As I mentioned in Part 1, this story is a bit lengthy, but worth following to the end. So I’m just going to pick up right where I left off, and try to keep the breaks in the story at appropriate points. I hope you enjoy another one, completely at my own expense.
As the night progressed and slowly morphed into morning, I witnessed the age old practice of a series of things being lost by various attendees. The list of the things being lost were as follows: motor skills, capacity for speech, dignity, inhibitions, shoes, stomach contents, a garment or two, the ability to keep secrets, etc. Even I, the seasoned veteran of the crew had reached the point that my vehicle was not relocating tonight, and more than likely, neither was my body. I had done exactly what they had hoped; I let my hair down and cut loose. I just made sure that they were each a couple of steps ahead of me. If anyone were to black out, it wasn’t going to be me.
I found myself sitting in a corner, taking in all the sights and sounds and being completely entertained. To say it had gotten “sloppy” would be a pretty gross understatement. This is about the time I realized that I too, had overindulged a bit. As I sat there, it occurred to me that I was about three shots shy of a stomach pumping, two cigarettes shy of an empty pack, and one deep, booze induced temporary coma away from peeing on this girl’s couch. (A bit exaggerated I admit, but I really like that last line). So it was now time for me to take a walk and get some fresh air.
I recalled from my arrival into this not-so-gated community, that there was a 24-hour convenience store within three blocks. This was now my destination. Fortunately, I was at sea level and only about half a mile away from the second biggest pond in the world. So hearing the waves crashing helped me with my sense of direction. This time of night, and in my present condition, I could easily have gone the wrong way and traveled deep into the Labyrinth of non-stationary homes never to be seen or heard from again.
Even in my current condition, and in the final hours before the rise of a new sun, I had the presence of mind, and enough sense to walk the two blocks to use a crosswalk at the light and wait my turn. (How is it that a drunken buffoon at 5:00 am can figure out that concept, but a family of six at noon on a Saturday in July would prefer to just jet right into traffic?) Sorry, that’s a soapbox for another day.
I found my way into the all night purveyor of useless items, and suddenly I was like a puppy at a squirrel farm. I didn’t know where to look next. There were so many colors, and things, and stuff to see. I wanted it all! From the corner of my eye, I saw a glimmer of light reflect off the shiny metal rollers upon which various forms of hot dogs and sausages travel and it was like the glow emanating from the gates of Heaven. I cared not in the slightest what the contents of those sausage casings were. I just knew that they were gorgeous, and I had to have them covered in some lava like form of a cheese derivative and placed inside of my face immediately. After first obtaining my feast from the conveyor belts of death, I now had a suitable snack to enjoy as I browsed through a sea of “made in Taiwan” treasures. As blurry as that night is, for some reason I actually remember all of my purchases from that store and even that the total came to $64.00. I think it was the magical curative powers of the five-hour-old, chili, cheese, jalapeno freezer turd I had just consumed that caused me to think so lucidly.
As I perused the bountiful shelves of this veritable cornucopia of mystical nothingness, I wanted it all. Some things I just had to have. I started to grab things that no rational human should ever want, need, or purchase. And yet I did. Things that would never, ever sell during daylight hours were finding their way into my arms. Fortunately, it was well beyond 2:00 am, so the purchase of more alcohol was no longer a viable option otherwise, I’m sure I would have gotten more.
The following is a list of my purchases as best I recall: a paddle ball game, two packs of Marlboro Red 100s, a pinwheel, one of each color of Gatorade, a pair of over-sized novelty sunglasses, a roll of Tums, a People Magazine, and a can of Cheez Whiz. There are two things that I’m still unsure of to this day. The first is why I so vividly remember these purchases, and the second is that for some reason they all seemed perfectly rational and necessary at the time. I didn’t want to leave a party, and then return to it without bearing gifts. I think there were some other items on the list as well, but those are the ones that stand out. This of course is in addition to the three condiment, smothered links of death on a bun. One of which I had already consumed while I browsed, and two for the long journey back.
I gathered all of my newfound treasures and proudly laid them on the counter for purchase. I couldn’t, at the time understand why the clerk was giggling as she rung me up for I stood there with the serious, stern look of a paw bearer. She loaded all of my new cool stuff into three bags and sent me on my way. I now began to traverse the three long blocks back to the party only this time, with baggage in hand.
As I stood at the corner waiting for the light to change, I remember thinking how oddly proud I was of my recent purchases. I was so excited about the items as if I had just happened upon some great treasure. When in fact I had just dropped over sixty bucks on what probably amounted to about $2.87 worth of crap. If I recall correctly, I’m pretty sure I even tipped the sales clerk. I was so excited about the goodies in my bag that I even stood there with a cocky, sheepish grin as if I had just purchased a mint condition Mickey Mantle rookie card from an unsuspecting old widow for fifty cents at a yard sale. My biggest concern at this point was how I was going to be able to travel fast enough to get the pinwheel spinning while simultaneously eating a chili dog.
I’m going to stop here for this week. I hope you’ve all enjoyed it up to now. Check back next week when I’ll pick up with the long journey back to the party, and the subsequent weirdness that ensues. Thanks for playing along.
Until next week,