Today I was in the middle of a meeting with a couple of programmers about the project I’m working on, and I needed to describe a particular detail of the UI I’m designing. I grabbed the nearest dry-erase marker and began sketching my idea on the whiteboard (this was not my cube) when I lost my train of thought. For some reason, I was thinking about a trip Jen and I took to Houston.
A brief note here: My wife will no doubt add in clarifications to the record after I post this; My intent is not to lie, obfuscate or mislead, but merely to spin a good yarn.
We were in town to attend the wedding of her roommate from college, and staying at another house across town with her friend J.P. They’ve also been friends since college, and as college friends often do, they share the collective knowledge and experience of being friends in one of the more formative times of one’s life. Fortunately, unlike many college friends, they haven’t fallen out of touch, so when we met up with J.P., they settled into a comfortable banter with one another, and I played quiet man, enjoying their company.
The wedding was beautiful, the bride and groom radiant; the reception was gracious and the families charming. We sipped wine, ate some food, and chatted with folks until the reception broke up at an early four or five PM. There was talk of gathering people together in town for drinks in the evening, so we made plans, returned to our host’s house, and invited him out with us.
After changing, we met up with a bunch of folks at the prescribed bar and continued drinking and chatting with folks. Because we were at a Mexican-themed restaurant, I ordered Margaritas for Jen and I, and we got pleasantly squiffed in short order.
Now, J.P. is a connoisseur of many fine things, and on this trip I learned that one of them was tequila. Not your regular rotgut drink-the-worm kind, but the sipping, $100+ a bottle kind. I had never known about expensive tequila, much less try it, so I decided to have some when J.P. offered to buy a round of shots for the table. (Courting one of his best friends, I didn’t want to come off like a milquetoast; sadly, this was a strategic mistake.)
My opinion on fine sipping tequila is that it’s much like fine Kentucky bourbon: Other people like it, but the sensation of drinking 95-octane gasoline is not so much for me. Unfortunately, this realization (and my sense of better judgement) showed up after four or five shots of the stuff, so by the time our “dinner” arrived, I was righteously shitfaced.
I don’t remember much about the meal, other than that I was hungry, but Jen tells me I ate everything that was put down in front of me. Then I ate everything else on the table, until it was all gone. I figured, in my state, that eating would be good to pad my stomach. This too was a strategic mistake. The cheesy, greasy food we ordered had the opposite effect, so I left the table and quietly (I think) walked outside for some air when the room begain spinning.
Fortunately for me, the party broke up soon after this point, and we all headed to our cars. I walked to J.P.’s new Chevy truck and waited for he and Jen to catch up, and I felt the first of several waves of green wash over me. Not wanting to blow chunks on J.P.’s shiny paint job, I walked to an adjoining fence and prepared for the worst. Somewhere at this point I realized there were two angry dogs on the other side of the fence, mere inches from my face, and I remember thinking that I would aim my puke for their snarling heads until Jen grabbed the scruff of my neck and threw me into the back seat of the truck.
The ride home is a blur, but here’s a breakdown of my mental state:
don’tpukeontheleather don’tpukeontheleather don’tpukeontheleather don’tpukeontheleather don’tpukeontheleather don’tpukeontheleather
Reaching J.P.’s house, I scrambled upstairs to the third floor bathroom, where, out of sight, I hoped to alleviate my problem and rid myself of dinner. Here again that trickster Murphy decided to fuck with your humble, bumbling correspondent, and after I had purged myself of several gallons of the cheesy gloop, the toilet backed up. Now, in my sober moments, nobody is faster with a shutoff valve than the Idiot, here. In my sick, drunk, embarrased, panicked state, it took several crucial moments to find the valve, while the floor puddled with a good inch or so of bile. And, as we all know, that particular smell does not play well with one’s already tenuous grip on recovery. What does one do in this situation? One throws up again, as if one had any choice in the matter. I think I might have used the sink for this part, but I’m not sure. Things get fuzzy around this point.
I do remember Jen knocking on the door (i’d locked it) and asking me if I was alright. I opened it, and she good-naturedly got me into bed, cleaned up my mess, and returned downstairs to sip expensive tequila with J.P. while I slept the restless sleep of the hopelessly drunk.
At the end of the weekend, I left Houston with a monumental hangover, a new nickname (“Tequila Sunrise”), a vow to never again touch the vile poison, and another chapter of embarassment to add to my life’s novel.
So here’s where I try to bring this rambling tale home for you:
I’m standing in front of two blinking programmers, struggling to finish my sentence (and remember just what it was that I was talking about), holding a stupid dry-erase marker. I held it close to my nose, took a sniff, and held it out to them.
“Does this smell like tequila to you?”
I swear to god. It smelled just like tequila. I wouldn’t make any of this up.