Choose Your Own Adventure–
Me: How was your vacation?
Someone: Great I was in (St. Martin’s/Barbados/Prague).
Me: [Drilling a hole in my head] That must have been dope.
Someone: Yeah! (I wish I wasn’t back/I’m glad to be back.)
Me: [Hanging myself from the ceiling] I know what you mean.
This column could essentially play out this scene again. I was in the Bahamas (oooh!) and the beach was nice and there were a lot of people there, and guess who I saw, and don’t I wish I was there drinking straight vodka from a coconut and playing volleyball with a shark’s head?
Instead of going that route, though, and undoubtedly losing everyone by the time I had gotten knee-deep into a description of the Bahamian taxi drivers, I will tell you about the bookends of my spring break, which were far more startling and exciting than going to Guam. You see — I drank with my parents.
Some of you will be less shocked by this than others. I have a few friends who have been on a steady diet of Bordeaux Salange ’76 since they were nestled in the womb. Their parents have exciting parties and they all do body shots off the strippers, family-style, and then undoubtedly laugh about it the next day. I’m glad I don’t fall into this category, to be honest. I suspect that half of these people will be having Tony Soprano-breakdowns in 30 years and the other half will never find a significant other as exciting as their parents.
Maybe I’ve just convinced myself of this because my parents weren’t exactly like that. Don’t get me wrong — and I’m sure they will, reading this horrified and wearing tie-dye or something — because my parents are definitely not those catatonic, pearls-n-tweeds parents that you know. I’m pretty sure they both cut the mustard when they were young, though I’d rather not hear about it of course, and they still like Bob Dylan and the Boss. It’s no BSB that they listen to, but it’s not Vivaldi either. They’re pretty exciting, as parents go.
That’s where it should end, though. I was having dinner with my father and a friend the night before we left for the Bahamas (second to last mention, I swear) and my friend blithely ordered an Amstel Light. My dad looked taken aback, but followed suit, and I had no choice but to ask the waitress for, yes, an Amstel Light. Let’s pause on this point for a little while. First of all, my friend, whom I’ve since had committed to a mental institution where his only companion is a shopping cart, betrayed far too advanced a knowledge of beer. Perhaps I might have forgiven him for ordering beer if he had said, “Give me that foamy stuff — what’s-it-called — like on St. Patrick’s day, you know?” But Amstel Light? Nothing against the Dutch, but how much fancier can you get?
But oh, the story gets worse. Seeing that I consort with such people, my dad immediately began to suspect that I was a raging alcoholic who had checked in and out of Betty Ford enough to know Matthew Perry and Robert Downey Jr. intimately. I’m surprised he didn’t run out and buy a pocket Breathalyzer. What he did do, however, was pay and leave his credit card open for us, as if we were about to drink 30 shots of 151 from some sort of large basin. It was quite a shock, I’ll tell you. I needed a couple of beers to settle down.
There’s more. After the Bahamas (last mention! That was painless.) I downed a bottle of wine with my mom. This was at a party, so I could avoid direct eye contact and embarrassment a little more easily. But that experience had its horrors. First of all, my grandmother was also at this party. I still don’t want to talk about that. Second of all, the waiter was like an Italian host — “Drink, drink! I have so much and you have so little! Drink the red loveliness!” Who was I to resist this temptation? Superman? Captain America? Peter Parker? So naturally, I was as drunk as a dog that’s had a 40 after about 10 minutes. When I’m drunk I think I’m pretty good at concealing it. Turns out I’m not.
On the train ride back up, after all of these travails, after all this tumult, I was still shaken. Naturally, I got right off the train and had a strong drink that went straight to the restorative tissue. And a good thing I did, or I might have joined my friend with all the loonies.
Or else, I guess, gone back to the beautiful sun and surf of the Bahamas for a few months relaxation. Boy, those Bahamas were great. I mean the cabdrivers kept Bacardi in their wallets! And the — but I’ll save that for a few years from now, when we’re past my official spring break moratorium.