Day 6886 | Day 6938 | Day 7040
Ok, so this is going to be one of those stories.
It starts out (as all these stories tend to) with a question: "Fuck man, what're we going to do for Halloween?" Though it seems simple, this is a deceptively important question on college campuses and the answer can determine the outcome of an entire semester. Halloween is the first real party of the year, straddling the summer and fall drinking seasons, and the single day of the year where women dress up like whores and men like barbarians without a trace of irony. Add to this the amount of self-control possessed by your average college student and you've got the potential for one hell of a night.
Which brings us back to "Fuck man, what're we going to do for Halloween?" The logical answer was irish car bombs. Yes indeed, that famous Belfast beer cocktail; one shot whiskey, one shot irish cream, and a bottle of Guinness. They start out rough as the whiskey kicks you in the teeth and then finish smooth with the cream and an aftertaste that varies from coffee to caramel to chocolate milk and everything else in between. And most importantly, they are damn good drinks.
So we worked our way rather quickly through our bottles of Jameson, Baileys, and Guinness. By group estimation (based more on the number of empties left over than actual memory) we each had four car bombs in about 45 minutes, give or take a quarter of an hour. For those of you keeping score at home, that amounts to about 10 'drinks'. This, in itself, was a very poor idea.
At this point one member of our little cadre suggested (in an Oirish accent of course) that we "go catch a spot o' tail at the frats." Coincidentally, this was also the point at which my better judgement kicked me in the shins and ran away belting show tunes from the 1940s. This was crucial to the night's events since, to put it lightly, Greek life and I don't get along while I'm sober. However, abandoned by my usual prejudices and reasoning, I found myself arriving at the fraternity of choice not 10 minutes later and was bustled past the strobe lights and 300 watt sub woofers which illuminated writhing teenagers and twenty-somethings in the style of Jerry Bruckheimer, up a flight of stairs and into the room of 'this-really-cool-guy-you'll-like-him'.
The room (like most of the rest of the fraternity) was trashed and had the stale smell of cigarettes, dirty clothing, Axe body spray, and marijuana. Homemade furniture made of plywood and two by fours was crammed into odd corners, splinters menacing the rapidly increasing number of people in the room. The room's occupant cleared a mixed pile of clothes, papers, and books off the 'futon' and handed me a beer from the fridge.
Now let's take a moment and pause for a bit of reflection. I am not the most socially capable person. In fact, when I meet you I will talk your ear off for fear of giving you the chance to speak and make fun of me. I now find myself in a fraternity on Halloween night with freely flowing alcohol and people with many fewer inhibitions to lose than myself. And I'm being handed a beer by the person whom my only girlfriend left me for.
I accepted the beer and sat down what I hope was smoothly as the alcohol of the previous hour began to take hold. To my right on the couch were two people, whom I'd never met before, making out with reckless abandon (I don't think they'd ever met either). To my left three guys were molesting each other's nipples between swigs of beer. And while I was sitting there I decided that, no, I'm not really much more tolerant of people when I'm drunk than when I'm sober after all. So without a word I deposited my empty beer can in the lap of Molester #1 and made my way out of the frathouse and back to my own room two blocks away.
This is how I found myself alone in my dorm room, kneeling in front of the toilet and vomiting what had been my only meal in 48 hours. I leaned over the toilet until all I could do was dry heave and weep silently, vomit and tears tasting bitter in more than the metaphorical sense. My legs were bent awkwardly underneath me and when I attempted to stand they buckled completely sending my arm plunging into the vomit-filled toilet. So I did what any reasonable drunk would do: crawled into the shower and turned on the water.
And I sat and let the water run, rinsing the half-digested chunks of chicken and macaroni and tears off my skin and clothes. I leaned against the wall and stared at the water shooting out of the shower head, shifting my head to perfectly recreate the shot from Psycho (you know, the part right before she gets murdered). And I sat.
I lost track of the time, it must have been over an hour. I was hypnotized by the motion of the bubbles racing each other down the drain in spirals and the mingling smells of puke and steam and soap. I sat and I thought about everything in the last year that I regretted, everyone I had met and everyone whom I had drifted away from, the things that I did wrong and the things I did right. I thought about my first relationship and the friends I'd known for more than half my life that I'd cast off. I thought about being the first male in my family too lazy to put in the work to become an Eagle Scout and about my crippling fear of social interaction. I thought about life and death and mere survival. And I had my moment of Nirvana.
Then I shut off the water and went on with my life.