Saturday, June 28, 2008

i'm overhung...*

If you get that heading in an email, it probably has something to do with P3n1s en larg3m3nt.

But anyway, I got roped into bartending last night, and because I felt cheated out of a weekend night, I stayed up drinking beer with Eric until about 6 am. A funny thing about getting hammered at someone else's house is that when you wake up (and it's always no more than four hours later), it's always such a surprise. It never fails--every time it always takes me a minute to determine who I am, where I am and how I got there. It's a little like Jason Bourne coming to on the Greek freighter, except that your mouth tastes like a litterbox and you don't wake up mysteriously able to speak French. In fact, it's more likely you have forgotten English; try articulating yourself to a Whataburger drive-thru after a night of heavy drinking--you may not have wanted onions or sweet tea, but oh well, that's what your getting.

And that's another thing--is there anything worse for a hangover than sweet-tea? Ugh. It's bad enough sober, but when you're hammered or post-hammered, it's such a huge disappointment. Imagine being in a Whataburger drive through at 3 am, drunk, desperate and deliriously thirsty, listening to George Noory tell you about some water heater he endorses because regular people only tune into Coast to Coast AM during its crappy commercials. And it's hot, and you're exhausted, and all you want is some grease to sop up the booze in your stomach and a little bit of caffeine to keep you awake and more or less driving between the lines, and so you start to dream about that Whatasized tea--it's so cold and strident and that first sip will be like jumping through the waterfall in those old Irish Spring commercials, and who knows--maybe that tea will totally sober you up, provide you with winning lottery numbers and teleport Adriana Lima into your bed. And so you wait. And because this is Whataburger, you wait some more. A lot more. Fucking eons. You can feel your tongue swelling. This might be what dying of thirst actually feels like. You try to focus on the local plumbing service commercial crackling out of your door speakers, hoping against hope that it will end and George will be back to coax some shocking truths out of an alien abductee who has also been raped by a ghost. But he's not. This time it's a commercial for bee-pollen capsules or some bullshit. You wonder if bee-pollen capsules makes you sober. Or handsome. And then the Tahoe full of dimwitted sorority girls ahead of you pulls forward, and you're one step closer to quenching your thirst, to putting a little bit of food on your stomach and to passing out on your bathroom's amazingly cool linoleum with your pants around your ankles. And by God's immortal and forgiving only begotten son, you are so fucking thirsty! You think about that fucking meathead doublefisting Skyy and sodas and ice-waters. Remember how you inwardly mocked him? Remember disintegrating him with glares of withering disdain on account of his muscles, and chiseled good-looks and the 20-year olds in thigh-length sundresses hanging on his every word? Oh how they laughed! And at what? Some rehashing of a Family Guy episode, probably. Of course, you thought, if they would only talk to you, they'd see what real comedy was. If they could see past the bags under your eyes and the gut under your t-shirt, they'd discover your boundless wit and bathe in your intellect as your jokes and remarks flit between scathing commentary and undeniably hilarious self-deprecation. But no, they were laughing at him, and he was beneath your contempt, what with his responsible drinking and hydrating and all.

By Christ! If only you could get that fucking iced-tea!

And finally, after what seems like an eternity, you see an orange-and-white-striped bag extend through the window, and a tanned, skinny arm reaches out of the Tahoe, and oh thank Jesus in his fabulous mansion, THEY HAVE GOTTEN THEIR FOOD. And then you see it: the Whatasized beverage. It is not so much passed as magically floated from the drive-thru window into the car and you think about how the driver, oh how spoiled and clueless she is! will probably plop it down on her coffee table and eventually forget about it, or worse, drunkenly spill it on her lap! But for that instant, of all the jealousies you harbor for that girl, her cold, life-saving beverage is what you envy most.

And finally she leaves, off to probably bang that fucking meathead, he of the abs and head full of thick hair and the polo shirt and the bright and successful future, but at this point, you don't care any more, for your Whatasized iced tea is nearly in your grasp, sequestered within the bricks and under an orgy of frantic beeping and neon lights. And by Christ, George Noory is back! And he (and you, since he always says "we") are talking with the lady whose past-lives were murdered by chemtrails, and while it's fascinating and all--OH MY GOD!!! HERE IS YOUR FUCKING FOOD!!! NO YOU DON'T NEED KETCHUP!!! AND NO NAPKINS EITHER--DO YOU LOOK LIKE YOU USE NAPKINS--CLEARLY YOU ARE ALREADY WEARING PANTS!!! AND OH YOUR GOD IN HEAVEN:

HERE IS YOUR ICED-TEA!!!

Never before have you ever delivered a look of that is as simultaneously abject and full of gratitude as the look you deliver to the guy in the window, who, incidentally, is named Cody and whose hand tattoos indicate former gang-membership.

You put the tea between your legs but realize that it is sweating with condensation, which you don't want on your pants but that you do want on your forehead, so you hold the cup up and boy does it feel good--if it feels that good on your head, imagine what its contents will feel like sliding down the balsawood tunnel of your throat!

So you pay, ignoring the fact that you've probably overdrafted, and you drive off. And as you pull into the street (careful to keep the dotted line about a foot to your left and always a foot to your left), you think, well, we need to sober up but fast! so you cram a mouthful of piping hot fries into your mouth and mash them down with a chicken strip so hot that a geiser probably escaped when your teeth tore it open. A piece of skin burns on the roof of your mouth, dangling like the isosceles flags flapping over a used car lot. You have a murmuring afterthought that maybe you should have waited a minute or two before stuffing your face with scalding, still-congealing grease, but never mind that, because there is THE TEA.

As the straw punctures the pre-cut X on the lid, it makes that comical creaking noise, causing you to chuckle. And George Noory's disembodied voice chuckles along with his guest and everyone is having such a great time! Who knew that straw noises and government cover ups could be so goddamned funny! But they are, and it's all because of the palliative powers of your Whatasized iced-tea, so brown and a little acrid but refreshing and curative, lapping briskly over ice chips that look like frosty stones in a merry, babbling brook. And the straw goes between your lips, and it creaks again (this time the sound makes you think of a clown's bicycle horn) and you take that first, miraculous, ecstatic sip, a sip that sends the tea to the back of your throat and maybe into your very soul.

And you choke.

You choke and you spit and you look at that cup and chunk it out your window in disgust, because due to some communication foul up (maybe Cody's, probably yours) you received not the refreshing, rejuvenating Whatasized iced-tea you were anticipating, but a mockery, an aberration, an open sore on the scalp of universal order and goodness.

They gave you a Whatasized SWEET TEA, which is like being served 32 ounces of someone else's slobber. Because that's what sweetened tea tastes like.

Sweet tea is like those "chest-mimic" creatures found in D&D. You think your getting something awesome, but it's actually a nasty, dangerous, party-killing surprise.

This is why you shouldn't drink.

Steve

*overslept. i'm ripe, desheveled, perfectly unkempt.

1 comment:

Danielle said...

I hate to say this, but your best prose comes from the inevitable combination of binge drinking and fast-food.

Just quit driving yourself between the two -