Sunday, October 31, 2010

Intoxicated Travel

My husband and I returned from our vacation in London yesterday. I would love to tell you all about it- the sights, the food, the history- except I don't remember anything.

I was drunk the entire time.

London has pubs. Lots and lots of pubs. See, over here in Denver all we have are bars. Bars containing a few beers, some plastic tables, and a television in the corner blaring some game. But pubs in London? It's a whole different story.

"There are different types of beer in London," my husband informed me, flipping through our London guidebook. "They have lagers, and bitters, and stouts." His eyes gleamed in anticipation.
"What's the difference between them?" I asked. We were sitting on the plane in coach, and I was struggling with opening the plastic bag wrapped around the pillow and blanket provided to us.
"It's based on their-" my husband stopped short, noticing that I had managed to get my head caught inside the plastic bag and was suffocating inside it. "Dear god, honey!" He freed me from the bag frantically as I gasped for air. "What-how...?" He read the warning label on the side of the plastic: TO AVOID DANGER OF SUFFOCATION, KEEP THIS PLASTIC BAG AWAY FROM BABIES AND CHILDREN.
I coughed and sucked down more air. "You just saved my life," I wheezed to him.
"Um...." I could see the confusion on my husband's face, as he silently registered that he needed to keep plastic bags out of my hands. "I guess I should get electric outlet covers for the house as well," he mumbled, dryly.
"Good idea," I said, thinking about the week before, when I tried to shove a metal fork in one of them, just to see what would happen.

We landed in London and checked into our hotel, excited to see the big sights- Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the Clock Tower, Big Ben! Touring down the streets of London, though, we suddenly stopped.
"Look, a pub," I pointed.
"I guess we could stop in for a quick pint," my husband said eagerly.
Four hours and five pints later, I was telling the bartender my life story and hubby was discussing Deerhunter's latest album with a group of guys from Clerkenwell.
"You mean you almost suffocated inside a plastic bag?" The bartender asked me, amused. "Isn't that how babies die?"
"I know, right?" I rolled my eyes, like it was the bag's fault. Suddenly serious, I reached out and clutched his hand. "Oh, and thank you for letting us borrow David and Victoria," I said, referring to the Beckham's move to Los Angeles. "We are taking VERY good care of them."
"Um- thanks, mate," he said, shaking his head and laughing. I really appreciated his good humor.

This happened again and again. "Look, a pub," was said by either my husband or I at least 8-10 times a day, followed by a pint (or two). Which means London started to get real fuzzy.

"Excuse me....sir- where's the Rosetta Stone?" I slurred to one of the security guards in the British Museum, trying to remember how many drinks I had downed that afternoon.
"It's on the Ground Floor, to the left," he informed me.
"Oh, thanks- so it's just a stone's throw away," I joked, unable to resist the pun.
He raised an eyebrow as my husband dragged me away. "You need to read your information guide,” he said. “That guy probably gets asked that question a thousand times a day.”
“But I’m listening to music right now,” I protested, gesturing to the headphones around my ears.
“That’s your audio guide, sweetie,” he replied. “Not a CD player. You type in the number for each of the displays and it will tell you about the object.”
“Right.” I thought it was weird that Lady Gaga was giving me an informational talk on the Sutton Hoo Treasure, but I just assumed she was just being avant garde or something.

At the Tower of London, famous for imprisoning and executing traitors back in the day, I ended up falling asleep (read: passing out) on the lawn. I came to when I felt my husband shaking me awake.
"Oh god, I know exactly how Anne Boleyn felt," I moaned.
"Honey, she was beheaded. Aren't you being a little dramatic?"
"Please. An axe to the neck about sums up the amount of pain I'm in. At that last pub, the Lamb & Goat? Was I singing, 'Lagers and Bitters and Stouts, oh my' to the tune of that similar song in The Wizard Of Oz?"
My husband squinted in thought. "I think the pub was called Goat & Lamb- and yes, you were singing that. I think at one point you even tapped your shoes together like Dorthy."
"We're not in Kansas anymore," I said, my head pounding.

We went to see the Crown Jewels, but I felt nauseous on the moving walkway staring at them, the gem's colors swirling together behind the bullet proof glass.
"That diamond is 105 carats," my husband informed me, pointing to the Crown of Queen Elizabeth.
"Imagine how many pints that could buy," I mused.

A few hours later, I was vomiting into the Thames River and my husband mentioned that he was concerned with the amount of time we were spending in pubs.
"But I don't wanna stop drinking in pubs," I whined, coughing up the last bit of bile. "I love the pubs here. Every time I walk into one...." I searched for the words. "It feels like Britain is giving me a hug. The pubs are warm, welcoming, sparkly and happy. And we're only here for like a week," I finished.
"I know," he agreed, and handed me one of our travel wet wipes to clean myself off. "We'll just have to keep going, I guess." He opened the guidebook. "Want to figure out what to see next- in a pub?" He looked a little sheepish.
"Hell yes, I do," I replied.


