Saturday, March 5, 2011

When It's Poured, It Reigns

In my 31st year on this planet, my level of activity is never consistent from one weekend to the next. I’ll spend one Friday and Saturday night in sweatpants, posted up on the couch with DVR’d episodes of Archer on the TV screen, and a week later I’ll be running between multiple events, happenings, and brouhahas that all seem to be going on at once. In February I took a road trip to Buffalo on a Friday afternoon; boozed all over the town that night; woke up the next morning and came back to Pittsburgh; drowned myself in Gatorade and aspirin, took a nap, and then hosted an Anti-Valentine’s night of barhopping in Shadyside with a cast of characters on Saturday night. The weekend after that? I didn’t move from my couch for the better part of 72 hours, hacking and wheezing through a bad chest cold.

The glamour life.

Last weekend I managed to find time for both sweatpants and debauchery. Friday TJ and I kicked it low-key with food, TV, and a few drinks at my place [Dupa was supposed to be a part of this, but he pulled the “blow off your boys at the last minute to see a girl” bitch move; he has been repeatedly chastised by our circle ever since, and deservedly so]. Saturday, though, was packed with three soirees around town—as well as one in Seven Springs that I had to forfeit attending due to the obvious logistics hurdle involved. My friend “Nitschke” was beginning his night of birthday celebrations at Hofbrauhaus, where a get-together for another friend of mine was also taking place. I planned to put in appearances at each of these, and then conclude the night at Tank’s place, where he was hosting a house party.

There’s an innate risk, though, in trying to synchronize this type social event hopscotch; the plan’s choreography is dependent upon each player’s attention to detail and ability to think on his or her feet. And, unfortunately for me, Dupa has the situational awareness of Lenny from “Of Mice and Men”.

He had gone to Hofbrauhaus around 4 to meet up with Nitschke and co. I rolled down around 6, having not heard a peep out of anyone aside from TJ, who said he’d catch up with us when we got to Levelz, a bar on Carson St. in South Side. I tried calling Dupa as I walked up to the Hof, but didn’t get an answer. I shot off a text to both he and Nitschke asking where they were in the crowded German restaurant. When I’d walked around without finding anyone or getting any calls or messages back, I phoned the birthday boy. “Uhh,” he responded after picking up, “didn’t [Dupa] tell you I left? I’m walking into the White Eagle.”

Nitschke said he had specifically told Dupa to alert me to the change of venue before he left Hofbrauhaus. And not only had Dupa—who hadn’t departed when Nitschke did, but had instead trailed behind to look for the other Hof party—failed to inform me that everyone else from the first shindig had already moved onto another bar, but he had neglected to notify me when he left a few minutes later. That’s two kicks to the doorknockers that I owed my Polish associate for party fouls that weekend, and I hadn’t even been in the same building with him yet.

Nitschke said he would only be at the Eagle for one quick drink, and that I might as well head to Levelz, which would be their next destination. Since TJ was also heading there, I abandoned my plan to stop by the other Hof party and drove over to Carson St. And after I’d gotten to the bar and ordered a beer, I shot TJ a text to see what his ETA was. His response: “We’re at the White Eagle.”

I hate my friends.

I sipped on my bottle of Sam Adams for another ten minutes, while daydreaming of kicking justice out of my boys and wishing I’d worn heavier boots. Nitschke and some of his friends were the first (well, second, third, fourth, etc.) to arrive. He loaded up the jukebox with Clipse and Mos Def songs while we waited for everyone else. “You know,” I remarked to him, “You’re probably the first white boy in a V-neck sweater to ever play ‘Grindin’ on a jukebox.”

Eventually Dupa, Mitch Canada, Jay Swag, and TJ came through the door; after I dished out some verbal abuse, the party as a whole relocated to the tables in the back of the bar to watch the Penguins/Leafs game. Reaching your 30s has a definitive effect on your party behavior. In our 20s, we would’ve been loud and rambunctious, propositioning female bartenders, spilling drinks, and making management nervous. Instead the 15 of us relaxed in chairs, calmly talking sports, music, and life. One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is our conversations inevitably turning towards the topic of sex.

Jay Swag: “I could hate-fuck something right now.”
Me: “Isn’t that kind of redundant, though? I mean, knowing you, I can’t picture any of your fucking being anything but hate-fucking.”

Swag informed us that he has, in fact, engaged in “love sex”—twice. Every other time was angry and ginger.

I made my way to Tank’s around 10:30, cruising with a slight buzz and The Black Album bumping on my stereo. When I walked into a house full of familiar tipsy faces, Chief gave me the beverage menu. “Beer’s downstairs, or *pointing to bottle* we have Beam.” I eagerly went with Plan B [The odds of me ever using that phrase again? Yet another mile marker of being 30something]. I poured myself a glass and looked for a mixer, to no avail. Noticing my unsuccessful search, Chief said, “Yeah, we’re drinking ‘neat’ tonight.”

Drinking glasses of straight Jim Beam after several hours of polishing off bottles of Boston Lager during the game? I saw no good coming of this.

And, of course, none did. As a collective, we circled the drain gradually, but with certainty. Finn and I narrowly lost to Chief and Sloku on the beer pong table. Sipping from a tumbler of bourbon in between chugs of beer from felled cups was poetic illustration of the balancing act we’ve found at 30. One moment urbane and sharp, discussing the politics of the Middle East and the pitfalls of marriage; the next youthful and crude, cracking jokes about body parts and each other’s sexualities. And yet it all contributed to the whole and finished product that we had become: very, very drunk.

  • One of our friends, Clay, yelled, “Meat! C’mere, Meat!” TD watched in shock as his four year old daughter came walking in from another room. “You call your daughter ‘Meat’?” Clay, however, didn’t see anything strange in it. “What? She’s my little meathead,” he said affectionately.
  • Hollywood and Chief stumbled into the type of mini-feud so commonly suffered by two guys too inebriated to know what language they’re speaking. Jokes led to sack taps; sack taps led to wrestling; wrestling led to a fishhook; a fishhook led to someone’s finger being severely bitten. And, of course, that bite led to rage and a momentary disruption of the party.
  • Tank, Esq, and I lit up cigars on the back porch (a terrific idea for someone recovering from a bad chest cold, by the way). Tank, typical of married people who have some alcohol in them, became convinced that finding me a girlfriend was somehow necessary for my survival. “You don’t want a girlfriend?” “I’m just not concerned with it, man. I’m not saying I don’t want one, but I'm not going to break my back to make it happen.” This wasn’t satisfactory for him, though. Seeking backup, he turned to Esq, who had been more engrossed with bringing the radio outside while we smoked. “Don’t you think he needs a girl?” Esq is engaged, and certainly in no hurry to see others go through the same headaches that he does. “Not really. Let him enjoy it while he can.”
  • The only three still awake by 4 a.m.: Hollywood, who watched old sitcom reruns in the living room; Tank, who microwaved frozen snack food; and me, who ransacked the remaining buffalo chicken dip that Tank’s wife had made.
Like I said, the glamour life. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to Archer. Danger zooonnnnne.

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