On the first floor of an apartment building in downtown Chicago, I’m making out with a blonde girl who we’ll call “Tara” in her building’s hot tub. There’s a pool too, as well as a small gym with some free weights and a few ellipticals. We’re allowed in this sauna area because Tara is “boys” with the guy who works the late shift at the security desk, and he apparently has no problem watching us hook up from his monitor at the front of the building. It’s 4:30 in the morning on Friday, and despite best efforts by both of us to have sex, we give up after about 15 minutes in the lukewarm tub because, contrary to popular belief, fucking in a body of water does not work that well.
Upstairs back in her apartment, I say that I have to work in three hours as I roll over to one side of the bed. “Didn’t you say your boss wasn’t coming in today? Just call in sick.”
Although this was true, calling in sick wasn’t an option. I had a few things that needed to be taken care of ASAP, and for some reason, I thought I could push through. I go to sleep unsatisfied and annoyed that I’m gainfully employed.
I wake up two-and-a-half hours later around 7:30 a.m. I hate everything. A small victory comes in the form of a Vyvanse from Tara. She says I’ll need it as I splash some water onto my face in her kitchen. Ambiguous plans are made to meet up on Saturday. All I can think about is 5:00 o’clock when I can go home to my bed. I think to myself that I should quit my job and find one that allows me to work from home.
I spot a Chick-Fil-A after walking in my offices general direction. My head is pounding as I agree to wait the extra 10 minutes it takes to make me two chicken sandwiches from the lunch menu. I have the same clothes on from my night out on the town and my skin reeks of chlorine and Pabst Blue Ribbon that I spilled on myself while dancing. I’m running on something like two-and-a-half hours of sleep and the Vyvanse hasn’t kicked in yet. Why I decided to stay out all night knowing full well that I had a day of work on the horizon is a tale that’s been told a thousand times. I was trying to hook up with a girl, and on this particular evening, it required going into extra innings.
Allow me, for a moment, to take you back to Thursday afternoon. It was here that my plan to take it easy turned into me walking to work Friday morning looking and smelling like a homeless vagrant.
Last week, I wrote a short piece regarding the inevitability of going out on Thursday after work. That story got posted Thursday morning, and when I wrote it I honestly had no intention of doing anything until that Saturday, which is when the city of Chicago celebrates St. Patricks Day. It was a relatively normal day in the office. I pounded out a bunch of emails right when I got in, drank a few cups of shitty coffee, and then tried to look as busy as possible in the hopes that no one would talk to me. I shirked a lot of my responsibilities on this day because there were early round Big Ten tournament basketball games going on. I was fairly uninterested in these games because it involved the bottom dwellers and doormats of the league, but anything is better than lying about my plans for the weekend to older coworkers. It was during the second game of the afternoon that a cocktail was beginning to sound very good. Just one, though. Maybe two if someone texts me, but I wasn’t about to go out of my way to see what people were doing. Saturday was going to be a marathon, I said to myself. Best to take it easy tonight and get some sleep.
I predictably got a text in the late afternoon about an event a friend of a friend was putting on at a hip bar on the west side of the city. There would be a few different “DJs” (read: unemployed bohemians) playing songs off of their laptops and tall boys were going for two dollars. Fine, I said. Hand to God, my plan when I agreed to go was to have three to four of what I was guessing would be PBRs (I was correct) and be back home, asleep in bed by 10:30 at the latest. That plan, which was made at 4:00 p.m. Thursday, devolved into people coming over to my apartment to drink before the event started. I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I go to someone’s apartment or house before going out, the music and the drinking get ramped up to irresponsible levels. There’s always someone who works from home on Fridays, a friend in town for the weekend, or a kid in grad school with no real responsibilities who makes everyone pass a bottle of liquor around before the Ubers show up. Because you don’t want to look like a dick, you take a few pulls and everything is hunky dory. A fifth of Jack was making the rounds as we hopped into two separate cabs, and even though I don’t care for Jack, I took a few swigs because I felt like I had to.
Already fairly toasted by the time I got to this bar, I bought a round of beers for the five people who I was in a cab with, and one of the kids responded by ordering five shots of Jameson. How can I say no to that? The answer is, I can’t. Someone buys you a shot you take it. I hate taking shots, and I’m definitely an asshole, but I’m not going to turn a shot down if you buy one for me. I’m not a savage.
The rest of the night quickly is your classic brownout. After three or four tall boys I was noticeably drunk. The dance moves I pulled out were absolutely terrible, which usually works in my favor with girls of a certain ilk. A nice one named Tara sidled up to me and challenged me to a dance-off.
“We doing this?” I said.
So, I did. I brought the house down. The lawnmower and some weird cross between a moonwalk and a b-boy stance were all it took for me to have a gross public make out with my new friend, Tara. By now it was around 1 a.m., but Tara suggested me and the eight people I was with come downtown to her apartment. Her roommate was there having a small party and it would be so great if we all came out for a little while. It was around this point that I started saying to myself, “Go home. It’s time to hang ’em up for the night.”
But little head usually wins over big head. And it should come as no surprise that by 2 o’clock, me and a few of my friends found ourselves sitting in a swanky apartment downtown that probably costs double what I’m paying for my two-bedroom farther north. More dancing, more drinking, more making out with Tara. People must have started to get an idea of what was going down because at some point Tara and I found ourselves alone in her living room, which is when she suggested we go down to the hot tub.
She gave me a men’s bathing suit that actually fit me quite well, and at this point in the night, I really didn’t give a shit whose bathing suit it was. Maybe it was her roommate’s boyfriend’s. Maybe it was her boyfriend’s. I honestly don’t know.
So let’s bring it all the way back to Friday morning as I’m sitting in a Chick-Fil-a alone at 8:00 a.m. I’m going through my phone just sort of browsing. I realize I don’t have Tara’s number. Not a huge concern to me at the time, but now, as I sit here typing this I am realizing that I want it. So this is my version of a Craigslist Missed Connection ad. Tara, if you happen to be reading this, it’s not too late. Hit me up. I’d love to see you again. You know who you are. .
Image via John Naffziger