Monday, May 10, 2004
losing the Upper Hand (and a diatribe on drinking)
The most important thing in a relationship, and possibly the most important thing in life, is having the Upper Hand.
I mean this particularly in the post-break up sense. There is nothing quite as satisfying as knowing that your ex is doing worse than you are, and not just in the relationship “does he/she still think about me” sense, but in all of life.
When discussing this recently with a female friend, she said, “Oh, real mature Jay.” My question is: why was she surprised by this? Am I not immature? Did I not spend most of the weekend showing parts of my scrotum to my friends, saying, “Does anyone want a piece of Juicy Fruit? I chewed it up a bit, but it’s still good.”
I’ve been pretty lucky with the Upper Hand. Most of my ex-girlfriends are crazy turbo sluts who now are most likely giving beejers for cheeseburgers, while 1) I have a good job; 2) I’m probably getting a dog this Christmas; 3) I have this awesome website; and 4) well, um…I have a pretty good job.
However, I completely lost the Upper Hand with an ex this weekend. Big time.
A little history is needed first, and I’ll try to make it un-boring and quick as possible. A girl I was dating off-and-on for a long time broke up with me about a year and a half ago. I didn’t see her again until months later in the spring at our mutual friend’s birthday party. I showed up with a girl I was kind of seeing at the time, who just happened to be the hottest girl I have ever kissed and will ever kiss (she had VERY low self-esteem and believed in ghosts and spoke at length and often about this belief). Immediately upon seeing us together, she abruptly left the party.
Upper Hand: Jason.
We didn’t speak again until this past fall, when she called me wasted at 4am on her vacation on the “one year anniversary” of the day she broke up with me. This was one of those nights that my roommates, friends and I couldn’t find anything exciting to do, so I did what I normally do on nights like those: drank a liter of vodka while they got drunk and high and cheered me on. Our conversation went something like this:
Her: [really drunk] “Hi Jason.”
Me: [wasted, cross-eyed, probably playing with myself] “What?”
Her: “Are you mad at me?”
Me: [even more drunk and cross-eyed] “Why would I be mad at you?”
Her: [slurring] “Because I broke up with you.”
Me: [blown away] “Um, that was like a year and a half ago.”
Her: [very angry and offended] “Actually, it was a year ago today.”
She then proceeded to ask: 1) about the girl I was seeing, because everything I told our mutual friend went back to her; 2) about my new job, because everything I told our mutual friend went back to her; 3) about my new living situation, because everything I told our mutual friend went back to her.
Upper Hand: Jason. Like, by a lot.
After I hung up with her, my friends and I celebrated (and by “celebrated”, I mean “ordered cheese fries”). Really, there’s no better way to have the Upper Hand than by getting a drunk phone call from your ex, grilling you about your life, and asking if you hate her. It’s even better when that call comes while he/she is on vacation. And it’s even mo’ better when that call comes on the anniversary of when the ex dumped you, because remembering the date of that at the very least unhealthy, and at most really, really crazy.
Now back to this weekend. I had a couple of old college buddies in town, and the drinking was incredible. What a terrific shit show. The vodka was flowing like water on Saturday night, and before we left for the evening, my friends and I stood in my kitchen, passing the bottle back and forth, taking healthy swigs. When this happens, it’s usually a bad sign.
We had two parties to go to: one at my friend Nevin’s place, and one for the aforementioned mutual friend of myself and my ex. This was at a bar in Chelsea.
We’ll get right to the Chelsea party, because most of what I remember about Nevin’s consists of me standing around, drinking Bud bombers (16 oz cans of Bud) very quickly, as if they were putting out a fire in my mouth or as though someone said, “Hey, if you drink these Buds really, really fast and spill most of them down your shirt, I’ll give you a million dollars!”
While on the way to Chelsea, I got a message from my ex, who, keep in mind, I haven’t seen in a year and I haven’t really spoken to either. She’s with the birthday girl and they’re drunk and carrying on on my voicemail, and I’m thinking, “Hmm…this is interesting. Already I have a drunk message from her, and it’s only 1am, and I’m going to see her soon. I should probably start drinking a lot more and faster to make this less awkward.”
Not the brightest idea, but the best I had at the time.
We got to the bar in Chelsea, and right about as we arrived the vodka swilling we were doing in the kitchen hit all of us. Seriously, when we got in the cab, we were all mildly composed, and though drunk, we were pretty together. When we got out of the cab, it was like the kids from the retard camp pouring out of the short bus. We were all stumbling around, clumsily trying to light cigarettes, saying things like, “Holy shit, was that cab driving smoking PCP that we inhaled second-hand?” and “Jesus Christ, my head is spinning.”
