Is it always the case that, while inebriated past any measure of personal safety, and when ensconced in a group of like minded individuals, sound decisions become as likely as Uwe Bolle winning the Palme d'Or? Maybe the fact it was 2:30 AM didn't help our rational brain functions. Maybe the fact that the place we were heading after the first bar promised a free wood fired personal pizza with every beer purchase, maybe... no, wait, it was the last thing.
The Alligator Lounge is about a mile from Han's place, where I'm staying. Which is a bit of a walk for a group of inebriated shut-ins who find walking to Gamestop to get their pre-order... uhm, taxing. A mile. There's one problem, we're still 3 miles to Han's.
I shouldn't complain. I'm from BC. Land of Greenpeace and hippies and hikers and orienteerers. Outdoorsy. But those generalities are just that, an average. Somebody has to be the outlier. To top it all, I'm lucky to have on my feet the cheapest sandals I could find, barring footwear that leaves permanent stains and those that fall apart from direct sunlight. My feet can handle impact stress about as well as a dry mound of talcum.
Good thing I'm drunk.
Stumbling, it seems, doesn't count as walking. And, overwhelmed with braincell-killing ethanol and higher cerebrum smothering heat (even at 2:30), my brain could only process two things 1) the ever increasing challenge of walking upright 2) the exact moment when I was going to skip a few steps in the digestion process and reverse the direction. Nerve-shattering tendon-grinding pain is a far away memory.
We get there, and receive the bright-eyed cheerful staff welcome reserved only for large groups who stumble into a bar 15 minutes from closing. It's 3:45am. We have marched for, well. It was longer than what normal math and your sober understanding of time would indicate. It goes without saying that they had run out of pizza. Put airquotes around any part of that previous sentence, you'd probably be right.
At some point during the March of Death, our general bonhomie and chit-chat was swallowed up by the grim determination to get to wherever the hell we were going (at this point many of us, or at least I, had forgotten). One foot in front of the other. Try not to yak on one another's shoes. Remember you're doing this to have fun.
Berg mentions a story about some SAS march, somewhere dangerous. Let's say Antarctica (no, I don't know why the British Government is interested in killing penguins with outrageously trained military types moving in a two by two formation). Anyhoo, the story goes that people get left behind, but the group is too strained and near death to care or worry.They'd just look behind them periodically, and poof, that one guy with the 100 yard stare and personalized side-arm with hand-made hollow points was gone.
This seemed patently ridiculous to me. I mean, you're walking in a group. Surely you'd sense it, no? It's not like the SAS move in large, anonymous groups.
Yes, this is my round-about way of saying that we lost someone. We lost three people, actually. The SAS have nothing on us.
So we have a drink. Again. Not me, because my body has decided to take this downtime to shut everything down. Higher brain functions. Lower brain functions. Any brain functions. If my breath wasn't so flammable I woulda been the "I Love You Man" guy.
We pull up stakes and hike over to a diner, because nothing staves off nausea like a large stack of Insta-Quik Nearly-Flour-Based Pancake Substitute (I worked at Denny's. I know.). I head to the bathroom, and every sweat gland decides it's a good time to work overdrive. I'd had this before. When I was 19 and thought if you don't feel anything from a shot of Southern Comfort after 30 seconds, why not have another. It is, I later found out (as I had suspected), basically the early stages of alcohol poisoning.
I stumble out and sit with my friends. Just trying not to embarrass myself while looking like I had just gone a little crazy with a spray bottle. It wasn't so much a sheen as a uncomfortable torrent. Zesty, one of the younger, more sardonic types given to the sort of humour that'd make Rickle's proud (an American thing, I think), snickers at this point. Oh, people with high amounts of perfectly functioning alcohol dehydrogenase in their European livers can die in a fire. I'm feeling too sick and near death to offer up any defense. Which would had been feeble even if I was sober (Canadian thing, I think).
So Prime sees how near death I am, and, forgoing hunger, he pulls me up and tells me he's walking me home. Some of us get a move on.
It's a tough walk. The streets are relatively empty but for some reason Zesty bumps into a dude with dreadlocks, poor posture, and a likely sickening trust fund. He looks Zesty up and down and says, "Hey man, it's all cool, I mean, we could be friends, probably". It was the most passive aggressive burn I had ever seen. It seems even the hippies here are American.