Alison Berkley: The Princess’ Palate
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
So last Friday night I decided to go out and get really drunk.
I don’t know what came over me. Maybe it had something to do with an e-mail I got from my friend Wess after I announced my engagement, who wrote, “This is the best news ever. I’m so deeply happy for you. I just hope that being content will not take the bite off of your writing!”
Or maybe it has something to do with the fact that I do feel sort of grown-up lately. It’s a very strange, new sensation and one I’ve been trying to avoid my whole life. So of course I’m going to fight it.
Like the other night, we were out to dinner with some friends of ours who are married with kids and have their own business. We’re sitting at this table, and I’m imagining what we might look like to other people in the room. I’m thinking we look like older people, or at least people who are older than, say, 25.
We’re with two couples, and the men are talking to each other on one end of the table and the women on the other. The women are both blonde and wearing sparkling diamond rings on that ever-so-significant ring finger. For the first time in my life I thought to myself, “Oh, my god. I’ve become one of them. I’m now a member of the club.”
If there’s one thing my mom was determined to teach me, it was to never become a member of any club, especially clubs that involve a uniform, even one that has diamonds on it.
Friday night started out innocently enough. I went with my friend Catherine and her baby to the hockey game. Catherine just loves watching her husband play hockey. She thinks it’s the coolest and sexiest thing in the world and gets super into it. I love Ryan and everything, but the last game of his I went to I brought the newest copy of US Weekly to keep myself entertained. Since I’m there with Catherine, I bring a six-pack of beer instead. I mean, I don’t want to be rude.
So she’s like cheering and going nuts and getting all into the game and I’m having this deep, long conversation with the baby about everything she learned in her last life, which is important to do with babies because they forget it all by the time they’re old enough to talk.
After the game, we head over to Zane’s with the team. This is a cooler-than-average experience because Cathy brings the coolest-ever baby (who I’m pretty sure was a famous yogi because she is so chill and calm and happy) into the bar in one of those car-seat things you can just take everywhere you go, like a take-out container for a baby.
“Hey, does that baby have any I.D.?” some drunk guy who is smoking outside asks.
The baby is peacefully asleep under the lid of her little take-out carrier thing so we can enjoy a few beers and wings before Cathy has to go.
If I really were grown up, since I am engaged, I probably would’ve called it a night – but no.
“Let’s go to Hunter Bar and see what the kids do for fun these days,” our friend Bill said.
I have to admit I was in a celebratory mood, especially since I was clearly winning the staring contest I’d been having with my ring for over a week now.
So we go to Hunter Bar and I decide to turn into Cool Party Bitch.
“Who wants a shot?” I scream at my crew of friends who all sort of give me a whatever-nod and shrug. “I’m buying!”
You know when you start buying shots for your 10 best friends you are at the top of a very long, steep decline and I’m not talking about the kind that has snow on it.
After that, it’s kind of a blur. I remember when we piled all of our coats on the dance floor and pretended it was a campfire, warming our hands on it and warning everyone who came by not to step on the flames. I remember doing back bends and kick-overs in the pile of jackets, which, I guess at that point was no longer a pretend fire but a gymnastics mat. I remember my mouth opening and words coming out of it, words I haven’t uttered since I was a desperate, single danger-slut looking for trouble as an attractive alternative to sitting at home eating spelt pretzels and watching reruns of “Grey’s Anatomy” on TV.
“Let’s get some drugs!” I declared. I don’t often use the word “declared” because in journalism school they taught us that “said” should suffice for almost any quotation, but that’s what it was. Thank god no one actually entertained my little illegal idea because then I decided to tell my favorite “One time, in California, I hooked up with a girl” story.
I’m pretty sure I was doing it all to show off for Ryan’s best friend, who I was determined to impress. Why I thought he’d think a drunk, 40-year-old drug-seeking, perverted gymnast is cool was beyond me. I guess it’s just old hat.
I had lots of time to think about all this as the vice closed on my skull and my eyeballs popped out and rolled onto the bathroom floor when I was sick for the entire next day. Nothing made me feel better, except maybe leaning my forehead on the cold toilet seat and catching a few short naps between trips to the bathroom.
You would think at my age I would know better, but hey. At least I proved Wess wrong. I’ve still got plenty of bite, especially when you’re talking about that lime I sucked on after that last stupid shot of tequila.
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