the tequila disaster of 2004.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: The events referenced in this post happened eight years ago. I have since become a somewhat more responsible adult. Somewhat. At least I’m more functional.
When I lived in Japan I had a friend named Ramon from Honduras. He was part of a larger group of friends from all over the world that were in a scholarship program granted by the Japanese government. This diverse group of students held “international parties” twice a year, and on this particular night in 2004, Ramon invited me to attend, as he had been given the task of bartending.
In Japan, parties and other such events tend to start precariously early. I’m not sure when or why this bad habit started, but it causes some issues if you weigh just over a hundred pounds and get drunk off 1.5 beers. To reiterate, if you start drinking at 7pm, you’re going to be blasted out of your mind by about 8:30.
Regardless of the inconvenient start time, I was well aware of the prospects of free booze at this international student party… at least while it lasted. Although I wanted to arrive fashionably late, I opted to arrive on time, aware that free liquor wouldn’t last long. These were international students drinking, not Japanese kids, who typically take a sip of alcohol and immediately descend into a flushed, confused, inebriated state.
I dragged my roommate, Lessa, to the party as well because I figured it was very possible I would need a babysitter. It wasn’t difficult to convince her; A drink at a bar in Japan cost approximately $21.75 at the time, which meant Lessa had the potential to save about $200 by coming to the free booze party with me.
Lessa and I arrived at 8pm. My friend Ramon was behind the bar. I approached the bar.
“Gringuita!” said Ramon.
“Lessa and I need a drink.”
“All I have left is tequila.”
“Anything to mix it with?”
“So you’ve literally only got tequila, without mixers or anything to make it cold?”
“Fill up these cups then,” I said, extending two red, plastic, ten-ounce cups to Ramon, who filled them to the brim with Jose Cuervo.
Ten minutes later Lessa was still wincing as she barely sipped her glass of room-temperature tequila.
Ten minutes later, my glass was nearly empty.
When my father used to offer me his most prized piece of advice, “Jesus Christ, please just don’t do anything stupid!” I’m pretty sure he was talking about drinking eight ounces of tequila in ten minutes.
An hour passed that is now a haze, but I’m 99% sure there was some spirited salsa dancing with a Nigerian involved. I’m also pretty sure that it wasn’t even 9pm yet, even though I was using the wall for support just to remain upright. Lessa, however, being a sensible human being, had still barely touched her tequila and was very aware of my condition.
“Alright, I think it’s about time to take you home,” Lessa said as she noticed that I was collapsed into a heap on the floor, in fetal position, laughing hysterically.
“Good God,” Lessa sighed, rolling her eyes. Thankfully Lessa is about a foot taller than me and five times stronger. She picked up my little body and carried me Avatar–style out of the party and into the subway, where nightlife in Japan was in full-swing. Drunken salary-men, faces flushed a tone of red not normally found in nature, laughed and pointed at the tall American girl carrying the elf-like American girl as they drank chu-hi from little cans and stumbled around the train car.
Lessa found this an opportune time to alert our friends Colin and Matt that I’d been dancing around like a hyena at the international student party, and that we were on our way home. Being that Colin and Matt lived down the hall, they were already waiting outside our apartment door upon our arrival, as Lessa dragged me by my arms from the elevator to our apartment. Colin was prepared, video camera in-hand, to document my drunken performance.
Upon entering the apartment, I turned on the television. I’m not sure why. We had two English channels in 2004, Fox Japan and CNN. For whatever reason, I turned on the TV to CNN, which was airing a light, Friday-night documentary about starving children in Africa.
I immediately started to cry. Not the type of crying that beautiful, delicate women do in movies where a few well-placed, fragile tears trickle down their face, amplifying their ethereal beauty. I started to howl like an abandoned baby coyote, snot erupting from my nose and making tracks down my face, eyes red and bleeding mascara, heaving sobs prompting shortness of breath.
Colin, Matt and Lessa looked on, laughing hysterically, graciously capturing the scene on film so we could re-live this moment of bonding for years to come.
“It’s… (heave)… just… (choke)… not…. (sob)… faiiiiirrrr!” I wailed, trying to catch my breath. “All (sob)...of those… (snot)… starving… (nose blow)… chiiiiiildreeeeen!”
This is (was?) all on video.
I woke up in the morning with my eyes swollen shut. I’m not sure if they were exactly swollen, but more like sealed shut with a dry, muscusy crust that one only experiences when they drink too much tequila and proceed to cry about starving children in Africa.
It was a full three-day recovery. You know it was a bad night when you call in sick to work on Monday from Friday night’s shenanigans.
I never touched tequila again… until the tequila disaster of 2011.