Craziest. Night. Ever. (20s) . . .
I'm going to spend the rest of this week on a topic I loathe (love/Valentine's Day) so I figured I would spare you one day of awkwardness and give you one of those posts . . . the "Craziest night of my life - 20s edition".
Before I get in to this too far and you misunderstand let me be proactive . . . this post has nothing to do with the horror, terror, loss, and sadness of 9/11. It is not my attempt to be deep or philosophical nor is it my attempt to make it all seem okay. It is not okay now, it was not okay then. What it is/was is something that I can honestly say I was LUCKY to not have been directly impacted by. Did it "affect" me? Yes. Did it "effect" me? Yes. But not any more than it did the average American who was lucky to only have photos, video footage, and fear to remember the day by. We good? Good.
So I lived and worked in Washington, DC on September 11, 2001. The day started, for me, beautifully (it was PERFECT weather in DC - the first day that the heat, humidity, and nastiness of the DC summer was not thick in the air and I had a little flirt-thing going on with a woman at a Border's near my office so she gave me the Ben Folds "Rockin' the Suburbs" album Monday night so I had new tunes in my discman (yeah, I said that) as I walked to the metro. The perfection of the day would be short lived, clearly. I won't go in to the details of that day because 9/11 was NOT the craziest night of my 20s. No, no. September 12th took care of that.
After a day of stress and worry on Tuesday and a very timid "we back to 'normal' in any way" day on Wednesday, a group of friends and I decided we would meet up after work for happy hour to just sort of enjoy each other's company and to celebrate fellowship (the District of Columbia was a magical place following 9/11. We made eye contact. We smiled. We let people stand on the left side of the Metro escalators. We were our best, best selves.). Happy hour . . . turned to hours . . . turned to Thursday, September 13th.
Here's all I know. I woke up at about 4:45 AM ET. I was naked. I was in the hallway of my small apartment (my then roommate was asleep in his bedroom just feet away). The hallway light was on. A partial pizza sat on my chest. My mouth tasted like burns, cigarettes, booze, morning funk, and "this is going to hurt when I try to get it together in a few hours." You see, dear readers, we had apparently had one HECK of a group bender the preceding evening (Disclaimer - I always tell people I stopped drinking on Election Night 2000. This is sorta' true. There are four exceptions. 9/12/01, Election Night 2004, a random Saturday night in February, 2005, and a random Saturday night in April, 2006. Now you know.).
I would be an absolute liar if I told you I remembered the evening. What I "know" about it has all been relayed back to me second and, in one case, third hand. Here's what I think transpired . . .
We started out light and easy with happy hour drinks. There were about six of us. Before long the crowd swelled to about 12. Most of the people were my closer DC friends, the rest were friends of theirs (I was sorta dating a woman at this point - she was not present, thankfully). We met at an Irish bar on Dupont Circle in a hotel (I can't remember the name of it and it has apparently changed names since). We stayed there until about 11:00 PM ET. In that time we ran up a tab of well over $1,100 (which I insisted, apparently, on paying the entirety of - apparently if you are ordering round of cognac and forcing people to drink them you feel obligated to pay for said liquor). I apparently tried to kiss every person at the table. I apparently tried to kiss the waiter (Yes. Waiter. Male. No - I'm still not gay.). I apparently tried to get the waiter to kiss the females at the table.
I eventually made my way out in to the streets of DC (literally - just stumbled in to the circle - one of the busier exchanges in the city) and in to a cab. My roommate, I believe, went with me. We took the cab back to our neighborhood (but not our place - I don't think - if we took it home, I did not call it a night then). I then spent another 90 minutes or so at a bar on 8th Street, SE (we lived in-between Eastern Market and Potomac Yard just off Pennsylvania Avenue). I got home at about 1:00 AM and ordered food (if the receipt for the pizza is any indicator). I then, I am presuming, sat at the front door trying not to pass out from all the booze in my body and eventually, most likely naked, greeted the pizza guy, laid on the floor, put the pizza on my chest, took out one slice, and called it a night.
Was it a good night? Heck YES! I apparently had a great time and enjoyed my friends and the notion that we were all still alive and that our lives were eventually going to get back to normal and everything was going to be fine. I had booze. I had pizza while drunk (people always talk about the kiss of a beautiful woman, a sip of deep, rich red wine, the curve of a Porsche, etc. as the greatest pleasures in life but no one ever talks about pizza while drunk . . .). I let a random delivery person see me naked. I slept in the hallway. I went to my bed and called it a night without brushing. OR flossing.
Was it the most memorable night ever? No. Was it the craziest night ever? Yes.