Tuesday, June 07, 2005
bbq, I guess
I did something different this weekend. I made a complete fucking pig of myself. Shocking, I know.
On Saturday, my buddies Greg and Amit had a barbeque at their place in Brooklyn. Normally I don’t go to Brooklyn, as I am a Manhattan Snob. You see, “New Yorkers” are divided into four categories:
- Manhattan Snob: Pays $1300 a month for a 10x8 bedroom on the fifth floor of a walk-up building. Believes $9 for a turkey sandwich is reasonable and any martini under $12 is a "steal". Thinks Manhattan is the be all and end all of New York City life. Feels disdain and/or pity for people who disagree.
- Brooklyn Asshole: Constantly brags about the size of his/her place, its backyard, its cheap rent, and how “real” the neighborhood is. Always neglects to mention the fact that they have to walk twenty minutes to the subway, must ride the subway for thirty minutes to get into the city, and can’t get a cab home. Will send emails every two months inviting you out for a party and engage you in the “Manhattan vs. Brooklyn” debate when you don’t show up because it’s so fucking far.
- Hoboken Douchebag: Misses college more than he/she lets on and so pays Manhattan prices to live in Happy Valley II. Of all the types of “New Yorker”, the Hoboken Douchebag is the most defensive about where they live. Says taking the PATH train to get home after a night out in the city at 4am (when it runs every thirty minutes) isn’t a big deal. If you’re in your mid- to late-twenties, like beer, work in finance, grew up in Jersey, and more than half your friends would describe you as a "tool", you are required to live there.
- Other: I don’t even like to have conversations with people who don’t fit into those first three categories. When someone says, “I live in Staten Island” or “My apartment is in Jersey City”, I stop listening almost immediately. Odds are good that I wasn’t listening in the first place anyway, so not much is lost.
And so I wasn’t planning on going to this barbeque, because, well, it’s just too fucking far. However, since I’m excellent at burning bridges and holding grudges, I only have about six friends left in the New York City area and thus can’t afford to lose any more. So off to Brooklyn.
Of course, the L train that services Brooklyn wasn’t running (why should the main train connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn operate on the first beautiful weekend of summer?) so I had to cab it over there. I was not averse to this; I prefer cabs to the subway any day of the week. The problem is that cabbies hate driving to Brooklyn. They are required by law to take a passenger there, but ask a cabbie “Can you take me to Brooklyn?” and you’ll get a reaction as if you’d asked “Can I punch you in the face?” or “Would you like to see my scrotum?”
Adding to this was the fact that I had no idea where I was going. I called Greg and asked for directions, but when he was speaking my pen ran out of ink and I was reading an email so just sort of said “Uh huh” and “Right” and pretended I was writing them down. I did manage to get his address, so after we hung up I went to mapquest and found directions, but there was a problem: I don’t have a printer. I could have written the directions out, but they were pretty long. So I wrote some quick directions based on the mapquest ones and the ones Greg gave me. I was ready to go.
Fifteen minutes later, I was lost in Brooklyn under the Williamsburg Bridge, talking to Greg on my cell phone, trying to figure out where the fuck to go while an overweight and very angry Haitian cabbie yelled at me in some mix of English, French, and gibberish. I had to restrain myself from saying, “Dude – you’re from Haiti! Do you know how messed up Haiti is right now? This should not be that big of a deal to you!” God I love going to Brooklyn.
Eventually, I got to Greg’s place. After exchanging “fuck you’s” with the cabbie, I walked around back to see everyone. And I have to admit, Greg and Amit have a nice place. Large. Cheap. Big backyard. But really fucking far.
The BBQ was soon in full swing: beers, lawn chairs, grilling, Beirut, etc. As a fat guy, I love barbeques like some people love Christ or their spouses. But they can be distressing because, as was the case with Greg and Amit’s BBQ, there are women around.
