It’s been a while since I drank enough to call myself ‘drunk’. I even keep ‘tipsy’ at bay most of the time because, well, I’ve vomited into bushes once too often, you know? So I forgive myself for forgetting what it’s like. Completely forgot that I’m not a sleep-til-noon drunk. I used to be when I was 17 or 18. Now, however, I’m a sleep five hours and get up because my head is pounding and I’m hungry kind of drunk.
Yes, I went to Ben’s party. Years of rave-like illegal parties have left me prepared: my backpack was heavy with pre-chilled beers, bottle opener, water to drink after the beer was gone, and a copy of my book I’d signed for Ben’s b-day. I had hand written directions I took down from Google Maps, a full city map with the address circled on it, and my phone with Ben’s number in case I got lost. The most difficult time of the evening was when I got off the metro and tried to orient myself. I wasn’t in any danger. One way, and I’d walk into the river. The other, and I’d find the party. The problem was that the metro stop was very much like every other metro stop in the city: it was a small hub with a dozen or so paths and streets leading off in every direction, including 5 going my way. Which one was the right one? I fell back on the solid advice given to me by my bird-sensed brother: when in doubt, go with the flow. As I stood outside the metro using the streetlight to look at my map, three people walked towards the metro station from one path. It was in the right direction, so that was were I started. And it was the right road! Kept looking behind me as I walked; I have the bad habit of memorizing a path from one direction only, so when I have to flip it I get lost. Didn’t want that to happen, so kept noting here’s the park, there’s a fountain, there’s a restaurant I turn at, etc. Found it no trouble. Didn’t even stop outside to smoke a joint before going in, like I’d planned. I just rang the bell and entered.
I got there early, right at the start of the party. Don’t know how many of you are early party goers; it’s a tough job. The lights were still too bright in the house, and no one had had enough to drink to loosen up the conversation. The Dutch was thick and fast. I sat on the couch, kind of off from everyone else. But leave it to the Dutch! They don’t have their social arrows pointed inward. Nope. Within 20 minutes, someone had taken it upon themselves to start a conversation with me. More people started to show up, I got up off the couch and began to mingle. The place I was most comfortable is the place I’m always the most comfortable in when I’m at parties: the smoking/toking area. Keeping my hands and mouth busy with a joint and a beer is SO much better than just sitting there. And the chosen area was out on Ben’s balcony, ’cause he’s not a smoker. Dude! I thought my balcony was small!! Six people standing shoulder to shoulder and the place was packed. Somehow, that made it so much easier for me. I couldn’t help but butt into conversations: they were right there. And people couldn’t help but talk to me; I was right at their elbow. Everybody was so pleasant. I had to think of the right adjective there; and pleasant fits. They all found out (within 2 sentences) that I’m just learning Dutch, so they kept to a health mix of English and Nederlands, making sure to translate if a joke was told in Dutch.
Remember how I was wondering if this party would be like the one from my past, where I learned something about myself? Yeah. I found something I must remember to give thanks for. When I’m not flipping depressed as all shit, I’m a funny person. I make people laugh. And Blah, THANK YOU SO MUCH for telling me about funny Dutch surnames. OMG. THE best ice breaker at a Dutch party ever. I took that out as a question to everyone on the balcony when conversation lagged, and man oh man! Did I get the laughter and a dozen or more funny surnames that everyone knew. I’m gonna use that one for years to come, even though I now know it’s absolutely true. My friend from South Africa tells me Dutch surnames from the Napoleon era are funny. Is it true? Wow. Breaks the ice, gets them laughing, and I get a bit of a history lesson, to boot. Wonderful. But yeah, I made ’em laugh last night over and over again, and it felt good. REAL good.
I also consumed the two beers I’d brought plus a house beer (which is why my head is pounding a bit) AND the two joints I’d rolled for the night. Yep. Mania full blown with all those people. I could have stayed there all night, talking and joking and drinking and smoking. The old party girl came out; she’s just as feisty and un-tired as she ever was. But the old party girl is a bit wiser now than when she was 20 or 30 or even 40. I was sad to go, sad to say goodbye to Ben (and yes. I kissed him. With tongue). But I’m happy this morning that I didn’t over do it, didn’t stay there until the room spun and I started to hurl. I kept a bit of control by limiting my time there, and I’m giving myself a gold star for it today. Hell, five gold stars! I don’t know that there was anyone other than me who was older than 30. And then the language thing. Fifteen years ago, I would have stayed there all night and probably slept with Ben. So good for me for making it there through my anxiety, not binging too much on alcohol or smoke, and really getting up off my ass and mingling. I feel solid despite my hangover.
Made it back to the metro without an anxiety attack over whether or not I was going the right way. Got off a stop before mine to walk the last 15 minutes. I was still wound up from so much social activity, still wanting to go right back to the party. So I pounded pavement and breathed deep, cold breaths. It helped. Got in, said goodnight to my bro, and half passed out in my bed.
Last night so awakened that night owl in me. That flipping party girl. Oh, I like her when she doesn’t get too drunk. It’s a blast to walk in her skin then. Just wish she had more stamina. Three beers really is my limit, and my yawns can get very wide by 2 a.m. But at least I still got it. I can still go out there, have fun and be fun. I’m not the old crone sitting in the corner who everyone thinks is someone’s mother. Dat be cool.
Running the high risk of burn out today. Five hours of sleep, and lane swimming at 9. If I’m still awake by then. Oh, hell, even if I’m not awake I’ll go and sit in the damned whirlpool for my shoulder. It’ll do me good to get into the water. I’m too cranked up. The body is tired, the mind even more so, but I just can’t slow down enough to rest. So I’ll go burn it out in the fount of chlorination. Finally feeling the effects of flutter-kick swimming and all the walking; the outside of my thighs, butt, and hips has that burning sensation that tells me I’m getting to the target area. Yippee-ki-yay! Of course, let me state this clearly: my body image has been getting more and more skewed as my mania has continued. I’ve been feeling like my lower body is ten times wider than it is. Got pulled up by the short hairs the other day with THAT one. Saw a new tenant in the building. Her lower body IS a couple of times wider than the rest of her. BIG spread in the thighs. I looked at my reflection in the window as I passed her: my lower body isn’t like that. Not even close. But that’s just fueling the fire today. I want to keep going, keep exercising, keep the burn happening. Slim down, get fast, damn it!
And off I go. ZOOM.