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Archive for the ‘Mayhem’ Category

You know, when wedding planning, it’s not uncommon to run into some “problems,” especially if you’re having a destination wedding. For 20 months we’ve been saving scrill to throw this party and we’ve saved QUITE a decent amount while on somewhat pathetic salaries. Living in Boston and saving for our overseas nuptials hasn’t been easy–but it hasn’t been impossible either. So it’s kind of funny that our woes are really not money-related, they are Dutch related. And volcano ash related.  Twelve guests are family, out of the approximately 30-some people coming to our lovely Euro nuptials. That means the majority of people flying over the pond are friends. Not just any friends, the type of “I’ll take a bullet in the ass for you” friends that are hard to come by. The kind that pee on you and molest your man and the kind that take 12 hour round trip bus rides from Philly to spend 36 hours to see you in your dress in the first stages of its raw, before-silk version. Here’s to hoping Eyjafjallajokull’s big brother doesn’t decide to up-one his kid brother and cause a blackout throughout Europe this summer.

Friendly French
Whew. People give the French a bad rap. In fact, I think the whole snobbery cliche persona is simply for people who deserve to get snubbed wherever they go, not just while perusing France and not just by the French. All of the French natives we’ve worked with while getting this wedding together have been nothing but cordial and accommodating. And then we met our Dutchman. We met on a May afternoon with the sun high in the sky and sweat beaded on our foreheads. We sat under terrace awnings and drank some cool Rosé and snacked on some foie gras and lobster–our dinner tasting. Food? Amazing. Ambiance? Enchanting. Dutch dude? Interesting.

This guy is so “laid back” and easy going and yet, with two months to go, he has erupted into a volcano–rivaling the Icelandic troublemaker responsible for so many people’s travel woes–coming up with ridiculous demands that were never discussed before. Like forcing people to stay at his hotel since he’s assuming we will blast our tunes so that Monte Carlo will pause and look upward in annoyance toward our cliff-side restaurant. Long story short? He was trying to milk whatever he could out of us and we tried to accommodate, until we realized he was just being an ass. As such, we decided there was no need for us to be bent over–so we switched positions. We’re in our twenties, yes. We’re paying for this ourselves, yes. We’re American, yes. So? That does not mean we are push overs. He’s now fully aware that while we’re excited for the wedding, we’re not going to deal with this kind of insolence when we’ve kept our side of the bargain. And lest he forget, there will be a number of 6ft+/200+ pounder dudes who will show up to his fine establishment whether he likes it or not. Whether they decide to come with the friendly demeanor that Americans are sometimes known for, is purely up to him.

Luscious Loubs
On to happier things…so I bought my egregiously expensive Loubs that I can’t walk well in and make me 6 ft tall. And I love them. A deep-rooted love for their sleek toe cleave that is as deep as their red soles. Having a bad day? Get yourself some toe cleave in a 4 inch heel and walk around not wearing any pants. It’s lovely hahahaha.

Oh Iceland, please cease and desist your bitchy ways and please, big brother of the tempestuous little volcano, which is causing all this commotion in the air–please do not decide to erupt when everyone is trying to head over!

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I awoke that Sunday morning, naked, laying next to Coco, who was face down and still wearing her dress from the night before. I put on a bathrobe and noticed the bathroom and hallway mats crumbled beneath the bed. How did those get there? No matter, I laid back down and Coco sheepishly looked over.

“We did good huh?” she said, realizing that she’d returned back to my place.

“Yea, I think we did,” I replied. We smiled and high-fived each other, laughing heartily. We faintly heard Jake bitterly telling us to “shut it!” and we quickly heard the pitter-patter of feet rushing over and in burst Dallas.

“Hold up before you high-five–neither of you have ANY idea what happened last night, do you??”

I should have known that waking up completely nude was never a good sign…

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Post dress shopping, we met up with Jake and Rog for some dinner, themselves nurturing a fledgling “bromance.” We were already eating when Dallas arrived, so she stood in line to order her dish. While in line, she managed to have a verbal exchange with another patron, albeit brief, nonetheless a decent display of effortless flirtation. “She’s good,” said Coco, as she eyed Dallas’ technique.

