Thursday, April 15, 2010

Which Reminds Me

Today in one of my classes, a student went off on a short tangent about how she acts when she gets drunk. She doesn't get goofy or giggly or loud or angry. Instead, she gets very formal. Instead of saying, "Hey! I'm drunk!" she will say, "Why, hello. It seems you've caught me in a moment of unexpected intoxication. My apologies!"

I like that she recognizes this. I like that she's conscious of her drunk self because not many people really are. (Generally, it seems, it's the angry ones who are the least aware. Once, in grad school, one of my best friends, who'd been drinking beer for hours, pointed his finger at me and shouted, "I AM SICK OF YOU FUCKING IDIOTS!" This wouldn't have been so bad--I was, after all, aware that he was sick of me taking up with idiots--but it's just that one of those idiots was standing next to me at that very moment.)

As for me, I'm not exactly sure how I am. I've heard conflicting stories. Katy tells me she can't ever tell when I'm drunk. "You act like your normal self when you're drunk," she says, "maybe just a little gigglier."

No one, of course, has trouble identifying when Katy's drunk. After a couple tall glasses of Michelob Light, which she gets with olives--"It's a free snack at the end!" she says--Katy gets loud. She likes to engage the boys by saying inappropriate things, by talking about poop or boobs. When Katy gets really drunk, she likes to bring boys over to me and say, "Hey! Look! Here's this boy! You should kiss him! If you don't kiss him, I'm not going to leave you alone! I'm going to stand here and watch you until you kiss him! Kiss him! Kiss him! KISS HIM!"

And then she likes to puke in alleys or cars.

Of course, Katy might not be the only one who acts up. I just learned recently that I'm "the loud one" in the group--information Diana floated my way as we walked to my car in a Boston parking ramp the day after her reading in town.

I was shocked. I told her I didn't think I was the loud one in any group. In my group back home, back in New York, my best friend was the loud one, and in Minnesota I'd always figured Katy was the loud one, or maybe one of the boys, who were always mixing drinks and shouting poetry--theirs or others'--at the top of their lungs while Diana and I sat on the couch and giggled.

"No, no," Diana said. "It's definitely you. You're definitely the loud one. But that's why we love you."

Probably this shouldn't surprise me. Maybe I should've always known. And today as my student was going on about her own tipsy behavior, it made me--it couldn't be helped!--think of one of my more glorious moments: The first time I met my father's fiancee.

It was the night of my childhood friend's wedding. I was a bridesmaid who was wearing a pretty black dress and high heels, and I was flirting with one of the groomsmen--tall, slim, tan.

Maybe I was a bit bolder than I'd normally be, but there's a good reason for that. As a cost saving measure, the bride and groom bought their liquor from a local bar and then positioned a few of their relatives behind a makeshift one at the reception. What this meant was I could walk up to the bar and say, "May I please have a giant vat of vodka this very instant?" and they would say, "Why, yes, Bridesmaid Girl, you may."

Add to that the fact that the groom's father had made his own wine for the occasion, and several bottles of that wine were on the wedding party's table, and I drank an awful lot from several of those bottles, which may or may not have led to the incident on the dance floor after the cute groomsman caught the garter and I caught the bouquet, which meant we had to engage in this tradition where everyone gathered around and watched as he inched the garter up my leg--each inch another year of good luck for the newlyweds--and this spiraled into a really interesting incident in the kitchen of the reception hall, which then spiraled into a really, really interesting incident in the backyard of the reception hall--and trust me when I tell you it's best that no one but God saw that.

It's important to know these facts. It's important to know that both the incident in the kitchen and the incident in the backyard took a decent amount of time--mainly because they involved a whole bunch of kissing--and that they started in the approximate middle of the wedding party. By the time the incidents were done and we wandered back inside, the only people left were the bride's parents.

Talk about embarrassing.

Worse? The cute groomsman and I were both too drunk to drive, so we had to catch a ride with the bride's parents, who had their car stuffed so full of gifts and decorations that there was barely room for us, and I had to sit on the groomsman's lap the whole ride home.

Oh, but wait. It gets worse.

And then when I arrived home, I realized my father was still up and that he had a visitor--his new girlfriend, the one I had yet to meet. So as I stepped out of the car and turned to thank the bride's parents for driving me home, and to tell the groomsman it was nice meeting him, I knew I was going to have to put on a good show in approximately thirty seconds.

I walked down the driveway and up onto the front step. I took a deep breath. I tried to make my my whole body feel less like it was spinning. I tried to quiet the side of my brain that was saying, EVERYTHING YOU SAY SHOULD BE SAID IN SHOUT-VOLUME. And because I knew my father would ask how the party was, I made a quick list of things that should not be brought up: making out with a groomsman, dancing with one of my father's friends and announcing to said friend that I thought his children were ridiculously attractive, being photographed with a boy's hands--and a garter--three quarters of the way up my thigh.

I steadied myself. I steeled my insides. I took another deep breath and prepared to pull off a serious caper, to pull the wool over my father's eyes, to convince his girlfriend I was nothing but a classy and poised twenty-something.

I pushed open the door.

"Hello!" my father said.

"Hello!" I said.

"Hello!" the girlfriend said.

"This is Kathy!" my father said.

"It's really nice to meet you!" I said. "I AM REALLY DRUNK! SORRY!"

And then, because I'd already revealed too much, and because I was afraid my first revelation would be followed with something else inappropriate--for example: "I pushed a groomsman against a fridge in the reception hall kitchen and had my way with him!"--I decided to run down the hallway to my room and go to bed before I made things worse.

I am, if nothing else, extremely, extremely smooth.


Kristin said...

Posts like this should be prefaced with:

Kingbay, if you're drinking water at your desk at work while about to read this, you should probably spit it out in a classy way to avoid spraying it all over your computer screen at the end of the post.

Which is exactly what happened. Thank you, I needed that today:)

You and me - drinking - drunk - loud bitches. I can't even imagine what it would be like.

Jess said...

I'll keep that in mind, Kingbay. It's very sound advice!