Before you accuse me of being a misogynist, hear me out. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I am a little fat. The good news is that I’ve been fat since about age six, so I have a lot of experience with it. The main goal of a fat person, aside from eating everything he can touch that doesn’t fight back, is trying to minimize the appearance of the fatness; that is, making himself look less fat than he really is. I know I’m pretty fat, but the drunk girl at the BBQ who’s just played five games of Beirut may not know exactly how fat I am. Thus, there are several activities that I refrain from in the presence of women to appear less chubby. These activities include but are not limited to:
- swimming or any other activity that requires shirtlessness
- any sort of bending or unnatural body contortion
- talking about food
- watching tv shows about food
- masturbating with food stuffs
- saying things like "God those burgers look so good I just wanna fuck 'em!"
Eating is the key one. The last thing I want is:
Hot Girl at BBQ #1: “Hey, do you see that fat guy over there eating three cheeseburgers piled on top of each other?”
Hot Girl at BBQ #2: “Yeah. Earlier I went to pee and caught him in the bathroom drinking maple syrup.”
HG #1: “Ewww. I bet his balls smell like lunchmeat.”
HG #2: “They do. Just walk by him and take a whiff.”
HG #1: “I thought I smelled deli meats!”
Of course, one has to eat at a barbeque. That's sort of what they're all about. But whereas I'd normally eat something like two burgers, two hot dogs, a half a bag of Tostitos and anything that was in my line of vision while I ate these things, at this particular barbeque I had only one measly burger (which was delicious). And I did so in a very slow and tasteful manner, resisting the urge to shove the whole thing in my mouth, then running over to the grill to pull half-cooked burgers right off the hot grill, stopping only when being tackled by my friends, and then scanning the area around the grill for any dropped meat or cheese, all the while screaming, “Why do you fear what you don’t understand? WHY DO YOU FEAR WHAT YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND?” at the top of my lungs with tears streaming down my face. I thought about taking additional food inside the house and eating it away from the crowds, but I decided against that. If I were caught sitting in Greg's bedroom, chowing down on hot dogs, I would probably have to leave the party. There's really nothing else to do after that.
Why am I making a point to talk about how little I ate? Because I got drunk. Very drunk. And I blame this on my lack of eating. That and the fact that I had about 760 beers.
The specifics of this are not exciting or memorable. I got Greg and Amit's at 5 in the evening and got home to my place after the bars closed. I checked my call log and I called my voicemail at 4:37 in the morning. Nice.
I think the wheels started coming off when we began playing Beirut. For those of you unfamiliar with it, Beirut, alternatively called Beer Pong, is played by lining cups of beer on opposite ends of a long, thin table (many people put a closet door on top of an existing table). The cups, usually the red solo kind, are halfway filled with beer and are arranged in a triangular pattern on the edge of the table - three cups on the edge, then two, then one. The game is usually played with two people per team and the goal is to throw a ping pong ball into the other team's cups (each teammate getting one throw, then giving the balls to the other team for their throws, etc). If your ball lands in one of the other team's cups, they have to drink that beer. First team to eliminate all the other team’s cups is the winner.
[As you might expect with any drinking game, there are tons of variations on Beirut. At the end of our senior year, my roommates and I invented a derivation of Beirut called "Lanner". The game had most of the rules of Beirut, but instead of throwing the ping pong balls into the cup, you had to bounce the ball in the middle of the table into the cup. Also, if the ball hit the ground at any point, you had to drink. The result was that you had guys diving all over the place, skinning their knees and crashing into walls, trying to keep the balls from hitting the ground. The upshot of this was the extreme surge of testosterone that came with playing this game. The upshot of this was that about ten days after we invented the game, my roommates, friends and I got drunk and a little crazy and destroyed our apartment, throwing furniture and kitchen appliances through the walls, pulling out the wiring, bending the aluminum studs, etc. The next day we were thrown out of housing (one week before graduation), fined $4000, and weren't allowed to go to any special Senior Week events. Probably the greatest week of my life.]
