We sat there, in Sally Bird Park, getting blitzed on our box wine, and soon enough a pony-tailed hobo joined us. And then the hobo hollered over to his passing vagabond friend. And then two tough-looking Central Tech kids joined us, who were themselves skipping shop class.
So there we were -- two hobos who’d grown up together around the corner from the park, hitting a roach; two bros from Central Tech, swilling a 40 of Black Ice; and the two of us 20-somethings hitting back box wine – making merry in the little parkette. The six of us told stories, we laughed, we cried (only kidding), we chastised the high schoolers for ditching school. We even enacted a history-based quiz show to help the them study for a test later that day.
Sometimes alcohol makes you do things you regret the next morning and sometimes it turns you into someone you don’t recognize, but on this particular day, it made us all fast friends. Alcohol, the great equalizer.
Tired of our old haunts on St. Laurent Boulevard, I and my friends T-dawg and Paul set out for “sin city,” Plattsburgh, NY, (a 45- minute drive from Montreal). Taking with us only the bare essentials, our passports, two 24s, and a bottle of rum, we began the night with the highest of expectations. What happened in Plattsburgh, would stay in Plattsburgh, we agreed.
When we got there, we were immediately disappointed. Classes at Plattsburgh U were out and everyone had gone home for the summer; it was seniors’ bingo night at the only nightclub in town; and the radio told us that, due to bad weather, the farmer’s market would be closed tomorrow morning. But the night was still young and we refused to give up hope. We made our way over to Geoffrey’s Pub for a round of drinks. The bartender asked to see my ID. Damn it. A month away from my 21st birthday, I had to settle for a Shirley temple. “Why’d you guys come here, anyway? We go to Montreal on weekends,” the bartender told us. Just great.
He told us to check out the Naked Turtle, a bar overlooking the bay. The place looked pretty promising from outside: a terrace, a DJ, a dance floor, girls dancing. To get past the bouncer, I snuck in through the terrace. I rejoined my friends, we got a table and ordered some drinks.
Eight-dollar pitchers? We’ll take four. Shots given to us by the middle-aged women at the other end of the bar? Why, thank you. Complementary Wrestlemania XXIVVIV t-shirts? Yes, please.
To the best of my recollection, at closing time, we went out to the parking lot and shared our beer with a guy with dreadlocks and his girlfriend. We climbed into docked boats. We wandered around downtown Plattsburgh in a drunken stupor. We were stopped by the police, who, for some reason, let us off the hook. In the end, I woke up in the front passenger seat of T-dawg’s car, hungover as hell.
This summer: Burlington, VT.
P.S. If you go to the Turtle, tell them T-dawg sent you.
This story starts at the end, with me waking up with my bed and clothes full of sand. Extracting the previous night’s events took some serious investigation.
I spent the last summer studying in Valencia, Spain. And by “studying”, I mean partying and attending class perpetually hungover. In Spain, things usually get going around 11 or midnight, and last til sunrise.
On this particular night, my friends and I decided it would be a good idea to go to a bar specializing in shots, which of course included tequila. After ending up at a beach-side club, we decided to go skinny-dipping in the Mediterranean. While most of my friends frolicked in the waves, I started doing yoga (which allegedly included a head-stand) with a random group of strangers I’d met. They were from Poland, but since I was so gone by that point, I’d forgotten how to speak my mother tongue and instead spoke in a mixture of sign language, English, French and Spanish. Surprisingly, this is not the occasion at which I was christened “Boozie Suzie.”
I was 17. A friend hosted a party at his cottage property featuring live DJs and lots of people. I purchased a 40oz of Beefeater dry gin. I have no recollection of the festivities. After going for a little dip in the lake, clothes soaking wet, I ended up in the back seat of my friend’s parent’s van. As the loud music pumped from the speakers, I discovered a compartment conveniently located to my right. Feeling a little woozy, I saw a container for the contents of a reckless night (puke). I kept it a secret and closed the compartment. Don’t remember getting home. I remember waking up next to my toilet. I awakened completely disoriented, reached for the bathroom doorknob and got disoriented by the intensity of morning sunlight. I walked by the porch, I spotted my mom, soon realizing it was Mother’s day. I reached to give my mother a hug on her day, she pulled away, look of disgust. She asked me if I had a good night. I looked down at my shirt/pants, absolutely covered in yellow regurgitation.
One of my more memorable drinking experiences was many years ago at a residence party. We were all drinking away when late into the night a contest was announced: the prize, a new shirt and all you had to do was change into it, in front of everyone. I'm generally a pretty shy person but was never one to turn down a new shirt. Of course, as this was a school party - I knew most people there but luckily the drunkenness caused that necessary shield from all logic and embarrassment, and to make this short, I ended up with the shirt. The night ended, and I luckily passed out in my own bed but every drunken night comes with a price attached to it - especially if there was also a free t-shirt involved. After waking up from a pretty deep sleep, the first thought was that it was all a horrible dream. But as I slowly regained consciousness - I looked over, and there, on the floor was the t-shirt. And with it, all the shame attached from the night before.
It was all a whirlwind, heat, and flash. At one moment we were all dazedly looking up at the UC courtyard roof, speculating - the next moment two of us were on top of it. After enormous drunken effort to get the rest of us on the roof, me and my friend Greg suffered near-broken bone injuries after trying (and miserably failing) to climb the rain pipes running up the wall towards the rooftop. It was probably a 15 feet drop onto the cold, hard, inhospitable pavement. My bum suffered the most - I couldn’t sit on a flat surface for three weeks afterwards and my buddy’s ankle had doubled in size, suspiciously resembling a spoiled pomegranate.
But our UC roof trip was productive regardless of injuries. We ended up with a book of Essential Darwin Essays and an enormously tall street sign that just seemed perfect for the living room. However, if a prof/TA is looking for a Darwin book that mysteriously vanished from his office a couple of months ago - do not contact the author of this story.