When you come to a break in the story, follow the red arrow to hear the real story, follow the blue arrow for a Dream Venue

As I step out of the shower, something about the start to the evening reminds me of a dream. I feel like I’ve been here before but experienced it in some other life, not quite consistent with the way things currently are. With the déjà vu comes the feeling of a chance for redemption as if something happened the last time I was preparing for this kind of night that barred its success.

 

I dry off, pull the towel around may waist, and reach for the doorknob. I stop.

I turn around, realizing I’ve left an unfinished bottle of wine on the shower shelf, blending with the containers of shampoo and conditioner. Drinking in the shower has become a relaxing and time-saving habit to prepare for evenings like this, and a bottle of wine is the perfect serving for a pregame.

 

I grab the blanc, its label speckled with drops of residual shower spray, take a long and hardy pull, and turn my attention towards the role of host – something also made simpler with a few extra drinks. My friends said they’d be arriving at this time so knowing them, I have about 20 minutes before the door swings open and the night actually begins. 

I hear a knock at the old, wooden front door, thinly split at the pane by years of winters like this and summers boasting an opposite temperament. I guess my friends are uncharacteristically timely tonight.

 

Oh Well

 

I shout for them to come in. I never lock the front door and even if I had, they would have let themselves in with the hidden key anyway.

 

I hear the thud of a six pack on the table, the crisp unlatching of the cans, and a sudden blast of music through the speakers as they make themselves at home.

I head to my room and assemble an outfit appropriate for the wide range of tonight’s festivities. From the feet up: black suede chelseas, black jeans, white graphic hoodie long black overcoat, red scarf, beanie. It’s winter and this outfit will carry me responsibly through a night filled with irresponsibility.

 

I hear my friends setting up camp. They’re wasting no time trying to rid themselves memories of a rush hour drive. I walk into the den and spot four shot glasses arranged neatly on the coffee table. Judging by the symmetrical pours in each one, I know just which one of my obsessive, compulsive friends did the job, and if he’s in a drinking mood, tonight is headed in a rare direction. We toast to being reunited, excited by the way we all assume the night will take us.

With a unanimous look of instant regret, we swallow the shots, and in a move I can’t explain, I reach for a bottle of gin on the bar cart to top off the glasses. We share a laugh coming to an early realization that we may be spending the better part of tomorrow morning working out what happened from this point forward. 

With a unanimous look of instant regret, we swallow the shots and seem to share the common idea of setting the glasses aside. The night is young and with plenty of good times ahead of us, there’s no reason to risk them all an unnecessary 8PM binge. Checking my watch, now seems as good a time as ever to head to dinner. 

With liquor in our system, food has never sounded better and my favorite spot is just a few blocks away. I swing my coat over my shoulder, retie my scarf, turn down the music and the lights, and lead the pack out the front door just like old times. Conversation on the way to the restaurant is reminiscent of conversation we used to have on the way to the bar district. We talk of music, relationships, and of course, the stories of previous nights that started just like this.

 

Those stories make me try to remember what it was we must have talked about the first time we had a night out together. If there were no previous stories to recount, perhaps there was less, or simply, worse conversation.  Surely, the ability to communicate about anything is important in any friendship, but the ability to talk of nothing is a truer sign of its strength.

 

We walk into the restaurant, greeted first by the warmth and then by the smells of Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. I usually come here alone and find myself at the bar, but for the sake of space, comfort, and a continuation of fluid conversation, we grab a table.

 

The menu is a touch complicated so I order for us all, but what I’m most looking forward to are the two magnums of cheap saké coming with the meal.  When they arrive at the table, it seems like an awful lot of booze for six people to add to the list of drinks we’ve already consumed, but tonight is about reconnection and a little bit of alcohol might be just what’s needed. 

What I fail to realize is that not everyone would be such a fan of the devilish Japanese liquid, and for the time being, the bottles remain nearly full.  A particularly adventurous friend switches seats with the safer one next to me with a dangerous look on his face. Without saying anything, he tops off our short glasses and grants me a cheers. Then another, and another, and a fourth. By the time the fifth comes around, it may very well have been the ninth because I was unable to keep track.

 

From a distance, it would seem that our table is making quick work of the two bottles, but inside information would show the truth – that two young men are far too ambitious in their goal to not let any liquor go to waste. After a fair share of foggy minutes, the two of us stand up for the first time in an hour or more and find ourselves stumbling.

Watching the two bottles drain far slower than imagined, I realize the combination of the acquired taste needed for the saké and the previous drinks of the night might be too much to overcome. Instead, the focus is on the food and the company.   

 

As any good night does, this one will boast memories of food worthy of the rest of its events. The most fitting part of it all isn’t even the delicious cuisine, but rather the perfect atmosphere. Loud music and loud conversation gradually turn our collective energy dial closer to where we’ll want it come time for the concert.  The saké bottles become stagnant in their positions at the table, proving the need for liquid courage unnecessary and unwelcome as an inhibitor of friendship and good times too strong to rely on its false magic. Satisfied, we stand from the table and head for the rest of the night.

As we leave the restaurant, the wobbles in our steps prove that what we drank did the trick. We meander the few blocks back to my place for a few more drinks and a little more turn up. This time, we stick to beer, and this time, we stick to a strict PARTYNEXTDOOR playlist in preparation for the night.

 

The friend I would suspect of bringing party favors, pulls a pair of finely rolled joints from his pocket, holds them to a flame, and passes them in opposite directions, being the gentlemen that he is. 

When one makes its way to me, I drunkenly and recklessly take too large a pull and find myself coughing up a fit. In need of water, but only finding a beer, I chase my failed rip with a chug. Within seconds of regaining my breath, I lose my balance. All at once, I’m hit by the bottle of shower wine, the excessive shots in the den, the bottles of saké, the coughing session, and the beer to top it off. My world collapses around me and tunnel vision starts to set in. In a final, desperate plea for survival, I head for my bed.

When one makes its way to me, nothing seems better than a quick calm of the nerves and a little relaxation to offset the excitement of my buzz. It blends smoothly with the alcohol and now that the indoor activities are out of the way, it’s time to call a cab.

 

On the drive over, we’re all just the right amount of fucked up, feeling good and ready to take full advantage of tonight’s final destination.