“Because Saturday is your turn in the barrel.”
J.ko’s traditional Halloween Birthday Bash theme, this year, was “The Best Of…”. You were to wear a favorite costume of yours from a party of hers from years past. One of my favorite parties was the chaos of “Dress as a Drink”. Casting about for a suitable costume, I ran out Saturday evening to buy myself wings, a green t-shirt, 100 plastic shot glasses, and a bottle of Absinthe.
“We arrived at the party late due to an accident. I knew I was in trouble when I realized Al was dressed as a green fairy, and passing out shots of absinthe. thats about where it all goes fuzzy.”
It goes fuzzy later than that for me. But not much. A timeline:
1930: “Lara Croft” and I depart for the party.
1950: In a nice old-school touch, picked up bondgirl at her parents’ house, dressed like the photo accompanying the Us Weekly headline “CARLOS ZAMBRANO’S GAY PIC NIGHTMARE”.
2015: Arrive at venue at the same time as Jessica Rabbit and her piano player. Greeted by Magnum P.I. and the Halloween Birthday Bash Chimera.
2020: We crack the absinthe.
2030: Next wave arrives: Elvis, Cookie Monster, and the Great Pumpkin (later rechristened Big Orange by me.)
2045: Absinthe flows.
2100: To my pleased surprise, someone arrives in a stunningly convincing Notorious R.O.B. costume.
2105: The flavor effect of absinthe on subsequent sips of Miller Lite is analyzed.
2110: Emma Peel arrives wearing, as I recall, hi-gloss black latex paint.
2115: Tony and Angela arrive late due to an accident. More absinthe. An argument over who has to drive home ensues.
2120: Magnum — who was, might I add, wearing the finest Wannstache it has ever been my privilege to admire on a civilian — and I begin drinking Rebel Yell out of a decanter fashioned after a 1937 gasoline pump. Shotglasses again provided by the green fairy.
2130: This is the last time I am certain of what time it is or the correct order of events until 0106 Sunday. Things that I remember happening between 2130 Saturday and 0106 Sunday:
…a conversation about my role as office bitch in the Gekko’s business…picking up Emma Peel at least twice…the World’s Greatest Photographer arriving, possibly in costume…promising to send someone an MP3 of something, about which commitment I remember neither the file nor the recipient…more shots…the arrival of two Santas, which I believe to have been Entarte Kunst and Mrs. Claus, who I was disappointed not to be sober enough to have seen more of…talking to Cookie Monster while ferociously resisting bumming cigarettes…wondering why there weren’t more people around to help drink the fucking absinthe…some rum, I think…explicitly not remarking on Jessica Rabbit’s outfit eight or ten times…pressing my faceful of cold sweat against the lovely cool mirror in the bathroom…pressing my faceful of cold sweat against the lovely cool floor of the bathroom…fully committing to my sad state in the same room, so to speak…mopping up the floor as best I could, and missing the bathmat (Thanks, J)…changing shirts and wings (Thanks whoever)…someone giving me Pepto-Bismol (Thanks, I think, Elvis)…getting to the truck (Thanks Big Man I assume)…being driven home unrestfully over 45 minutes on surface roads, with a lot of railroad tracks and hard stops because someone didn’t know how to get from one new house to another on the expressway (Get bent, Lovegood)…more committing out the car window…getting into the house and noting the time, 1:06am, on my way into bed.
A note on the lost time: Please do not remind me — unless you are the person to whom I promised the MP3 — of any of the rest. When one has only blacked out once, it should be experienced in full, and the memory-strobe effect is crucial to the full experience.
“The acid had shifted gears on him; the next phase would probably be one of those hellishly intense introspection nightmares. Four hours or so of catatonic despair…”
-Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas
I woke up at 630, made my way to the kitchen, and drank a liter and a half of water. Took four Advil, two Excedrin, and two Xanax (can’t hurt). I assumed I would sleep til nine and that would be the end of it.
Forty-five minutes later, fifty ounces of water and eight pills enjoyed a brief renaissance between undesirable situations.
Around eight-thirty, Luna thoughtfully got up and got us each coffee and a muffin, my share of which went unused. Around ten, I had a little Gatorade. Briefly. Then I began, slowly, to pass though something akin to the stages of mourning: I was in enormous pain, then I was terribly embarassed for a while, then I was angry at you people who missed the party, as I had to drink most of the absinthe myself, then for about three hours I was intensely angry at myself for the loss of control. All this time, mind you, my brain felt like the water glasses in Jurassic Park.
At eleven forty-nine, I dragged myself from bed and adjusted my fantasy football team. It was one of the five hardest things I’ve ever done. Some things are too important to miss.
Around two, I spent a little time texting gracious hostess and former bath-mat owner j.ko. Sample exchange:
j.ko: “Feeling human yet?”
Al: “All too”
By the way, setting the phone to “Vibrate” hurt, and the message chime was too loud.
Two days later, I have come to be more philosophical about the whole thing. Binging at parties, even at my (our) age, is something like eating shellfish or street food. You are going to have more good experiences — the party the weekend after the shuttle crash, ginger brandy with the father of the bride, Luna & the Great Pumpkin’s foray into toider repair, Natalie, 4am craps on the advice of legal counsel, goin’ swimmin’ with barenekked wimmen by the light of the Zion nuclear power plant, Christmas shopping, New Year’s plant theft, spreading the word of the Lord and the cards of the Orgy Consultant, overproof penis coladas, convivial dinners at rumjungle, and more than a dozen previous Halloween parties, among many, many others — than you are bad. But you do run the risk of the occasional bad oyster, and for two days hence you will wish you were dead. But it’s worth it. And it could have been worse.
I was thisclose to bringing two bottles of Absinthe.