Thursday, June 12, 2008

San Diego Nights 2: The Booze Tide

Ever wake up in the morning and have that panicky “Where the f**k am I?” moment? When it happens that you’re on the opposite side of the country, it makes it a little trippier.

I woke up to my cell phone screaming at me Friday morning (literally; my message ringtone is the same as Scotty’s e-mail alert in “Eurotrip”). It was a message from Baby Joey announcing that the girl who owned our boy read my blog about the story. My dazed, autopilot response: “How badly does she want me?” (and you thought I had to work at being a jackass).

Cut to a month or so prior: T.C. sent an e-mail to Hurley and me to brighten our lives and properly prepare us for the trip. While she was walking through Wal-Mart picking up items for their upcoming trip to Las Vegas, T.C.’s wife found something called a “Bubba Keg.” This marvel of engineering is a 52 oz. insulated mug that keeps liquids cold for 8 hours. The spill-proof lid has a flip-open hatch for pouring/drinking; the handle has a comfort grip and a bottle opener built into the bottom. Instantly, I knew I had to have one. Hurley felt the same way, and when we arrived in San Diego each of us produced one from our luggage. (Coincidentally, none of us were with each other when we bought our Bubba Kegs, and yet we each managed to end up with a different color; we looked like some kind of alcoholic Power Rangers.)

Cut back to last Friday: After cleaning up and getting some food, we hit a Rite Aid for handles of Finlandia and Captain. Back at the hotel, we filled our Bubba Kegs with delicious nectar (vodka & Sprite for Hurley and I, and Captain & Coke for T.C.). Then we hit Ocean Beach.

Now, granted, it’s been about three years since I’ve been to the beach, and probably about thirteen since I’ve been to a California beach; but, …wow. There’s nothing quite like tanned flesh put on display, and Ocean Beach has plenty. A few feet away from us lay two girls from Montreal, and they did a wonderful job of representing their city. At one point, a clueless surfer-jock just happened to stop near them to peel off the top of his wetsuit and apply some suntan lotion to himself. Striking up a conversation and finding out where they were from, he asked them, “So you girls big hockey fans?” When they said “yes,” he proceeded to own himself by (a.) asking them who they thought would win the Stanley Cup, which Detroit had won a day and a half earlier; (b.) referring to the “Montreal Canucks”; and (c.) mentioning that Mark Messier “used to play” for Montreal [if you’re not a hockey fan: Montreal’s team name is the “Canadiens,” and—trust me—Messier never played for them]. I wonder what it’s like to make a fool out of yourself hitting on two uninterested chicks while three hairy out-of-shape guys laugh at you.

We met up with GTB and his friends for dinner at Bondi, an Australian restaurant in the Gaslamp Quarter. After eating, we all had drinks on the patio, where T.C., Hurley, and I saw the poor, tortured soul of our rickshaw driver ride past. GTB’s dad was in attendance, and he was fantastic. He looks like Papa Smurf, and has the jovial charisma to match. He skillfully talked up females left and right, inviting them over to hang out with our crew (he also rolled out the quote of the night: “When you’re married, you’re not looking for a commitment.”). Eventually, a group of about 15 beautiful women walked into the restaurant, led by an absolutely gorgeous bride-to-be on her bachelorette party. He grabbed his son, and two minutes later we looked in and saw them amidst the flock of honeys, doing shots and taking pictures. When the two of them returned, they informed us that the bachelorette was marrying a San Diego Charger, and that most of her friends were also married to Chargers. Playing in the NFL never looked so appealing.

Shortly after that, we noticed an attractive blonde girl who was sitting at the bar all by herself. GTB’s dad was on it in a heartbeat, and a minute later we were being introduced to Krista. She had recently moved to San Diego for her job, and was looking to make friends (insert random crude sex joke here). We must have been “friendly” enough, because she accompanied us to our next drinking hole: Maloney’s, an Irish pub several blocks away. Once there, Krista did some quick math and decided that she was better off with one drunken guy instead of 16; she found a new man at the bar, and that was the last we talked to her all night.

Maloney’s has a unique feature to their atmosphere: They play regular top-40/juke music, but occasionally the music will stop, and a popular movie scene comes on over the speakers and on TV screens throughout the bar. For example: Nicholson’s “Here’s Johnny!” scene from “The Shining”; the scene in “Caddyshack” where Chevy Chase displays golf course Zen; and, our personal favorite, the Baby Jesus scene from “Talladega Nights.” If you’re like my friends and I, and randomly spout off funny quotes from movies when you’re hammered, this is an ingenious idea. If a beer pong table with 12 cups set up on it had slid out of the wall, I might have applied for a barback job.

I was approaching blackout-drunk, and pulled one of my, “F**k it, I’m leaving” moves. Amazingly, I actually paid my tab and got my credit card back before stumbling out the door and down the street. I was probably 6 or 7 blocks into the stroll before, “You’re not in Pittsburgh, jackass—you have no idea where you’re going!” came echoing from somewhere in my head. For the next 45 minutes to an hour (I’m estimating, because none of us have a clue just how long it was), I walked up and down the streets of San Diego, looking for my hotel. When I found it, I decided that it was of the utmost importance that I check my e-mail then and there, so I hopped on a computer in the lobby's internet café. Why? Hell if I know. I was determined, but I was also WAY too drunk to remember my password, or…see.

After a long time of me repeatedly failing at passwords with my face two inches from the screen, Hurley appeared and sat down at the computer next to me. His story? He had met a cute girl from San Francisco at the bar who was into him. While macking her, a random guy came out of nowhere, pointed at Hurley with his index finger inches from his face, and said to the girl, “You can do better than THIS guy!” Hurley fired back, “Yeah, but you and I can walk outside.” The jerk made a hasty retreat, unprepared to finish what he was about to start. The girl later gave Hurley her number, and he promised to call her the next day. But a few minutes afterwards, he accidentally deleted her number as he walked down the street. Refusing to accept defeat at the cruel hands of fate, he was now scouring MySpace in an attempt to find her (we drunkenly stalk because we love, ladies).

I have no idea how or when T.C. got home, and neither does he. All we know is that he and GTB were standing outside of the Marriott front doors heckling passersby. Some married guys, when off on their own, revert to their college days and chase tail; some revert to their college days and act like idiots. I’m sure for all T.C.’s wife and GTB’s fiancée have to put up with, sometimes they are just relieved that they each have the lesser of the two evils.

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