Another morning, another hangover.
Jeez. when I write it that way it makes me sound like an alcoholic.
Then again, maybe I am. But at least I sincerely don’t think so.
The occasion was my birthday, the drink, too many beers and the time of realization, the morning after (of course).
Like most hangover-mornings that I’ve had, this one was accompanied by a sort of mental forensics as to how, oh how, I could have possibly have gotten into this state.
I was just drinking beer, I thought to myself, what else was there?
One shot of basement-bathtub absinthe but that shouldn’t have been enough.
My mind spun trying to deconstruct the different liquors I must have consumed, the ice cream, the pasta, the one or two free drinks.
My mind spun… and then my stomach did too.
Thankfully, there wasn’t much there to heave into my early-morning toilet and an involuntary purge, while sending me shivering, at least cleared my head for a bit.
The first problem was clearly lack of sleep; I’d only gotten five hours, certainly inadequate.
The second problem was water: not enough of it. I’d drank the 40oz water I keep in my refrigerator for nights I come home with a certain morningtime doom on my mind, which I had named, affectionately, “The Hangover Express”.
But this had brought me to problem the third: the sheer amount of beer I had drunk, even if spaced over a long period of time. was too great for even that sacred water to overcome.
Indeed, I probably would have had to drink my weight in water to make up for it.
The birthday itself ended up being a normal enough affair. I should have spent more of it at the karaoke bar, a place rapidly becoming my sort of scene, as opposed to the Brooklynite party Rubulad, a sort of symbol of my fading collegiate self.
The karaoke bar started off slow–I was the only one there for the first hour–which led me wonder to wonder who started this practice of coming an hour or more late to parties. It seems like if the hosts had wanted you to come at that time an hour later, they would have damn well asked it, I thought to myself over a 3-dollar happy-hour Stella.
“A Belgian wifebeater.” I told the bartender, as she handed me one.
“What.” She replied, giving me a strange look.
“That’s what they call these in Europe.” I told her. “A Belgian wifebeater.”
“Because they’re cheap, so the hicks who buy them are the kind that beat their wives.”
The bartender gave me a look of relative disgust, hidden in a rather-forced smile before walking over to refill another patron’s demand for more water.
After a while though, Rob and Blake LaRue showed up, followed by the unlikely Jonny-Jon-Jon, who seemed to have a good time despite flaking out of a go at “Mr. Tambourine Man” I had set up especially for him. I took over, when he refused to acknowledge the song, but I feel like he could have done a better job.
As more people came in to happy-birthday me, the party got better. Rob and Blake hit some songs and I got to do some Neil Young, some Bruce Springsteen, both of which put me in a happy-birthday mood.
By the time we were headed out the door, it was getting crowded at the bar: the downside of a Friday, July 3rd birthday.
Still, it felt good to be at a place where foolishness was tolerable.
As I said, we probably shouldn’t have gone to Rubulad, the second stage of my birthday party.
Rubulad’s an atmosphere of it’s own, with divergent interests and types. College kids looking for a good time. Tourists looking to experience the underground New York. Aging hipsters attempting to recapture their youth. And older people still just attempting to remain part of the scene. Everyone brings their own expectations, their own hopes to the party, as well as their own history–which is both a strength and a weakness.
For me, I felt both the need for some amount of predatory romance (to prove myself to my friends and myself on my birthday) and the intense-inwardness that comes from a night of drinking winding down.
The people there were nice to me, for the most part, lavishing me with free ice cream and pasta.
Ashna and her posse showed up later in the evening as I was getting ready to go.
Jonny-Jon-Jon and my best friend Frank from high school had formed an unlikely pair, attempting to woo a set of attractive Staten Islanders who ended up swinging towards guys that looked more “uniform”.
An old flame called me while I sat on the roof at the party, to wish me happy birthday, tell me she’d seen me on Letterman and encourage me to “call her or I’ll call you”.
I said thanks and hung up.
“What do you do with girls who are this way and that?” I asked Rob, who sat drunkenly near a giant birdcage on the hodgepodge of Rubulad’s roof.
“Fuck if I know.” Rob told me. “You love them or don’t. And fuck if you know why or can help it.”
I left shortly after.
I heard the next morning from Rob that Blake had found him in some bushes passed out and had taken him home.
“A mitzvah.”–I told Blake via text message.
“What’s that”–his reply.
“Look it up, goy”–I told him and went back to the sleep that would, with some barbeque later, finally kill my hangover
I spent the next couple of days hanging out with Frank, living like it was the summer of high school, playing video games and eating chinese food in his old-style Park Slope brownstone.
The hours passed fast lying on his uncomfortable bed, or his pathetic chair with tiny protruding staples sticking up from where a cushion used to be.
I saw Public Enemies with a cute (but crazy) girl and said walking out to her that it was and I quote: “The best Batman movie I’d ever seen.”
As we walked down the street, I thought well of this quote and typed it up on my phone to send to my friends.
“You’re rude.” She said, barely taking notice, as we walked. “And judgemental. No wonder, you’ve lived in New York your whole life.”
“Where’d you think I was from?” I asked.
“New Jersey.” She replied.
“I’ll try not be offended but I can’t promise you.” I told her.
We ran into a group of youthful tourists who I told which way to go to the Meatpacking District while they told me I looked like Seth Rogen.
“Are you coming with us?” One of them asked, after I’d pointed.
“Nope. I’m taking this young lady to the train and then we go our separate ways.”
And that we did.