OK, So I Have a Drinking Problem
I drink too much. How do I know I drink too much, you ask? Because I’m drinking as I type this. One hand on the keyboard, the other on a glass.
My drinking has never caused me to lose my home, my family, or my career, but I don’t have those things to lose in the first place. The argument could be made that I don’t have them because, instead, I have a drinking problem. A problem that, previous to (again, one-handedly) typing these words, I have chosen to ignore, and to make excuses for, for far too long.
I have one rule—I don’t start drinking until the sun goes down—which, for years, I’ve used as proof of my lack of a problem. (Note: Said rule is null and void whenever I am on anything remotely resembling a vacation.) Day in, day out, I pat myself on the back and admire my restraint while eagerly watching the sun wane in the distance. Assuming, of course, I’ve opened the curtains in my apartment enough to watch it.
Waiting until nightfall to make myself a cocktail, however, is an easily achievable goal when it takes all day to recover from the hell I put my body through the previous night.
It turns out having a bottle in front of me and a frontal lobotomy are essentially the same thing. Days bleed into each other, interchangeable in their banality. I wake up at noon, stumble around in a haze, stare at the comparatively happy lives of my more productive, well-adjusted friends as they play out on myriad social media sites and slowly, methodically, drink coffee. So much coffee. The coffee is a necessity, its brown pallor echoing the bags I constantly have under my tired eyes. I live on borrowed time, operating under a foggy veil when the sun is at its peak and frantically rushing whenever I have to leave the confines of the glorified room I call an apartment. The ceaseless rush renders every situation, important or not, dire. I find myself, more and more, apologizing for my lateness, sending desperate texts at stoplights in between punching the dashboard in frustration. The traffic upsets me, sure, but I’m more upset with myself.
I’m upset that I’ve yet again stayed up, alone in my apartment, until the wee hours of the morning, watching music videos on YouTube I’ve seen a million times and sending embarrassing emails, which I type with one eye closed, the other bloodshot and squinting, because I can’t see straight. I rarely, if ever, reread these emails after I send them. I don’t want to know what’s in them.
My productivity suffers. I tell myself and everyone else within earshot that I have writer’s block, but the reality of the matter is that I have reality block. The idea of operating in an unaltered state terrifies me. I am afraid of the stark truths that come with complete and utter clarity. So I drink.
Sometimes a friend will tell me, wide-eyed and in a concerned tone, that they’ve been drinking too much—three, sometimes four, nights in a row. Depending on my level of intoxication, I’ll either feign concern or inform them I’ve drank every night for nigh on a decade. Depending on their level of intoxication, they’ll either find this information amusing or depressing. Either way, I feel nothing. So I drink.
Behind the Scenes at the Drunken Club Wonderland of Ibiza
Ibiza is a place that looms large in our collective imagination. It’s the island that is smaller than even Majorca but has become not just a holiday destination for Brits in search of the usual sun, sea and STDs, but a sort of tech-house Shangri-La. A place whose no-holds-barred, no-fucks-given majesty makes it worth toiling through 50 or so weeks of spreadsheets and supermarket pizza. It’s a place that people don’t just work to visit, but that people will work in while they visit, purely to keep the party going.
The stereotype goes that it’s a paradise of pillheads and Portobello hippies, the gurning masses huddling together in the death throes of a 15-hour Roger Sanchez set on one side of the island, while personal friends of Jade Jagger and James Blunt sit on the other side smoking expensive hash in their turquoise cowboy boots and Stevie Nicks buckle hats.
Getting Drunk at America’s Finest Chain Restaurants
Perhaps it’s my advancing age, my predilection for playing the sourpuss, or merely my growing disinterest in ceremony of any sort, but I’d rather eat in the shit end of a strip mall than get gussied up for a night on the town in the kind of genericly chic hotspots that now litter America’s cities. The lamentations of my colleagues as far afield as London over the insidious creeping dread of gentrification are now as familiar to journalism as Beyonce think-pieces, pointless aggregation of Daily Show clips, and Oxford commas.
We’ve bitched about gentrification’s florid fare and prentitious air of exclusion, but what’s the alternative? The aggressive gourmet flatulence of trendy urban neighborhoods makes me long for the affordable, bland, but comforting chain restaurants of my youth. I’m talking about the kind of place where the ads implore you to “let your hair down,” “unwind,” and “be family.”
Those sentiments seem trite, but are actually what we crave the most, especially here in America. We want to belong, we want to be accepted, and we want to get drunk on cheap liquor. Those aren’t virtues anymore when fancy gastropubs charge $17 for a burger and $8 for a pint of beer. We are being robbed of the one thing that makes us American: our love of inexpensive, generic bullshit.
The first Denny’s in Manhattan opened last week, and features a $300 version of their popular Grand Slam meal that comes with a bottle of Dom Perignon. We can’t even pray at the altar of the classic American diner without being reminded of what we don’t have. Are well-heeled day traders in Manhattan going to pop in for bacon and eggs, with a side of champagne? What’s next, a Happy Meal that comes with an XBox?
Reveling in popular culture, while also suckling at the sweet, sparkling teat of opulance is de rigueur these days. Restaurants sell gussied up versions of comfort food and charge through the nose for it. But what about just having normal comfort food? Can’t I just pleasure myself on top of a greasy plate of “grub” while knocking back a few discounted Happy Hour beverages? Thatbeautiful disaster exists solely in the safe, sanitized vortex of the suburban chain restaurant.
My Parents Had a Party
My Parents Had a Party, Long Island, NY
Last summer, my parents decided to throw a party to celebrate life. I wasn’t quite sure what my mom had planned other than an entertaining night with good food and company. As I entered my parents’ house that evening, I was greeted by a little person my mom had hired from an adult entertainment agency. He was dressed as a cop and demanded that each arriving and unsuspecting guest show his or her ID… or else.
OK, a little weird, but nothing too extreme. As the party continued, two of the cocktail waitresses and one of the male servers started taking off their clothing, and suddenly they were naked and the lap dances and the tequila ice-luge/body-shot demonstrations began. At first, many of their guests were unsure of how to react to the nakedness around them. I, for one, was amused and a bit surprised to see adults whom I have known my entire life getting smothered in breasts and bathed in booze at my parents’ house.
As the night progressed, two additional strippers arrived to perform for the guests, and the little person quickly stripped down to join in the show. Slowly and surely, more and more guests began to loosen up and really experience the celebration of zany fun that my mom had planned from the start. The hours went by fast; everyone was merrily drunk, including the dog sitter. After a long night of hard partying, the talent was paid, the guests sent off with coffee, and we all went to bed. The next morning may have been even more fun as we conducted the post-party critique, with mom wearing the little person’s uniform, which he had somehow forgoten to take home that night.