From then on, we all got ready, steadily sipping and enjoying ourselves. We headed out. We ended up at the Ames Hotel on State Street. A hotel employee noticed us looking over the interesting hallways and took us on a personal tour of the place. “If you don’t know where we are, we don’t want you here,” he remarked, emphasizing the exclusivity of the place (must not be that exclusive if we found our way there). Leather ceilings, light fixtures and creepy hallways, reminiscent of a “REDRUM” moment in the “The Shining,” made a perfect backdrop to our Saturday night. When we returned, the party was already well-underway. The sleek, modern and white decor was a unique and different backdrop than what you’d normally expect to find in Boston.

Coco eyed a stocky specimen with more hair on his chest than any of us had on our heads. He was surrounded by plastic women of an older vintage–those women gave our group the evil eye throughout the evening. Eh. And just like that, Coco decided it was a no-go.

We were all smashed–even Zoe, who usually kept it together.

“Don’t let me go home with ‘Sam Adams’ over there,” whispered Coco to me, referencing the bartender who poured Jake an old fashioned.

“Geezus, Coco–NO–that will not happen,” I assured her.

Thankfully, Coco, Scarlett and Dallas set out back to my place–without me. I remained with Jake, Zoe and Rog and one of their friends, smoking outside the hotel and began the process of walking home.

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“So this is why the high-fives should stop this instant!” started Dallas. “You two have absolutely no idea what happened last night, do you?”

Dallas explained that once home, Coco decided to kick Jake out of the tempra-pedic bed and help herself to it. Jake, eager to pass out, set up the air mattress in the kitchen and hoped that would be the end of it.

Jake noticed Coco had returned, standing over him in the kitchen.

“I have to pee,” Coco told Jake.

“So go pee,” Jake replied.

“I can’t…”

Jake, who couldn’t understand why Coco wouldn’t just pee in the bathroom, soon realized what was holding up the show–Reese. She was crumbled on the bathroom floor, wrapped up in the bed comforter, having made a makeshift bed in the bathroom.

“Reese–get up–Coco needs to pee and why are you sleeping on the bathroom floor?”

“What? I’m fine, I’m trying to get some sleep.”

That’s it! Jake began peeling the calm, almost serene Reese off the floor and into the bedroom. He felt a strange massaging motion on his ass–“Coco??”

Coco, laughing, was rubbing Jake’s ass as he peeled Reese off the floor. She scampered off and Jake forgot about the molestation and returned to dealing with his crumbled fiance.

Meanwhile, Dallas and Scarlett awoke to a stark crazy Coco who was drunkenly laughing hysterically and standing right in front of them.

At first, Dallas thought she was having a “REDRUM” moment of her own, but when she fully awoke, she realized it was Coco standing before her and asked, “Wait, are you peeing??”

“YES!” shouted a smiling Coco, fully dressed as she relieved herself, hands akimbo, while standing next to the Christmas tree.

Scarlett and Dallas instinctively pulled their bags out of harm’s way. Scarlett noticed her foot touching the sewage creeping up toward her, “It’s ok, urine is sterile…” she repeated over and over again.

Jake, about to loose it, rushed out of the apartment and began punching the hallway walls to relieve his pent-up rage. He and his swollen, bleeding knuckles, knocked gently on the door and Dallas let him in.

“I’m sorry,” he said especially to Dallas, who was new to the crew. “They’re not usually this crazy.” He rushed over to the kitchen and grabbed paper towels and cleaning supplies and they cleaned up the mess.

As they sopped up the mess, Coco decided it’d be a good idea to remove her tights, post-pee. She pulled her dress up over her head and removed her tights, now fully nude, and traversed the apartment. She somehow managed to rinse out her tights and crawled into bed. Reese was later dragged onto the bed next to her and must have woken up in the middle of the night to strip and continued napping.

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After this revelation, Coco and I looked at each other and laughed, apologizing and realizing we were starving. We headed to Joe’s American Grill on Commerical Street for Brunch, where Zoe and Rog were brought up to speed. We ordered our drinks and waited for our food, “High five,” toasted Coco as she turned to me. Wearing Jake’s sweatpants and a stained sweatshirt, I went in for it–high five!!

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“She’s going to have to leave if she doesn’t calm it down,” said the bartender sternly to Jake.

