Well, to be more realistic, I stumbled back. I’m guessing. I mean, I was about 85% blacked out. And I was in a hurry—the curtain was falling fast on that final 15%. I was in the wilds of Shadyside on a Saturday night, and the pathway to my apartment—and to safety—was quickly disappearing. Not that the streets and sidewalks were going away—just my ability to see them. It was a race to the finish; I fell through the doorway of my apartment building just as the darkness closed in around me.
I awoke the next morning lying facedown, perpendicular across the top of a made bed. Thankfully, it was my bed. I was wearing an undershirt and boxers. My Tommy Hilfiger polo was on a couch in the living room. My cargo shorts were on the floor in my bedroom. So was the silver string of plastic, star-shaped beads. My socks were missing in action. What caused all of this cataclysmic destruction, you ask?
More specifically, it was a charity kickball tournament. One in which Pakistanimal, Mrs. Pak, TJ, Alex, Shannon, Jay Swag, Mitch Canada, Belle, and others had all taken part last Saturday. I, like any sensible adult on a humid, 90°F August day, stayed home. And when I did leave my place, it was just to go to the barbershop. My friends, in all of their wisdom, began drinking around 9 a.m. in the muggy misery of Pittsburgh summer. Then they ran, sweated, and injured themselves…playing kickball. And they tried to argue that I was being the silly one.
After the tournament, all of the aforementioned suspects (aside from TJ, who was on Daddy Duty) headed to Mario’s Eastside Saloon in The ‘Side. I finally walked over to join them at a little before 5 p.m. But, while I was just beginning my day’s imbibement, I was a solid eight hours behind the rest. Given the wide range of behaviors, intoxications, and events to discuss—not to mention several significant gaps in my memory—I’ll just bullet point the highlights:
- Jealous that I was freshly showered, several of the Gym Class Heroes tried to hug their sweaty nastiness onto me when I arrived. I came oh-so-close to swinging away like Ashtray in Don’t Be a Menace.
- Alex jumped up and down dancing for a moment. When she saw me pause and fixate on her quite ample chest, which was active in her shirt, she seemed to learn for the first time that big boobs bounce. “Wow,” she said, continuing to jump up and down with her eyes glued at a downward 90 degree angle. I’m not quite sure how she didn’t end up with two black eyes.
- When I met up with the group, they were on the deck upstairs, which was a sauna. Why they thought this was acceptable is as unknown to me as why they felt it worthwhile to play kickball. Canada, Swag, and I soon led a migration to Shady Grove, where there was air conditioning.
- After the tournament, our buddy “Wall Street” was the only one sensible enough to get a full shower. While he did so at Alex’s apartment, her cat pushed open the bathroom door; this gave anyone who walked past the bathroom—including a suddenly prudish Shannon—a full view of him in the glass-walled shower. When Mrs. Pak (who was successfully tanked) later learned of this anecdote, however, she was aghast that neither girl took the opportunity to check out Wall’s goods. She (repeatedly) explained in no uncertain terms the ogling, fondling, etc. that would’ve taken place had she been in their shoes. Nodding towards Wall, I said, “I think [she] just added you to her ‘Exceptions’ list, man. ‘George Clooney’…‘Brad Pitt’…‘[Wall Street]’.”
- Pak was…well, Pak: Drunk, audacious, chain-smoking, boastful, etc. And loud. After an hour or so at Grove, our bartender—sensing me to be the
voice of reasonsoberest member of the group—asked me to keep him under control. It seems that, though he was only spending about half of his time standing near me, Pak had provoked four separate groups of diners to move from the tables in the dining area on that side of the bar.
- Being as far behind in the pickling process as I was, I decided that my drink orders would be liquor instead of beer. Earlier that week I had come down with a minor head cold, and had taken to drinking bourbon—and, in most cases, Manhattans—as a home remedy. Therefore I decided to continue improving my health with the bourbon, vermouth, and bitters mixture. I’m not sure exactly how many I put away, but…well, refer to the opening paragraphs above.
- Midway through the night Alex produced three strings of plastic beads: one red, one silver, one blue. They had been accessories of hers to the Olympics Opening Ceremony party she and I had attended the week before, and were now stowaways in her purse. I vaguely remember snatching the silver strand out of her hand and throwing it around my neck. I've always found boozing to be a patriotic experience.
- While others soon departed (Swag and Canada had a bachelor party to attend; Pak and Mrs. Pak are married, and therefore cannot be out after sundown; Belle and the rest left to pursue various acts of depravity), Alex, Shannon, Wall Street, and I held firm. Despite our advanced state of blotto, we each had the good sense to order dinner. Hindsight being 20/20, I can only imagine the carnage that would have resulted had we not made that experience-taught move.
- Shannon’s aforementioned prudishness melted away as she drank. With no provocation from the rest of us, she took the uneaten tater tots from her meal and some dipping sauce, and made a work of art. (Clearly, Mrs. Pak wasn’t the only one questioning her refusal to prey on Wall Street’s earlier state of vulnerability.)
- This is an excerpt from a text conversation I had the following Wednesday.
Me: “I don’t remember leaving, but I vaguely remember pretending to be on a phone call as I walked down the street. Which leads me to believe I was running away.”
Me: “It’s a standard drunk tactic of mine.”
Me: “Wait, who wasn’t wearing pants?”
Alex: “Ahha I will remember that.”
Alex: “I wasn’t wearing pants…I found them in front of my kitchen sink the next morning.”
Me: “LOL. Totes…”