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Friday, August 15, 2003

blowtorches and broken nails

Today my cousin's leg hair was singed by a blowtorch. My grandfather chuckled when he found out that he was the clumsy culprit. I nervously laughed along with him, even though I still wished that the sun was out.

Grey skies and scattered showers seem all the more so from the rooftop of a four-story apartment building on the West Side of Chicago. We're watching Grandpa melting the tar on the underside of the black roofing sheets with his propane-powered firegun. When he's done, we provide adhesion through a frenzic stamping procedure, not unlike kindergarteners who just discovered the wonders of Elmer's Glue.

It was really hot mud underneath the roofing sheets, oozy sticky dark chocolate pudding, and i'm pounding down with my gloved fists, the tip of my tongue sticking out of the left corner of my lips.

Today I broke a nail.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

true to form

Sober month lasted a week.

You see, something weird happens when dealing with emotions; either you mask them or express them. Of course, being the macho, manly man that I am, I have no choice but to choose the former.

So, Texas Jerry and Dave, two people that I had the undeserving fortune to meet and befriend this summer also left me with the bitter sensation of knowing that within a few weeks they would be gone, back to Texas, true to form. So what do most guys do when they don't know how to manage their internal lamentations?

They get fucked up, and, true to form, I followed suit. I can't remember if I felt ashamed or proud or relieved when I gave Jerry two dollars to buy me a beer. Maybe I did it to commemorate their departure, or maybe I used their departure as an excuse to get fucked up. Regardless, I drank, and smoked. (the green)

I looked at Jessie with drunken eyeballs later on that night at Margo's afterhours party, "What ever happened to Sober Month?" she asked, and uselessy, just like i'm doing now, I tried to explain myself.

Maybe she understood.

Wednesday, August 6, 2003

saturday night dead

Saturday night was Ricky's 21st birthday. Accordingly, he had a few of his friends over to celebrate his birthday (consume lots of alcohol) at his apartment.

He passed around the first martini (the first one he ever made, I think) to Angelica, who said, after a quick sip, "It tastes like cough medicine," but then later, after a few more said, "But it grows on you..."

"So does fungus," said Aaron, a childhood friend of mine who is also friends with Ricky. After the fourth or fifth try, it seemed that Ricky started to get the hang of martini manufacturing and freely did the alcohol begin to flow, including many followups of bacardi shots, half of which, later on that night, wound up spilt on the floor.

I tried to gracefully decline all drink offers and casually fit in by drinking a non-alcoholic beer, but had to eventually explain, as succintly as possible, why I wasn't going to participate in the drinking. Being as it was that I hardly knew 4-5 of the 10 already inebriated people there, I think this only served to ostracize myself even more.

But that's ok, this is Sober Month, I told myself while splitting up with them during their march to Brother's. Najah and all Them were at Clybourne's so I went to pick up Texas Jerry before meeting them there. I figured I would be a bit more comfortable around these girls, seeing as none of them are half as big of a drinker as I am. Upon arrival at their table, I self-consciously wondered if my lame attempts at conversation starters were a result of my sobriety, and while Jerry kept on making his trips to the bar for more and more beer I began to wonder if maybe I should start drinking too. You know, in order to become more interesting.

Afterhours and i'm dancing with Najah only because she's kind enough to let me. No beer goggles, no drunken attempts to socialize, i'm just standing against the wall looking cool, every now and then I dance with Najah. Xochitl asks for a lap dance and I tell her i've never seen one much less know how to give one. I turn around and in awe I watch Puertan Rican Liza swivel on the dance floor, "I learned how to step today!"

"I crave my own world," she says while we're walking to the Pimpmobile to go eat late night food. "I don't care if anyone's watching when I dance" she says and I want to open up and get all sentimental with her, but no.

I haven't had enough to drink.

Saturday, August 2, 2003

Alcohol Abuse

An avalanche cascades down my throat, splashing into my belly ambushing a plethora of soft fleshy vital organs. They squeak awake like a seven year old from his death-ninja nightmare and scurry along about their biological maintenance. Chug, chug, chug a lug.

The inevitable by-products, the toxic nuclear waste of my guts amalgamates, invading the remainders of my insides. By the time I wake up next morning, with a skunky funk gently oozing viscosity, the leftover lager, ironically, swallows my own sense of well-being. (or chi, or aura, or spirit, or soul, or essence) Whatever,

"Call it what you wanna call it,
I'm a fuckin' alcoholic."

This is an experiment. (A test, this is only a test)

I wonder what happens when a binge drinking college student suddenly decides to stop drinking. I'm too lazy to try to convince anyone else to do it, so i'm doing it myself. I'm also too afraid of the idea of never drinking ever again, so i'm only doing it for one month.

I like to go out, I like to party, and for me going out and partying almost always includes getting wasted (Shit-faced, tipsy, visibly drunk, above the legal limit, whatever) So, beginning yesterday, August 1st, the challenge begins. Is it possible to go out and have a good time in a midwestern University surrounded by corn fields and other, drunken, hormone-raging boys and girls without consuming lots of alcohol?

The hairlines recede farther back on the guys that hang out at Cowboy Monkey compared to the hairlines on the other guys that hang out at most other bars closer to campus. Maybe that's why I felt more comfortable there. With the bit more chill atmosphere of this downtown Champaign bar, I didn't really feel pressured to drink as much as I would have at, say, another bar packed with sweaty underclassmen rushing back and forth to refill their five dollar pitchers of watered-down, lite beer. I know them, I used to be one.

So I casually ordered Paulaner, a non-alcoholic brew with a nice taste. Despire the $3 charge, I pretty much enjoyed all four bottles. We sat outside in the beer garden, roommate Jeff, Puerto Rican Jessica, Red Haired Theresa, Swiss Stephan, Sung the Korean, and Sam the Girl. Of course, who could forget Cowboy Molly, our beer wench who periodically popped in to take our orders.

I think she (Cowboy Molly) might've saluted us (Jeff, Jessica, and I) on our way out, fingertips to eyebrow, but if she did I pretended to ignore her because I'm trying to pretend I don't have a crush on her.

Later on after the bar, Texas Jerry (guess where he's from) tried to jump inside Jeff's Pimpmobile through the passenger seat window, while it was still moving, onto my lap. By the time he was half-way in, I squealed like a ten year old girl and locked the door. He eventually wound up in the back of the SUV with Texas Dave, Xochitl (good luck pronouncing her name), and this girl Nicole who kept asking, "Where's da weed at?" I held my fingers on the outside of the door of the car, for leverage so I could let Margo slide underneath me in the front passenger seat. Before I had a chance to sit down on her lap, but more importantly, remove my fingers, she slammed the door on them.

No one had any weed that they wanted to share and after making an appearance at an after party but refusing to pay $4 dollars to get inside, the night seemed to be coming to an end.

Ten minutes later it did, and as we drove back home, (Jeff and I), after dropping everyone off, I began to wonder if I could keep up this sober state of being for four more weekends.