I’m 26 and engaged, so nights like this shouldn’t still be happening–you know, those liquid dinners accompanied by outpouring of deep secrets and revelations due to an obscene amount of Ketel One martinis and Gimlets. However, it was a couple of days before New Year’s and I was feeling “festive.” I went out to Ditka’s in Chicago on Chestnut Street with my three brothers and one of their girlfriends and Jake. We made our way to the upstairs dining room and were greeted by tables full of bustling people, Sinatra and Elvis tunes in the background. We sat down, excited and breathing in deep the aromas of BBQ sauce and fresh seafood. I felt a bit nauseous–my loss of taste and smell was definitely on the rebound and some days feel like I can smell the slightest tinge of aroma.

I immediately knew what I was going to order–oysters and the baby back ribs. With the ocean no where to be seen, the oysters were just as fresh as they’d be in some harbor-side joint in Boston. The calamari was light and fluffy AND they had a small list on their wine menu specifically for $20 bottles of wine. Happiness.

My brother Johnny was excited I was getting to know his girlfriend, Mae, whom up until that point, I had had little contact. I can be a tad intimidating so I think she was relieved to see that I was ordering some wine off the menu, “Want to split a bottle?” I asked her. She heartily agreed and we all ordered our entrees. The ribs were amazingly tender and the BBQ sauce was just the right amount of sweet with a kick. The other popular item ordered was the Fridge Burger–and it lives up to its name. Packed full of cow and all the fixings, the sauce they ladled over this decadent burger separates it from the norm.

We ate and bellowed with laughter when we all realized that the Sinatra and Elvis tunes we had enjoyed were emanating from one guy with a microphone and a guitar. Simply amazing (we were all wondering why people kept clapping at the end of each song as we thought it was a recording–we simply chalked it up to a bunch of drunken Chicagoans, which wouldn’t be completely hard to believe).

We ended the meal by sharing one ginormous slice of decadent chocolate cake, with all 6 of us digging into it. The boys patted their stomachs and thought we’d all be on our ways home…or so they thought.

“Let’s go to Luxbar or Jilly’s or something!” I shouted as I raced out of the restaurant. Having given away “tastes” of my ribs to my brothers and taking some of it home, I hadn’t really eaten much to supplement the wine. At Jilly’s, Mae and I ordered drinks–myself “upgrading” to a Ketel One dirty martini, “Let’s get this pahty started.” There Mae and I discussed Johnny and herself a bit–I didn’t know much so I was interested to hear more about her family and where she came from. I learned her stiff ass Irish grandmother held a muted disdain for her Italian daugher-in-law–with tensions remaining two decades after the nuptials. “How horrible!” and I continued to sip.

Meanwhile Jake and my three brothers were more than annoyed, having wanting to go home after a satisfying meal.

“Uh, we’re having a conversation here…chillax, it’s a pahty.” I told them.

From there we moved on to Kelly’s in Lincoln Park, where I switched to Gimlets. We continued with the tom foolery, enjoying ourselves and Johnny even starting to down a few. Jake sat next to me, watching me, most likely dreading what awaited him at the end of the night (I’d “pahtied” like this before). He began a steady momentum of drinking himself.

Well…I blacked out after Gimlet number two. I was later told that Mae, also hammered, started feeding me rum and cokes (which I don’t drink but apparently became my new favorite drink at that moment) and we partook in rounds of shots. A friend of Johnny’s was visiting from out of town and apparently told me some sentimental story, himself getting choked up at the fact that I was happily engaged. Touched, I put my arm around him and we continued to chat. I later learned that Jake was ready to kill the dude and my younger brother alerted me to the fact that, “You know that douche is in love with you right?” Smooth.

Channeling my neurotic and loopy aunt Wilma (for some odd reason as I haven’t seen or talked to her in years now), I started to yell, “I am Willmaaaaa!” In a ferocious rage…and it was then that we all headed back to Johnny and Mae’s.

As you can imagine, I did a number to their bathroom. I’m not one to vomit readily so that was an epic moment in itself. Hurling insults at Johnny and Jake, they peeled me off the bathroom floor and brought me home–to my parent’s house.

“Does she do this a lot–if so, I’m going to kick her ass,” mumbled my father as I stumbled into the house, my anger toward the men in my life still vibrant.

“No, this happens like once a year if that,” assured Jake. He paused for a moment, reflecting on the fact that most other guys probably don’t have to deal with this display of debauchery even on an annual basis. He hauled me upstairs and laid me on the bed.

