There's nothing like a Saturday morning hangover, especially when you have no clue how you got home the night before.
The last thing I remember, a colleague and I were in a Starbucks, trying to sober up after a bit of workweek-inspired bar hopping. I had put down three liters of that lovely ambrosia that is Pabst Blue Ribbon, a Red Needle, and a Captain Morgan's and Sprite. I walked with him back to his car, completely intent on going home and sleeping it off.
My cellphone started bouncing around in my jeans pocket. I tried ignoring it but it just kept vibrating. So I walked back to the coffee shop to sit down, further sober up, and to find out what was so damned important as to call at midnight.
After that, I know I hooked up with a party of girls on a pub crawl. And I know this one woman - an emergency responder from a nearby large metropolitan are - thought I was lying about being a librarian, because she'd never met a straight male librarian before, especially one who wore workboots and tee shirts to the office.
The rest, a day later, is still a bit of a gummy haze.
Waking up after a night of drinking is an artform. Having done this quite a bit when I was an undergrad, I approach the piecing together of a night's events like a surgeon removing an appendix. First, I examine the body for strange markings. I had blue Sharpie "tattoos" all over my arms. Let's see...there's the "I'm a man eater" tag that somebody put on my arm. There's the anchor tat, which looks like my own handiwork. Then there's the name Brandy written in the middle of a heart and the number 16 underneath.
Okay. Not bad. Could be worse.
Then I notice the clothes on the floor. I don't wear women's low-rise jeans. I have don't own anything with an Aeropostale label on it. And I'm certain I don't own a pair of high-heeled leather boots.
Shit. Fuck. Shit fuck goddamn it to hell.
I got this pain in my gut. I looked at the clothes, then back at the Sharpie heart tag. The number 16, for some reason, left me feeling a bit sick to my stomach. I couldn't, wouldn't...no, there's no way...
Continuing my hangover forensics, I located a purse on the floor. I hate the idea of even sticking my hand into a woman's purse, but, dammit, I'm not going to sit in my own house terrified I may have something in common with R. Kelly. Unless I was slipped a micky, there's no way in hell my moral compass could've gotten that far off balance.
I notice the stereo playing in my living room and somebody singing along to Johnny Horton's Honky Tonk Man. There is also the smell of waffles in the air and frying veggie breakfast sausage.
I found an ID. Nope, not a Brandy and not 16. A emergency response personnel ID and a driver's lisense that reveals that whoever's singing downstairs is 33 years old, 5'7, and an organ donor. How the hell did I end up with a female firefighter in my house and what the flying fuck did I just do? At least I woke up in my own house and the bills in her purse weren't addressed to Mr. and Mrs.
Damn. This is going to be awkward. Its been years since I had to do this - the long march towards a post-stupor introduction.
Getting out of bed seems to be a problem. My ribs hurt; upon inspection, I seem to have a rather large bruise across my chest. I also notice that two of my knuckles seem to have been split open and are sore.
Dammit. What the hell did I drink? Only Jack Daniels puts me in the mood to get into a barfight - another one of those old bad habits I thought I'd outgrown long ago. Given the relatively mild look and feel of my hands, he obviously had a glass jaw. I just hope it wasn't somebody I know.
Charles Bukowski, wherever you are in the afterlife, you can kiss my ass. At least there's no classical music playing and I'm not in a flophouse with a hooker.
At least I was pleasantly surprised when I went downstairs. Apparently, this woman had driven me home in her pick-up ( a monster F-350 sitting in my driveway) and had the designated driver from the pub crawl drive my truck home. And, well, she was pretty darned cute. Reminded me of this actress, Karen Allen, circa Animal House. Dead ringer.
Damn brunettes with slate-blue eyes. Damn them all. But it could've been a lot worse. The last time this happened, I was a grad student in Baton Rouge and the person rooting around in my kitchen made Forest Gump look and sound like a Nobel laureate. I spent the morning of my 25th birthday playing along with an LSU junior who thought I believed her whole I'm a law school student story.
No, she was one smart cookie - we had a rather normal, uniteresting conversation about shopping for miter saws at Home Depot (I'm a DeWalt guy, she's a Makita gal) and the finer points of the recent change in Reds ownership and baseball's steroid problem.
She indicated that she thought I looked less like a Jason and more like someone who should go by his middle name. I noticed my LIS degree was sitting on the kitchen table, as opposed to the shelf in the living room where it normally rests.
Guys aren't the only ones who use CSI-style skills in the aftermath of a one night stand. Any guy who thinks otherwise obviously knows less about women than I do.
That's just what it was. It's usually easy to figure that kind of stuff out within the first ten minutes of post-stupor conversation. Nothing good ever comes out of a drunken fling - not the basis for a healthy relationship, which is what I'm really after, in the long run.
Honestly, I've been around the block enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon of meaningless flings. I'm dissappointed in myself, but I've been in worse situations. At least this fling made a point of making sure I made it home okay and stuck around long enough to help fill in the blanks.
For some reason, I don't feel like beating myself up over it, because, well, she was cute and seemed like a nice person. And she made waffles.
Bruises and busted knuckles? Some asshole made a comment about some girl asking to be raped because of how she was dressed. Apparently, there are guys who think any group of women walking through a dark alley are fair game for groping and unwanted cat calls. I can barely tolerate that kind of behavior sober, much less intoxicated. Apparently, even drunk, I tried walking away, but he punched me in the ribs.
The guy did have a glass jaw. Two punches and out like a codeine addict. No drunken brawl. Probably split my knuckles on the silver spoon sticking out of his mouth.
Normally, I'd be beating myself up over the whole thing. Why I didn't just go home after a six-hour drinkfest with coworkers is beyond me. Some regrets, but no need for unnecessary punishment. I regret the fighting part, but not the motivation behind it. I really regret not making better decisions, but, like I said, it could've turned out much worse. I realize I was very lucky this time.
C'est la vie.