Why Weighing Options Doesn’t Always Work Out

Labor Day Weekend, September 2010

Every year, Labor Day comes around and everyone I know makes a thousand different plans on every opposite end of the spectrum, then all proceed to act surprised and shocked when I’m not able to make all of them. This past year was the first year I can recall in a long time that I literally had absolutely nothing to do… yet.

At work that Thursday, a Facebook Chat window opened from a girl from Chicago that I’ve never met, but somehow stumbled across my music through a mutual friend and has been entranced ever since. She’s made it abundantly clear over the years that she’d like nothing more than to ravage every fiber of my being and, in all honesty, at some points I’ve actually considered it, mostly while on the rebound. On this particular morning, she asked me what my plans were for the weekend, then told me she wanted to fly me out to Chicago, on her dollar, as air fares were significantly reduced, and have me stay with her at her place for the weekend. I couldn’t tell whether to be aroused or frightened, so I decided to get a second opinion.

When I told my friend “Baul” about this, after the initial shock and general, “I hate you for the things that happen to you.” type talk, his initial response was, “Well, if you’re going to go there, you might as well bring your own cooler for her to put your kidneys in. After all, it’s only proper etiquette.”

Point taken.

So what was I to do for Labor Day? What great adventure lay before me? I could get flown out to Chicago for free, part take in some guaranteed carefree sex, potentially wake up without some vital organs, and see a city I’ve never been to all before arriving back at work on Tuesday, or I could stay in the city and think of something else.

Sad to say, I went with the latter. Yep. Sorry kids, but this story isn’t taking that turn… for once.

So, Friday night I went out to Angels and Kings in the East Village and hung out with my very good friend who, for the sake of anonymity for those who don’t know him, we’ll call “Fro.” Fro was DJing, which was occupying the bulk of his time, and pickens seemed pretty slim on that night, more than likely because people were out of town, like I should’ve been.

After getting completely blitzed on PBR’s and red wine, having no alternative plans, I called the night a bust, hailed a cab, and decided to make my way up to Wandering Panda’s on the Upper West Side. I must have been pretty hammered too, because when I looked up, halfway through the ride, well into the 50’s on the east side of town, I noticed that the cab didn’t have a meter going. The exchange that followed went something like this:

“Hey man, what’s with the meter? It’s not running.”
“Oh. Yeah. It’s busted.”
“Well, how were you planning on charging me?”
“I was just planning on charging $30, tip included.”
“What!? No, this trip is not worth nearly that much. Here’s $10 for your troubles.”

I slipped $10 through the open portion of the barrier and got out of the cab right there. I started walking down the sidewalk on 59th Street, next to Dylan’s Candy Bar. The next thing I knew, I was being punched in the back of the head repeatedly. When I turned around to fight back, I saw it was the cabbie. I turned and hit him right in the face with the drunken force and rage of a thousand Mike Tyson’s. He fell to the ground, stumbled quickly trying to get back up, and started running back to his cab screaming, “You fucking crazy!” before getting in and driving off.

Well, that was an interesting start to the weekend. Let’s keep it up.

I woke up on Wandering Panda’s couch the next morning. We had a quick early afternoon cocktail and were plotting out how the rest of our weekend was going to go when I got a text from Fro saying, “We’re going to the Hampton’s today. Be ready in an hour.”

I called him back and he told me that he had a connection to a house full of girls that had invited him and whoever he wanted to bring out to a big party they were throwing. Intrigued, I showered quick, got ready, and met him downstairs upon his arrival. Wandering Panda opted to stay in the city, as he was slated to spend some time with his girlfriend… wuss.

Fro and I started our trek by stopping off at my rehearsal space to grab my guitar because, well, we were going to The Hampton’s to hang out with a house full of girls. In this sort of setting, a guitar is a pretty essential tool when you’re “that” guy, which I have no shame in admitting I am. Other stops along the way included a stop at the liquor store – at which we bought about $100 worth of wine and liquor – and a stop at a PathMark to purchase beer, condoms, and Nerf guns (at the request of the girls). You read that last part right.

After getting lost for a while, we finally arrived at the house at around 10pm. We entered the house to discover several things, including the following:

  • Several hot girls, 1 unfortunate looking sea creature.
  • A mother, the owner of the house.
  • 3 adolescent children, ages 10, 12, and 13.