I don't usually play Beirut. I had my time in college and was a pretty good player. But I don't know...though I enjoy myself when I play it, I feel like I'm too old to do so. I've now been out of college longer than I was in it, so I don't feel like I should be playing a game in which I throw a ping pong ball into a cup of beer.
Of course, none of this matter to me at the time. Not at all. If cajoled enough, I probably would have gone to the nearest sporting goods store to have a "BEIRUT 4 LIFE" or "EAT. SLEEP. BEIRUT." t-shirt made. Already many beers deep, my friend Tommy and I joined forces and dominated all comers (mostly girls and two guys who I'm pretty sure were autistic). We were so obnoxious that people stopped playing against us, and gravitated toward other parts of the party. At the time I regarded them as sore losers, but they most likely got tired of Tommy and I screaming "How does that taste, bee-atch?" and signing "I'm a hustler baby!" over and over again.
It’s all a blur from that point forward. We eventually left Greg’s, and some friends and I took a cab back to the city. We went to a bar for some more drinks, because apparently that’s what I needed at that point: more booze. I thought we were at the bar for a drink, but the next day I learned we were there for over three hours. Whoops!
I remember coming home though, because I remember being nearly overcome with rage. I have a major problem with my neighborhood. In the irony of all ironies, it’s impossible to get a slice of pizza in Little Italy after 1am. This is not good. My diet after midnight is broken down as follows:
- 85% pizza or pizza place foods (i.e. beef patties, chicken rolls, etc)
- 14% leftovers (stale or not)
- 1% other (broken glass, foot powder, three pillows, electrical tape, a bandana, half a shower curtain, etc)
So in lieu of pizza, I went after the next best thing: leftovers. I had some General Tso’s in the fridge, so I microwaved and ate that. My roommate Brian had some leftover chicken and broccoli from the same Chinese order, so after I was finished having my way with the General, I heated that up and down it went. Apparently, that wasn’t enough and I needed to satisfy my sweet tooth, so I ate half a carrot cake. God I am so ashamed.
When I woke up the next day, I had one of the worst hangovers I’ve ever had. I spent nearly all day in bed, except for on two occasions when I left to get cream puffs and aspirin in the mid-afternoon (because for some unknown reason we didn’t have any aspirin, ruining my “take two to make the hangover go away” routine) and a pastrami sandwich from Katz’s in the evening. And I’ll tell you something; had I not been so concerned by how my face was caving in and my brain was on fire, I certainly would have gone on an incredible sex crime spree. Good LORD. It was hot as a mother fucker on Sunday and women everywhere responded by covering their boobies with as little clothing as legally possible. I even saw a nipple peaking out of one girl’s shirt! And I didn’t have to pay anything or stand for hours outside a bedroom window in the rain or spend the night in jail! Sweet Jesus!
After I wrapped up the pastrami late Sunday evening, I got high on the couch and did some serious thinking. Here I am, 25 years old, soon to be 26, and all I do is drink, eat, and lust. Those three activities take up at least 90% of my day. It made me sad, so I smoked some more and I thought about what I could do to make myself a better man. Maybe I should volunteer or something? Maybe I could help inmates or poor people or invalids or some shit? Thinking about those less fortunate than me made me even more depressed, so I just kept on smoking, trying to find an answer. Sadly my quest ended abruptly when I got caught up on the name “Paul”. It’s a weird name, isn’t it? Say it to yourself a few times – Paul. Paul. Paul. Then I started saying, “I buried Paul” in the weird voice that comes in at the end of “Strawberry Fields Forever.” Then I started laughing. Then I forgot what I was thinking about in the first place and went to bed.
And so today, Tuesday, I think I’m finally over the hangover. Sunday was unbearable, Monday was rough, but today is better. I had a good time and drank and ate like a slob and had a terrible hangover, but I didn’t die. And that’s huge – not dying is huge. So I’m grateful. And when I do the same thing next weekend, I’ll make sure to order a pizza before going out and to take aspirin before going to bed. See? I learned something. And I didn’t die. That makes for an awesome weekend if you ask me.