Breaking rocks in the hot sun

I swear it feels like it’s been December forever, but no, we’re still in the thick of it. No end in sight. Night after night, party after party; if the trend continues, by 2015 I’ll be blacking out sometime in late November and waking up with a colossal hangover around President’s Day. I fear I can’t keep it up, though. I don’t have the constitution for this madness.

It starts with company parties, those fine corporate soirées where you watch your boss hit on the eighteen year old accounting temps (“You girls wanna come see my Buick?!”) and your drunken, fat, sweating Minnesotan secretary dance herself within striking distance of a heart attack. You go to one, to two, to five… and it’s all on The Man’s dime, right, so you have an extra half-bottle of champagne. It’s Christmas! you say. Jesus would want me to drink these seven white russians. Waste not want not. That’s in the Bible.

I remember ice skating in San Jose, with Shak and his friends… when was it? A week ago? Two weeks? Fuck. I’d been up for fifty hours at that point, and was thoroughly sick and disoriented. Why the hell am I in San Jose, I remember asking. Somebody handed me a pair of skates and pointed me in the right direction… Only my superhuman equilibrium and six years of hockey in the late nineties kept me on my feet. ” I didn’t know you were such a good skater!” One of them says. “I might be half-blind and more than half-deaf, but I’ve got the inner ear of a god damn Olympic gymnast.” I say, pointing my finger right in her face. For emphasis.

She stared at me for a moment, unsure whether to laugh or nod seriously (as people who don’t know me well tend to do). “That’s great, Trevor!” She hobbled away on her skates clinging desperately to the wall.

That’s right. That is great.

I remember being in some diner… By this time there were fifteen, twenty of us, so they split us up at different tables. Orlando and Regina were in the back doing tequila shots out of coffee mugs, bless their little hearts. The clock said 11:20 AM.

Much later… some company Christmas party… I wake up on a couch buried under a pile of jackets. Stay calm. Find someone familiar; a known quantity, a point of reference. Get your bearings.

Some feathery haired weirdo is doing the tango with his skeletal Indonesian fiancée across the hardwood floor. They’re very serious about it, and the awful tango music is blaring. Two aged, presumably gay men in matching red sweaters chase a toddler down the hall. I find the bar, thank god, and make myself a warm, flat, awful gin and tonic to help assess this situation.

Valerie from Belize walks by; one of the last people I expected to run into at a party, ranked up with Kim Jong Il or Sammy Sosa. The last and only time I met her was on an island two thousand miles away, where she spent three days introducing me to every overweight island girl we met, claiming that I was “spaghetti in search of a meatball” and obsessing about someone named ” Baby Ricky Jesus”. She was doing a thousand sit-ups at a day at that point, trying to beat “Baby Ricky Jesus” in a who-has-the-better-six-pack contest. I hardly recognize her without cornrows and a bikini.

“Sweetheart, uh, where the fuck are we?”
“The NASA Christmas party!”

What the shit? Stay cool.

“Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah I know. How have you been? It’s so great to see you!”

Make smalltalk. Find somebody more helpful. Find a door. Don’t panic.

Hours pass. I’m in the suburbs of Gilroy wandering around looking for my truck. Somebody else’s blood is all over my fancy wool jacket. It’s thirty-eight degrees and way too fucking sunny for December. I find it after about an hour of canvasing the neighborhood. It’s got six poinsettias, a box of Wheat Thins, and a copy of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People in the back. Whatever. Too tired for questions.

Stay cool. Find a freeway. Make it home.

Survive, at least until the spring.



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