Monday, October 11, 2010

The Oldest Resident

When I was in my mid-twenties, I moved to my younger sister's college town. I had recently graduated from another school myself, and had talked her into letting me stay at her place while I looked for a job.

My sister lived in the dorms.

She was a RA- a Resident Assistant. You know, the slightly older college student who decides to babysit 28 freshmen girls in exchange for free room, board, and sanity? Well, as part of the contract she also got her own room- and I got a free bed. For the students, it was a campus, for me, it was a homeless shelter. Pass the soup and head full of lice.

Some might think that a 24-year-old living in a college dorm with her younger sister and a herd of freshman girls is pathetic. But those are people who have things like dignity, self-respect, and class. Luckily for me, I posses none of those qualities and was quite comfortable with the arrangement.

I admit it was odd in the beginning. I would wrap myself in my terrycloth robe, gather my toiletries up in my plastic hot pink shower caddy, and shuffle to the bathroom.
"So, your sister is the RA?" One girl asked me, as we were simultaneously brushing our teeth in front of the bathroom mirrors.
"Yeah, my apartment is getting painted," I lied, spitting into the sink. "So I'm crashing at her place for a while."
"You DO realize her 'place' is a dorm room," the 17-year-old questioned me, wise beyond her years.
"I know, right?" I mock rolled my eyes, like I was annoyed, and then changed the subject. "Ugh, did you eat the fried chicken last night in the cafeteria? SOOOO gross."
"Oh my god, SO gross," she agreed, flossing her teeth. "You going to Matt's kegger tonight? 3rd floor."
"I will SO be there," I said, excited to be included.

"I can't believe I slept with him," Madison moaned, sitting on the floor of her dorm room. I was behind her, on the bunk bed, braiding her hair and chewing gum.
"Well, we were totally wasted," I giggled, enjoying her company and the feel of her soft hair between my fingers. "I cannot believe Dakota made us do those shots," I continued, glancing at Madison's roommate, who was on her computer writing a paper.
"Oh my god, YOU are the one that started prank calling Madison's ex-boyfriend," Dakota protested from her desk, still hungover. "And now I can't even think straight, and I have to finish this assignment."
"TELL me about it," I said, twisting a hair tie around Madison's braid. "My boss wants, like, two or three deliverable, integrated solutions for this major account to leverage our overhead so we can avoid outsourcing," I moaned, referring to my corporate job.
"Oh my god, SO annoying," Dakota said, as Madison nodded in agreement.
"Oh my god, I KNOW," I complained, and cracked my gum. "Hey, wanna watch 40 Days and 40 Nights?" I asked. "Josh Hartnett is SUCH a hottie- and I've got some leftover pizza in the fridge."
"Totally in," Dakota said, as Madison nodded once more in agreement.

"You are getting out of control," my sister complained, as we were settling into our twin beds in her dorm room, the mattresses on the beds about as thick as a Kotex Maxipad.
"It's not my fault Taylor got us all drunk and made us streak through the front lobby," I protested. "Plus, I have a HUGE crush on Josh- you know, from room 406? He was there and is SO hot- I wanted to hang out with him."
"I'm going to have to write you up again if you're not careful," my sister warned, referring to the previous weekend, when she caught Brianna and I taking bong hits in the shower stalls. "I mean, what, you're a college kid now? What's next, you're going to get a butterfly tattooed on your lower back?"
"," I said quickly, silently reminding myself to cancel my Saturday appointment with Devil's Ink.

My sister kept trying to bait me into tattling on my new friends.

"Does Rachel have a bunch of candles in her room?" My sister asked suspiciously, eyeing me. "You know that's a fire hazard." We were in the university library- she was researching something for a paper she had to write and I was sniffing her highlighters, trying to get high.
"What? No...." I fibbed. Rachel and I had lit enough candles in her room that night to send Smoky the Bear himself over to our room for a well-deserved beating. But Rachel and I were trying to create a sexy atmosphere so we could make out- because word on the street is that you're supposed to 'experiment' in college. And really, when you're that drunk, does it matter what gender is groping you?
"You already went to college," my sister hissed. "Like, two years ago."
"You don't need to be rude," I complained.
"You have fine lines, for fuck sakes," she answered.
"Now I'm hurt," I pouted.

The semester ended, and eventually I had to say goodbye to all my dorm friends and the college lifestyle I had (once again) enjoyed so immensely.
"Now you're going to have to be an adult, find your own place, and pay rent," my sister said, as we packed and loaded up my posters, lava lamp, and twin sheet set into my car.
"I'm actually spending the summer at Dakota's beach house," I replied, slamming trunk of my car shut. "Her parents are letting us crash there- we're going to get lifeguard jobs and work on our tans for the next three months."
"There's no hope for you, is there," my sister said. It wasn't a question, it was a statement.

I almost said something snarky back, but you know what? I didn't want to get written up again.