
He said, “Yes, you are.”
I said, “I think I lost my drinking gift.” Then I gave him my best sheepish look.
He said, “What’s that look for?”
I said, “It’s my sheepish look.”
He laughed at that.
I said, “If I brush my teeth and wash my face and promise to be really nice to you and not puke anymore, will you please come back to bed?”
He nodded and said, “Okay, pukey.”

We slept like lambs until noon.


Anonymous Leslie said...

The only thing more demoralizing than puking in the middle of the street in front of total strangers is puking in the middle of the street in front of people you actually know, but just not too well. Or puking all over yourself in a public bathroom in front of people you actually know, but just not too well. Or puking in the back seat of a car belonging to someone you actually know, but just not too well.

And in my own defense, in that last example I was actually the unfortunate owner of the car. The "pukee," if you will. Which also taught me that the only thing worse than having someone puke all over the back seat of your car is when the puker is too drunk to clean up after herself.

11:31 PM  
Blogger 000 said...

Oh dear, ESG. I have so been there before. I got drunk at my office's Christmas party last year (Not The Office, the last office). And I slept on a desk. And I vomited. Plenty of times.

I puked in someone else's garbage can all night, and then brought a bag with me when I left in a cab. No one in my office was phased by my puking. But I knew better. Because I was the receptionist, I would have to be the one that called in the mess. And I would KNOW that it was me who made the mess.

I am not sure if it's good for us or not that we both happened to be in our twenties when all of this stuff happened.

Love the posts. I read it everyday!

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Quinny said...

The only thing more demoralizing than puking in any of these ways is after puking, trippping off the curb and cracking your head on the street, and having a cop tell you you have to go home right now or he'll arrest you, and him making you get in a cab at the corner of 2nd and 7th St. even though you're trying to tell him you live a block away on St. Mark's Place. And then your friends telling you how stupid you looked when you fell off the curb.

And then the next morning realizing that you broke your glasses when you fell and you have to go to work in them.

That happened to me when I was 29 or 30.

11:56 AM  

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