I awoke the next morning, naked, face down, with my contacts still in and full make-up done up.

“Uh oh…”

My sisters, much younger than myself, marched in and reminded me I was taking them out that afternoon.

“Well maybe now you’ll lay off the sauce,” said the younger 12 year old.

We went ice skating for two and a half hours at Wrigley Field’s ice rink, the bitter cold being the only thing to slap the hangover out of me.

“You realize now why boozing is bad, right? I mean, just take a good look at me and remember this face,” I told them.

“Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!” they shrieked.

Jake smiled and shook his head at me. My family is more in love with him than ever I think hahahaha

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Amid a deadline at work, I have the need to write about something other than work-related news items. If you’d asked me a few years ago that I’d be writing for a living, I’d have smiled and hoped you were right. I’ve changed the course of my career and am happy–for now. My first job out of college was for a Fortune 100 company, financial. A maze of cubicles and florescent lighting, I likened my daily routine to that of the movie, Office Space. I joined in September and by December, the office emails explaining details about office potlucks and holiday-themed field trips flooded my mailbox. I was horrified–was this it for me? Well, I supplemented my mundane daily routine with long weekends of alcoholic semi-binge sessions (a nicer term for being a “social alcoholic,” as my mother labeled me), often accompanied by Rachel and Susie, my Chicago cohorts. As I hear of people’s corporate Christmas parties, I recall that very first corporate party I attended and how I did everything you aren’t supposed to do at your first grown up job.

The work day ended early, our manager summoning us to the nearby athletic club downtown to join in drinks and food. I’d just started that September, reluctant to make friends, certain I wouldn’t stay there long. However, today was no day to be anti-social. The day still shining through the windows, I felt it was strange that carts of top shelf alcohol was being wheeled around, my co-workers helping themselves to generous servings of hard liquor. I was just getting used to post-college life and daytime drinking was usually a no-no.

Some co-workers ordered some lemon drops and ushered me over to the bar. I got carded. Everyone roared in laughter and for whatever reason, I felt at ease and that I could absolutely drink any of these pansies under the table. Drink after drink and making fast friends, we all decided to go to a bar. A girl from a different department at the firm–I had no idea who she was before then and I had no idea who she was afterward–and I bounced from the party and got in a cab. I thought we were going to another bar but ended up back at her lakefront apartment. I should have just called it a night right then, but that would make too much sense. She changed into a scandalous outfit (weren’t we still meeting up with mostly male co-workers??) and shuttled back to the bar. We arrived and she bounced in and disappeared, myself being greeted by the saucy dudes and given a drink. For whatever reason (maybe the scared look on my face or glassy-eyed expression), the bartender eyed me and asked for my ID. We all laughed and I fumbled for my wallet…OMG it’s missing!!

A normal reaction would have been to freak out internally and try to trace my footsteps. Instead, saucy me got wide-eyed and darted out of the bar–and then darted back in.

“I’m sorry, but if you don’t have an ID, you’re going to have to leave,” said the bartender.

All of a sudden the table of guys started pumping their fists on the table, “She stays!!”

“She goes or I’m calling the cops. No minors.”

I was 22.

Then things got loud…drunken testosterone decided it’d be chivalrous of them to berate the bartender and threaten to drink directly from the taps as payback. Meanwhile, all the noise–and the fact that I’d lost my wallet–left me feeling…vulnerable. Out of no where, my usual stoic self began to cry quietly. The guy who hired me, a thirty-something, came over and cradled me, caressing my head (to be fair, I don’t think he was exactly sober) and telling me it was “going to be alright.” Then the sirens came. All of a sudden a table was knocked over, everyone running, chairs scattered and I was snatched up by Justin, a preppy/burly co-worker, and carried out of the bar.

“It’s the poh-poh!”

I have to assume this drastic reaction was due to the alcohol–or was I working with a bunch of psychos?? My co-worker placed me down in front of our building. It was just us now and I was horrified and embarrassed at the whole thing. For whatever reason (even though I’d been carded at the athletic club and hadn’t returned to the office since before then), I agreed when Justin suggested he accompany me upstairs in search of it. He was quite tall and good looking enough (why I felt the need to confirm this with my single-self, I can’t rationalize), so I thought, sure. It’s a good thing I’d given his aesthetics the “OK” because we got in the elevator and he proceeded to makeout with me until we hit the sixth floor. The doors opened and I scampered out, swiped my card and surprise! No wallet.