In retrospect, I should’ve gone to Chicago.

The mother immediately thanked me for bringing her drink of choice and, after my initial shock wore off, her and I had a glass of wine.

Pretty much immediately following our entrance, I was marked by the manatee, who I had met once before a few months prior at a show, and used that brief meeting as an “in” to not leave my side the entire night. Any time I’d try to go outside to talk to other people, she would follow. Any time I’d try to go anywhere to escape, she’d stalk her prey with precision and fierce accuracy.

In retrospect, I really should’ve gone to Chicago.

With the clutches of the sea beast only growing closer with each passing attempt to escape, I committed the ultimate party foul as a desperate attempt to free myself: I got so drunk that I needed to sleep immediately, and passed out on a couch in the living room, despite knowing that I’d become the butt of any large number of jokes. I figured, ”Hey, we’re leaving in the morning. I’m at a party, in the middle of The Hampton’s, with a bunch of 20-somethings who I can’t interact with because I’m being stalked by a being that my future children will have cold-sweated nightmares about. I might as well sleep through this… Oh, not to mention the mother and three adolescents that are also currently present.”

I awoke the next morning, laying on the couch in the living room amongst the 10-year-old, 12-year-old, and 13-year old younger brothers of the party host playing video games. None of the other party-goers from the previous night seemed to be anywhere to be found.

In retrospect, there is now no doubt in my mind that I should’ve gone to Chicago.

I pulled myself up from the couch enough to make myself aware of my surroundings, went to the kitchen to grab a cup of water to help nurse my hangover, and began to play video games with the boys for a half an hour or so before being joined by one or two of the other party guests, who apparently were close friends of the family and were familiar enough with the house to be offering me food from the fridge.

Slowly but surely, the rest of the group began to wake up and make their way to us from the basement, and eventually we were all in full swing after everyone began to nurse their dehydrated bodies.

Fro and I sat by the kitchen table as he worked on his laptop and began to discuss the details of our departure, at which point we determined that we’d leave shortly after noon; however, almost immediately after we’d made our decision, the front door opened, and in walked nearly a dozen or so cute sorority girls in sundresses and short skirts with a bucket of margarita mix and another handle of tequila. It was at this point that we immediately heard the cracking of beer cans from behind us, and one of the girls familiar with the house called out, “We’re starting, boys. Will you be joining us or are you pussies?”

Fro immediately turned to me and said, “Yeah, so we’re staying another night.”

At this point, things were starting to look up. We all cracked a few beers, and the now 19 or 20 of us began to day drink like champs. All of this seemed great, aside from one major inhibiting factor: The Manatee was still relentlessly clinging, like a child to its mother.

I made all attempts throughout the day to quietly escape her clutches. I created diversions, suggested a bunch of us taking a ride to the store, I even hung out and talked music with the little kids, who I had discovered were also young musicians, but none of it worked. Finally, I texted Fro with, “S.O.S.” and he sent one of the girls over to sit between us, which seemed to work marvelously.

At around this time, maybe 5pm or so, it was decided by one of the girls that, if we were to make it to partying throughout the night, it was nap time. So we all retired downstairs to the basement to our seperate couches and air mattresses, where we all laid our heads down for a brief slumber.

I, fortunately, had gotten a spot next to a very cute girl, who I was flirtatiously talking to and getting to know as we both fell asleep. When I finally passed out, the alcohol hit me pretty hard, and I really didn’t have any sense of time.

After maybe about two hours downstairs, in all but silence, I felt some movement next to me and began to hear some voices in the background. This was enough to just lightly shake me from sleep, and the next thing I knew, I felt lips on mine. Cute girl? Kissing me? I’ll take it.

About 20 seconds or so passed until I heard Fro say from across the room, “Yo, John. You need to come upstairs. Right now.”

At that moment, the lights flicked on, and my eyes received the most horrifying image I could’ve seen at that point in time: it was The Manatee.

My entire sense of balance and stability was immediately sent into a tailspin as enough blood rushed to my head to jolt me off of the air mattress and send me running upstairs. As soon as I got up there, the girl I had fallen asleep next to came out of the bathroom, immediately prompting me to ask her, “Weird question, but how long were you up here for?”

