I received a text from my friend, Tad, at 10:37 p.m. last Friday night. He was at a bar on the Upper East Side – a bar I’d never heard of before.
“Get. here. now,” the text said. Whenever I receive a text like that, I know it has to do with one of the following things: girls, drugs, or both. In this case, it was the former.
I was still wearing my suit from work that day. I had forgotten to put deodorant on earlier that morning and refused to buy a stick from the convenience store after the last allergic breakout I had from Gillette. My original plan was to have some drinks with a couple guys from work, go back to my apartment, shower off, and meet up with Tad. But dinner got in the way, and with dinner came more drinks.
We left the office around 6:15 and had now been drinking for about four straight hours. Had we stuck with draught beers, I probably would’ve been fine. But we didn’t. Vodka martinis, straight up, blue cheese olives, the whole nine yards. I could feel the glaze begin to form over my eyes when dinner ended and we went to our third stop for the night – a stop that I considered to be my final spot.
You know, until that fateful text.
“Get. here. now.”
I hesitantly responded well-knowing that I was likely to take the bait. Unfortunately, I was weighed down from my long week at work, my Ralph Lauren suit that desperately needed dry-cleaning, and the fact that I had attempted to turn over a new leaf by giving up Adderall between 5 p.m. on Fridays and 7 a.m. on Mondays.
But get here now kept running through my head as I waited for the waiter to fill my glass up with more sparkling water. Water is what I have been using to keep myself more alert, more aware. For every cocktail I’d consume, I’d drink as much of a tall glass of ice water as humanly possible. Sure, I was peeing more, but my hangovers were lessened and I was able to stay out later because my hydration levels were that of an Olympian.
Still, something was missing.
“Get. here. now.”
It was going to be a long trek. I had the choice of making it an expensive Uber or your standard subway ride. Earlier that day, I’d received an email letting me know that all my Ubers were 50% off for the weekend. I’m not sure why that was the case other than the fact that the company is absolutely reeling, but I wasn’t going to argue. Uber it was.
I deleted my original response – “Fiiiiiiine.” – before opting for something that would give Tad a little more motivation to get me out to the bar. “Drop me a pin,” I told him. It was non-committal but also required him to do a little legwork to get me there.
Before exchanging pleasantries with my associates as I left, I clarified with them whether or not they’d be sticking around. They assured me that they would be, so I asked if I could Chase QuickPay one of them for the only drink I had at our third stop. They obliged.
“What’s the story about this bar?” I asked Tad while waiting curbside for my Uber to arrive. It wasn’t until five minutes into my ride to him that he finally responded, “Remember Sarah?”
Sarah was an old flame of his. She ran with an affluent crowd and had an ambiguous job that clearly meant her parents paid her bills. Sarah’s friends were, to put it lightly, good looking. Better looking than Tad and I, and better looking than most other friend groups in the city.
Half-way through my response to him, I was awoken by my Uber driver slamming on the brakes harder than he was slamming on the horn of his Mercedes sedan. I had dozed off in the back seat and the clock had barely just touched 11. It wasn’t until after I wiped my face that I realized Tad had sent a follow-up text: “Fiona’s here too.”
Fiona, oh, Fiona. I had struck out with her twice already – Labor Day Weekend 2014 and New York Fashion Week 2016. My casual Instagram-stalking of her a month prior let me know that she had finally moved back into the city from Los Angeles, but given my track record, it didn’t seem prudent to reach out and pitch grabbing drinks. The ship had sailed, in my mind.
“Here’s fine,” I told the driver, unsure of how I’d be able to drink anymore without wanting to doze off even harder. I straddled the line between the sidewalk and the alley with my phone in my hand hovering right around 50% battery. I could either enter the bar and attempt to put my game face on, or I could walk to the nearby subway stop and consider the money I’d just wasted on my Uber a wash.
Luckily, I didn’t have to make the decision for myself. Tad had stepped outside with Sarah who was clutching a pack of yellow American Spirits. “John!” she yelled.
And my fate had been decided for me. Tad, stumbling toward me, ignored the hand I’d stuck out for a handshake and instead went in for a full hug – a clear sign that he was both drunk and sentimental. You know, as he gets.
I could feel his hand in my coat pocket and emotions of fear, elation, and the sinking feeling that I knew what I was about to encounter all flooded me at once. I couldn’t feel the 10 milligrams he’d dropped into my pocket, but the emotional weight of it was enough to make me feel as though I’d already taken it.
“Sarah!” I finally responded back after John released me. “How are you?”
I don’t remember how she responded because she ended her reintroduction to me with the whereabouts of Fiona – “She’s inside at the bar waiting for us.”
I stuck my hand in my coat pocket and flipped the Adderall between my fingers before turning my back to them and grabbing the bar’s door handle. I took it out and choked it down without any water before seeing her pick at the label of her Kronenbourg 1664.
I was back. .
Image via YouTube