Drunks

27Jan08

The imbibition of ethanol has had a tremendous impact on the experiences that I’ve been compelled to face today. Though certainly the world is an interesting place when viewed through stout-colored lenses, I’ve had not much more than about a cocktail and a half to enjoy and, well, I’m rolling. 

A placard in the bakery department informs me that, due to federal subsidies for E85 ethanol production, farmers have rolled their fields over to producing corn for fuel and thus the price of baked goods have increased. I thought not much of it at the time but now realize that I am in fact a character in a terrible high school creative writing assignment on the use of foreshadowing.  

The first indication that my night was going to become interesting came in the parking lot in front of my apartment, where a less-than-collected gentlemen prodded on behalf of his girlfriend;

“You guys got any herbs for sale?”

“What,” asked my roommate.”Sorry, no. Try again tomorrow!” I continued, and he lost interest, off to do other things and I suppose ask some other strangers for a high. 

Maybe that’s not so weird. I mean, the lease doesn’t list any dealers so you kind of need to ask around if you’re new. We laughed it off and my roommate was rolling after he processed the man’s inquiry. A story to tell the grandchildren, to be sure.

A few hours later after finishing a graphic design assignment, my friend and I took a ride to Java’s, my favorite downtown caffeination station.

There’s a branch of Java’s on my college campus, and it’s a fantastic place to sit and hang out. Nestled amongst brutalist brick, steel and glass buildings, sterile hallways, concrete walls and identical classrooms, the coffee shop is a jewel of culture and humanity that becomes packed with people wanting to be somewhere else. I like it there, it makes me feel comfortable and at home. I always have a friend in Java’s. Distraction is at a maximum, but one can always construct a bubble of privacy and comfort amongst the crowd. 

Were our campus coffee shop to grow up, get a good job and invest in some fancy Italian loafers, it would become the downtown branch. On a Saturday night it’s absolutely packed; crowds forming at the bar, the lounge constantly reconfiguring itself, groups coming and going, eclectic music pumping from the ceiling – the atmosphere belongs not to our time, it’s an indication of a culture that desperately wants to be something else, somewhere else. The place feels like a club more than a merchant of fine coffee and tea. The proprietors are absolutely doing something right by the city, and you can feel the walls creaking and straining, trying to contain the mass within from bursting out and destroying everything that some greedy sons of bitches have worked so very hard to impress upon the world. 

Somewhere rattling around in our heads, while we suck down cappuccinos and read novels, the idea to bake a loaf of bread takes form. Okay, we’ve never made bread before. After somehow butchering boxed cake mix the night prior, you could say that we have some serious balls for even suggesting such an endeavor. We exeunt into the cold night, and start back towards the car.

The electricity company has stopped illuminating their façade with massive floodlights, bless their souls. We are now on East avenue, a block from Spot, an inferior coffee parlor. A man is sauntering in the opposite direction.

“Vertex!” He shouts the name of a popular nightclub. “Where is it,”

“Uhm.” A unanimous response follows. The man hiccups in exactly the way you would expect a wandering urban drunk to hiccup. “I have no idea.”

“Is that it?” He points to a delicatessen. “Nah prob’ly not. Can’t be.”

“Yeah that’s not it.” While I’m sure their sandwiches are fine, I suspect the man would be unsatisfied with its not being Vertex.

“Eh, I don’t need to go anyway.” He goes anyway, lord knows where. He missed all of the busses, I have to wonder if he found a way home. Sparing the story of street-level navigation and experience of a car ride, we are soon home and my roommates are both present. They congratulate me on filling the refrigerator with milk, Guinness and leftovers.

They are quickly informed that bread will be baked. I am quickly informed that drinks will be made in celebration. Everyone is happy and both processes take their expected courses. The bread is nearly a disaster at more than one stage. My roommates are nearly out of their soft little heads at more than one stage. I do my best to remain lucid, as there are baked goods at stake!

I’ve never seen my friends particularly incapacitated, or at least I’ve never been an observer rather than participant. One is very giggly and happy. The other just never shuts up, and just acts so unnecessarily drunk. He wants so bad to be a frat boy. He’d certainly excel at it.

Around the time that the tumorous, golden-brown loaf of smooth, crusty gluten safely exits the oven for its resting period, roommate one starts to sober up and stares hungrily at the bread. We somehow convince him to wait longer than zero seconds before eating it.

The bread is so awesome. This is the recipe used. It needs no butter, oil, toppings of any kind. Much of it is devoured within seconds of the resting period’s end.

And then roommate two erupts from his lie-down on the futon and teleports to the kitchen sink. I ask him how he’s feeling. He waves his hand a bit. I know what’s coming. It comes.

He plasters the kitchen sink with a modified, partially-digested interpretation of the day’s caloric intake. Frowns fill the room. An hour later, everything is fine and the roommate is sleeping while sitting on top of the toilet.

I’m glad I’ve never been That Guy. Remain positive.

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