“I don’t know. Maybe two… three minutes? Why, what’s up? You look like you’ve seen a ghost!”

I was horrified. I felt like Tom Cruise in “Vanilla Sky” when he’s having sex with Penelope Cruz, but then she turns into the most psychotic version of Cameron Diaz I’ve ever seen, only this was far more scarring.

By the time I came down from the third floor bathroom, the party had already begun on the second floor. I walked through it and went immediately back down to the basement to collect my thoughts and try to figure out how and why the events of the last 10 minutes had occurred, but I would not find any answers that night.

Aggravated and confused, I opted to spend the rest of the night downstairs, unable to find an equilibrium with my mood. Shortly after I laid myself down and got in a staring contest with the ceiling, the door to the upstairs opened and I heard footsteps coming down, only to see two of the other party goers’ faces appear in my line of sight.

“What are you doing down here all by yourself?” one of them asked.

When I told them what had happened, shocked, they encouraged me to come back to the party, as it would make me feel a lot better if I were to. I convinced myself they were right, and went upstairs.

I was not upstairs for more than 5 seconds before The Manatee once again threw herself at me and tried dragging me off to watch the beer pong game with her. Any time I tried to stray, she’d follow and ask where I was going, even if simply to go to the bathroom. It was pretty much a repeat of the weekend’s previous events, only made drastically worse by the fact that she had now gotten a taste, albeit quite sneakily, and had managed to convince herself it was going to go further.

After making a brief and horrifyingly bad attempt to enjoy the party, I was only further made to know that this night was only going to get worse and significantly more annoying if I remained upstairs with the rest of the group. With this knowledge, I walked to the fridge, grabbed a few of my beers and three Jello shots, and attempted to go put myself to sleep in the basement and awake after all of the dust cleared.

I had been down there for maybe 10 minutes alone, beers and Jello shots finished, lying on a mattress by myself, when the door opened again, and a single set of footsteps made its way downstairs. I knew immediately what it was, and clutched to my pillow.

The internal fear that coursed through me was enough to make that five or so seconds between her reaching the bottom of the stairs and arriving at the mattress I was sleeping on feel like it lasted forever. I clutched to the pillow I had under me, like a child does when he’s afraid of the monster in the closet and is convinced that it’s coming to get him, only my monster actually was and, what was worse… she was drunk.

I felt the mattress move as she climbed into it, and my stomach curdled as I felt her arms reach around it to be the big spoon. So this was it. This was how my weekend was going to end. I was being forced to cuddle by a drunken creature of the sea that was just simply not getting the hint.

She whispered into my ear that she wanted “all of me” as I squirmed to try and clutch to the wall, the window sill above me, anything at all. The imagery gave that Lil’ Jon song an even more horrifying new personal meaning to me. I kept trying to pretend to just go to sleep, but she kept trying to get me turn around and kiss her. It was mortifying. Finally, I just closed my eyes and tuned her out, and just let myself pass out, regardless of what was going to happen.

I woke up in the same position at about 6AM, now surrounded by the rest of the party. Grasping to my last option for freedom, I somehow managed to stand up on the mattress, jump over The Manatee, run across the room, and leap onto another air mattress on the other side of the stairs in one seemingly stealth motion, throwing a blanket over myself to remain undetected. It was there I remained for the rest of the morning until I heard her get up and walk upstairs, seemingly unfazed by the fact that she had not only pulled the ole’ bait and switch, but had also continued to forcibly and drunkenly pursue a person who was visibly and verbally horrified by her actions.

Once upstairs, the rest of the party started to wake up and regale the crazy occurrences of the previous night. There was skinny dipping, there was drunken water sliding, there were cute sorority girls practically handing out blowjobs, but I had missed it all. Thanks, Manatee.

After she left, and everybody had a real good hooting laugh at my expense after not only witnessing what happened to me, but hearing my description of everything that they didn’t see, Fro and I got into his car and braved the Long Island traffic back to The Bronx. It was the most brutal three hours of my life, during which we had to pull over to let me vomit twice.

In retrospect, I should’ve gone to Chicago.

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