Friday, March 11, 2011

Keep It Movin'

It’s almost here.

Pittsburgh’s St. Patty’s Day is tomorrow, and preparations are underway everywhere you look. Shannon’s been collecting supplies of food, alcohol, and adrenaline shots for her party, which starts at 8 a.m. Rackt is in town for her first real St. Patty celebration (despite what you may have heard about Tampa’s vast Irish population) and, after some encouragement by TJ, she finally bought herself a t-shirt for the day (most everyone running wild through the streets of Pittsburgh, of course, will have on clever green tees to mark the occasion; it's what St. Patrick would have wanted). Entertainer bought himself a $200+ kilt, and now is busy picking out the thong he’ll wear underneath (I’m kidding…kind of…). As for me, I stocked up on whiskey, both for Shannon’s party and for practicing at home. And I’ll also be buying a bottle of 5 Hour Energy to use as an eye opener tomorrow afternoon.

Aside from all the excitement and mayhem that comes with this day, it raises a potential problem: Chaperones. As in, we’ll be so drunk that we’ll need some. I tried to get Steph to fly in from NYC to take the job of being my personal Sherpa (since she did a miraculous job of it at the Pirates’ Home Opener last year), but she declined. Dammit. And I need supervision more than most do, since I have the bad habit of roaming off when heavily intoxicated. In fact, one of my most fantastic voyages came on St. Patty’s Day in 2004 [cue flashback cutaway...].

    It was 11:30 p.m.; I’d been boozing across the city for the better part of about ten hours and found myself at Jack’s Bar with various friends. I was scheduled to share a room at the Holiday Inn Express in the South Side with Tony, K-Man, and five other Irish-for-the-day revelers. The problem I soon perceived—as much as I could perceive anything, given the restrictor plate of beer that I’d installed in my head—was math. Six of the other people in our group were actually three couples; and Tony, the only other single besides me, had run into a jumpoff. That left me in a hotel room with eight people engaged in various forms of romantic entertainment while I twiddled my thumbs.
    Now, keep in mind, this is only how I was predicting things would go. It was an assumption on my part, not something more logical like, say, reality. In truth, even the couples in the room would be doing nothing but sleeping. None of them were the freaky type to bone with other people present. And Tony’s jumpoff wasn’t confirmed to be joining us; it was just drunken supposition on my part. Still, the little drunken man behind the curtain in my head had no way of coming up with “4” when putting “2” and “2” together. I told my friends I was going to the bathroom, and stealthily headed for the exit. Halfway down Carson St., though, I realized no cabs were going to stop for me. Home, at that time, was my mother’s house, about eight miles away. Surely I wouldn’t walk that far in a drunken stupor at midnight, would I?
    Oh, yes I would. A 4½ hour trek ensued, including:
    (1.) Walking a bike trail along the banks of the Monongahela River, since the sidewalk along Carson eventually stops when the street turns into more of a highway;
    (2.) Falling asleep as I walked, and awaking to find myself sliding down the embankment towards the river, having stepped off said bike trail;
    (3.) Walking along train tracks after the bike trail stopped abruptly (only in Pittsburgh would they build a trail that doesn’t go anywhere);
    (4.) Soldiering on as a large, loud freight train blew past on the tracks, about five feet away from me;
    (5.) Climbing up and over a fence between those tracks and the access road to Sandcastle, an area waterpark, to avoid any future encounters with trains.

St. Patty’s Day 2010 saw another bit of unexplainable travel on my part; this time much less dangerous—though just as curious. Early in the evening I was again in the South Side, this time at Rumshakers with Dupa, Tony, Prince of Ligonier, Mrs. Prince, Belle, Jay Swag, Mitch Canada, and various others. After an hour or two, Prince walked down the road to another bar with his squad (consisting of his wife and two of their friends) and Dupa. According to Prince, I was still at Rumshakers when they left. I have no personal recollection of this, though, because I was painstakingly blacked out. When I came out of my walking sleep, I was at Prince’s apartment in the North Hills (which is roughly eight miles in the opposite direction than that which I had traveled in 2004). More impressively, though, I was still drinking, a good 14 hours after starting that morning. The next day, Prince and the others filled me in as best they could:

    After some time at the other bar, the five of them decided they wanted to head back to Prince and Mrs. Prince’s place to eat and drink away from the crowds. They tried to hail a cab, but if you’ve paid attention to any of my past stories involving taxis in Pittsburgh, then you know just how difficult that can be—especially on a huge day like St. Patty’s. It took them quite a while to get a cab to stop for them. And when one finally did stop, they eagerly began piling in one by one. Then, suddenly, they were joined by a new companion: me. No one knows
    where I came from—hell, not even I know that, and I lived it. But, as if by puff of smoke, I appeared and nonchalantly climbed in alongside them. [If only MTV or some other network would start reading this blog; a camera crew following me around would mean finally getting some answers when I wake up in the morning.]

Reading these stories, you might think that I only go on these unplanned adventures when I’ve been drinking green beer, but there are plenty of other tales of me hiking across Pittsburgh after a night of boozing that take place during other times of the year. So the calendar date isn’t the common denominator. No, the culprit seems to be the South Side.

    Last summer, TJ’s boy Cap came to Pittsburgh one weekend, and a night on the town was launched to celebrate. We started at Hofbrauhaus and soon moved onto the South Side. But, although I was drinking beer by the litre at Hofbrau, I soon found Entertainer shoving multiple Jack & Cokes—prepared by a bartender that he went to high school with, so you can guess just how much Coke was actually in them—in my direction when we stopped at a bar on Carson. We soon moved to Jimmy D’s, but the next thing I remember unquestionably is me walking through Oakland around 2 a.m., headed towards my place. Confused though I was to find myself far, far away from where I’d last remembered being, I decided to continue my journey home, sleep it off, and sort things out in the morning.
    After a few more paces, though, a thought awoke in my head: My car was still parked in a parking garage…by Hofbrauhaus. Fuuuuuucccccck. I hung a right and headed back towards the South Side. It was another sobering hour plus of walking before I reached the garage, and another 20 more minutes before I was safely in my bed.

Saturday could get ugly. I’m hoping the 5 Hour Energy will be just the kick I need to keep myself in line and off of bike trails throughout the night. If not, then it’s all Steph’s fault.

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