Everything is wrong with me
Thursday, April 29, 2004
goodbye Russian
All I know is that when I woke up this morning for work at 8:30am, just as drunk as I was when I went to bed a few hours before, I hit the snooze button on my alarm clock. When I woke up again, it was 11:24.

Let me back-track here.

Last night was our last Russian class, and, truth be told, I was a little sad. Sure, I still stink at Russian, and sure, if I could do it over, I wouldn't do it again, but still - it gave me something to do, a diversion to pass the time constructively until something good happens to me. Before the class started, the guy I call Ken the Prick (who speaks like eight languages - see 2/19) asked the teacher if we could stop ten minutes early, because he had a [Russian word that I can't remember, but it definitely sounded like a celebratory drink]. I immediately thought to myself, "Please don't let it be vodka please don't let it be vodka please don't let it be vodka."

A word about me and vodka: I love vodka. Those who know me well know I don't love anything, but I love vodka. Spinach is to Popeye what vodka is to me. I can't describe how it makes me feel, because I am not articulate enough. It completely transforms me, and fuels me like no other. If I ever get to be famous, I will have a whole room full of ice cold vodka, and I will die in that room peacefully, drinking that vodka, with my pants off, eating the world's biggest taco, with sour cream and guacamole smeared on my bare chest like it's an artist's palate, and Mazzy Star's "Fade Into You" blasting on repeat in the background.

Anyway, sure enough, class comes to an end. And, sure enough, Ken exclaims, "Well it is Russian class after all" and whips out a bottle of export-strength vodka, which is one-hundred proof, unlike normal vodka, which is eighty. The last time I drank export strength vodka I got shot down by a deaf girl (long, long painful story for another time).

So the paper cups are filled (half-way!) and passed around, and we all do a toast to the teacher and drink the vodka.

As soon as that vodka went down, it was like I was hit with a bolt of testosterone lightening. My pasty Irish complexion betrayed me and I turned beat red and warm and toasty all over. I was suddenly much happier. It was glorious.

No one had taken the whole cup-full with the toast, so we stood around politely sipping and conversing. Of course, I wasn't politely sipping, and neither was Ken. When he noticed I had finished too, he said, "Top you off?"

Welcome to Critical Point in the Night #1. It has always been my contention that each night has at least three critical points that determine whether you will go home with a nice buzz and grab a slice of pizza or go home with some random Pakistani dude and lose your job the next day. If I had said "No", everything would be fine today. But I didn't. More vodka = more redness = more warmness = more happiness = you are going to fucking pay later, asshole.

Down went the second cup as everyone else was finishing up, saying goodbye, and leaving the classroom. After exchanging pleasantries, I walked to my desk and was getting my stuff together when Ken came over and said, "One more shot for the road?"

Thus, Critical Point in the Night #2. I was already buzzing a little bit, and feeling better than I seemingly had in years. I could have walked away at that point, gotten that slice, and had a better-than-normal evening. But I didn't. Although I had a momentary flash of, "Wait a minute, is this guy going to get me drunk and try to put his fingers in my butt?", I could not resist the lure of the vodka, and threw caution to the wind.

I needed an out to wrap this up, and I had a decent one: I wanted to get home to watch the rest of the Flyers-Maples Leafs game. I forgot that Ken is from around Philly, so he got excited and said, "Yeah - why don't we grab a drink around here and catch the last period?"

It can be argued that this is Critical Point #3, but I'm inclined to say it's not. The reasons are: 1) I had already reached that second plateau of drunkenness, into the decent buzz stage, so one or two more beers couldn't hurt; and 2) I really wanted to see the hockey game, and only the third period was left, which would be the perfect way to say goodbye and end the evening. Thus, this could actually work to my advantage by bringing about a quick and painless end to the evening without hurting feelings, maintaining a nice buzz, and watching a sporting event.

So we went to a nearby bar and had two beers and watched the end to what appeared to be a sad Flyers game. During that time, I learned that Ken the Prick was not such a prick after all. He's in his mid-40's, and has two kids and an ex-wife, both in King of Prussia, which is outside of Philly. In a way, he reminds me of what I will probably be like at that age, except his kids are talking to him, whereas mine certainly will not be. Not at all.

At the end of the game, I was buzzing very, very nicely, and didn't quite feel like heading home, as we had reached critic mass: if I have one more drink, it's not going to end well, and no one is going to walk away from this situation a winner. Finally, Critical Point #3: "How about one last one?" says Ken.

At that point, the night turned. After that "last one", the bartender bought us a round on him. Of course, we can't turn that down, so those went down the hatch. And, of course, you can't leave the bar right after the bartender buys you a round, unless you are a total cretin, so we bought another round. After that, the bartender came over and started talking to us, bought us a shot, and well, you get the point. Fast forward about three hours, and the last thing I remember is swilling vodka from the bottle, Ken and I passing back and forth outside a Tasty D-Lite store at god knows what time, talking about music and how Jimi Hendrix changed the guitar for everyone (very original) before I was like, "Man, I really gotta get the fuck outta here" and hailed a cab home.

So this morning. When I saw that "11:24am", even though I was certain that something was bleeding inside me, I was still overcome with, "Holy fucking shit!" insane anxiety. I called into our group's secretary's voicemail so I didn't have to speak directly to him and told him to tell my boss that I would be in, and I would talk to him (the boss) when I got in. In a flash, I showered, dressed, and took a cab to work.

When I got in, I could feel the stares on me, because of my ruddy complexion, disheveled appearance, and my "Guess what? I'm still drunk, losers!" blood-shot eyes. I tried to explain myself to my boss, but it was one of those situations where I'm rambling on, saying, "I'm so sorry about this - I overslept - I never oversleep - I'm really sorry" and the whole time he's not looking at me and saying, "It's fine - no problem - it's fine" over and over again. Not good at all.

Now, sitting at my desk, I am a complete fucking train wreck. I know that something inside of me somewhere is dying. I can feel it. My mood is swinging wildly: I spent the first thirty minutes at work under my desk crying, then I called my sister and left her an angry voicemail because I don't agree with her choice of college, then I wrote an email to an old college friend who I haven't spoken to in about a year, telling/reminding him about all the great times we had in college. After this, I think I'll head to the bathroom, where I'll either cry some more or masturbate.

I'm swearing off alcohol forever - who the fuck do I think I am? Keith fucking Moon? I can't be coming into work late, drunk, and out of commission like this. I say "out of commission" because there's no way I can do any work, or even anything besides write this. Also, my office is hot as hell and it's going to make me die. Seriously, I have to be one or two wrong moves away from full-blown cardiac arrest.

So that's my story. All things considered, fuck it. Even though I'm in an intense and uncomfortable amount of pain, it was worth it.

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