And just as we got in the bar, the birthday girl and her boyfriend are leaving, as she was wasted out of her mind (good for her). After exchanging goodbyes, we settled in at the bar, and my ex comes over and says hello. At this point I notice that all of her friends have left the bar, meaning one thing in my drunken fat head: she stayed there by herself to hang out with me.
More drinking, more talking. About what, I really don’t know. I’m assuming normal, inane stuff like, “So how are things with you?” and “How are your parents?” and the like.
The bar was beat, so we all decided to go to another place. As we’re walking out of the bar, my buddy Joe staggers into the street and falls. Hard. Like, really, really hard. I can’t describe how hilarious this was, so I won’t try, but I will say it was probably the best thing that has ever happened to me.
We pick him up and resume the sojourn to the next place, and my ex comes up and starts walking next to me.
And this is where I lose the Upper Hand.
I don’t know how it came up, but I’m guessing I just jumped out and said in mid-conversation, “You know what? We should just probably go home together right now.” Her response: “That’s not a good idea.”
So for the next ten or so minutes, our conversation went like this:
Me: “Why don’t we just go home together?”
Me: “Why not? It’s really not a big deal.”
Me: “What? Don’t you know the rule?”
Her: “What rule?”
Me: “The rule that once you sleep with someone once, it’s not a big deal if you sleep with them again.”
Her: “That’s not the rule.”
Me: “Of course it is. I didn’t make it up. So we should just go home together now.”
Me: “What? Do you want me to call Ben right now? He’ll tell you it’s the rule – I won’t even talk to him first. You can ask him yourself. I swear I will call him right now.”
Her: “No Jason.”
Me: “It’s not a big deal.”
Her: “No, I can’t. I’m dating someone.”
Me: “So what? Me too! [blatant lie] Really, it’s not a problem.”
Her: [shaking her head]
Me: “What? Am I wrong here? Not a big deal, not a problem.”
So yes, I basically begged my ex-girlfriend, the same one that I have enjoyed such a lop-sided Upper Hand on since we broke up, to come home with me. A girl who, sober, I have absolutely no sexual interest in, but under the spell of booze, I felt compelled to seduce.
Upper Hand: her. Like, by a lot.
Surprisingly, she didn’t come to the next bar, and decided instead to head home (I have no idea why). At the next bar, I remember very little besides drinking tonic-based drinks. I was there for an indeterminate amount of time (fifteen minutes? two hours?) before leaving my friends and getting a cab home by myself.
For the first time ever, I passed out in a cab. When I woke up we were at my corner, and the cabbie had gotten out of the driver’s seat, opened my door, and was shaking me awake (I’m sure he only did so after he rubbed his bird all over my face).
I made it up to my apartment and started going through my normal end of the night routine: taking Aleve and drinking water. You’re only supposed to take one Aleve, but I always take two for good measure. The problem is, this time around I was so drunk I didn’t realize that I had already taken the Aleve, so I had at least four of them, and possibly six.
When I realized this, I flipped the fuck out. The back of the Aleve bottle says that you shouldn’t take more than three in a twenty-four hour span, and I had taken possibly six in five minutes. So I did the only thing I could do: make myself throw up, so that I wouldn’t have to be rushed to the hospital and have my stomach pumped.
After that, I passed out in my bed (when my roommate later came home, he said “Invisible” by Clay Aiken was playing on my iPod).
So yes, it wasn’t my finest night. I got way too drunk, lost the Upper Hand, and had to force myself to throw up because I had taken too many aspirin.
But you know what? I fucking loved it. I love getting fucked up. I love waking up in the morning/afternoon, hungover as a mother fucker, with an uncooked, half-eaten hot dog crushed into my bed sheets, my breath stinking like puke, asking questions of my friends like, “Did you make it out last night?” and getting answers like, “Dude, I hung out with you. Remember – you were talking for like an hour about how Stephen Hawking is a sack of shit and overrated and how you normally wouldn’t hit a cripple but you’d definitely 'take him out' if given the chance.”
I love walking into my roommates’ rooms with bloodshot eyes and quivering hands saying, “Dude, I think I made a fool of myself last night” or “Dude, I think I started a fight with a gang of homeless men over a Pepsi.”
I love to drink, because it gives me the courage and license to do and say whatever I want, things that under normal circumstances I would never dream of doing, but because I am boozed-up, I am indestructible, unstoppable, infallible.
Some friends my age are slowing their drinking down and think others should do the same, because “we are getting too old for this.” To them, I say, “shut up, loser, and take off the skirt.” I’m 24 – I only have about five or six good years left before I either dupe someone into marrying me or at least knock a girl up. I have enough money to live well and few responsibilities to worry about. I am surrounded by many friends in the most exciting city in the world. I will have plenty of time to be old and mature when I am old and mature. For now, I will continue to booze, make an ass of myself, and, to paraphrase Frank the Tank, have an awesome time.
Now all I have to do is get through this work week to do it again this weekend. Damn it.