I looked out my work window and could see the two police squads leaving the bar across the street. Guess I can’t walk in front of that place ever again, I thought. Of course I couldn’t find my wallet and Justin asked if I’d bothered to eat anything. I realized I hadn’t eaten since breakfast so he suggested sushi. And just like that, I was on a date.

We went to the sushi place and I stuffed myself full of dumplings and sashimi. He seemed amused and it almost seemed normal, except for the fact that I was still wasted (although he thought I had sobered up by this point). I drunkenly lamented about my lethargic sense of being, my hate of cubicles in general and my penchant for whiskey. He even gave me a ride home and I was like, “Peace out, see you tomorrow.”

I woke up the next morning (this is why it’s bad to have work parties in the middle of the week) and shuffled into work. When I arrived I was swarmed by the females. “OMG the police came and everyone left because you didn’t have ID?! Didn’t you leave with Justin?? What happened??” Apparently, aside from the skanky chick co-worker with the fabulous lakefront digs, there were no other ladies at the bar that night. I looked super classy.

Hungover and red-faced, I just smiled and was like, “Nah, nothing happened. Justin just raped my face and then took me out for sushi.” Realizing what I’d just said and that it was too late, I knew I had royally f*&%ed myself from there on out. A normal person would have sauntered over to Justin’s cube and been like, “Thanks for the grub, I was totally sloshed.” But instead, I proceeded to tuck and roll between cubes whenever I went near there and avoided him like the plague. I literally pretended like nothing ever happened. I never cried, the cops were never called and I did not engage in an unsolicited face-rape in the company elevator. I stayed there until November the following year under these pretenses. It was my goal that I would not stay at the firm long enough to see another Christmas party–and I did manage to leave right before the next one. Score!

You might wonder how I was able to live that down. Luckily, I was so good at pretending like it was all good and “who cares?” that no one bothered to mention it. I felt bad later on that I had ignored Justin like that–but then again that’s how I always dealt with weird situations–just pretend they never happened (and hello, I was crying while being caressed by my director, the cops looking to arrest me for underage drinking and my co-workers for stealing beer–and it was simply a total face rape). Of course another reason why everyone let it lie was due to the fact there were a plethora of work boundaries that were inappropriately crossed and everyone preferred to keep it to themselves.

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The ladies came together and bedlam ensued. The scenery changes, but the revelry remains a constant in the lives of all of them. Two ladies touched down in a newly-chilled Boston, anxious to begin some seriously overdue face-time with their east coast counterparts. The cobble-stoned streets of the North End, lit up with holiday anticipation, fueled the overall excitement of the reunion as the thought of alcohol coating their throats quickened their steps.

I screamed out to the cyber world via Facebook to no one in particular that my cronies were coming–and quickly noticed that one of them answered with the phrase that became the slogan of the weekend: “Get drunk, get naked and be somebody!” A well-weathered and straight-up inappropriate “mentor” of Coco’s had inadvertently christened the weekend and we were happy to try and live up to that standard.

There were four of us at the first bar, with Alexis leaving to tend to her comparably grown-up home-life situation, but expecting to rejoin us later that weekend. Meanwhile, Zoe, Coco and myself met up with some other college friends while bouncing around the North End, dropping in and out of bars, wondering if they’d been there years before. Coco smiled while at Bricco, where she recalled a tryst with an off-the-boat Italian pizza-maker whom she fancied for an evening while in college. We kept drinking…

We rushed over to a dive bar over on Commercial Street, the ocean-effect snow stinging our cheeks and chipping away at our buzzes. There we continued our party, talking faster and remembering less of what was being said. We left with one less of us, Coco having drunkenly decided to pass out face-down a few blocks away from us with a Masshole of Irish descent, who warned her of his people’s affliction of having ‘small members.’ She awoke the next morning to find that her original portrait of him had been greatly affected by an overload of booze and a lack of dinner. We realized that the weekend was only beginning.

Coco cursed me as she crept up the five flights of stairs the next morning, “Five flights of stairs–really, Reese??” She promptly passed out face down on the pull out sofa bed until she was peeled off and shipped downstairs for some retail extravagance with Alexis and Zoe.

After work (yes I made it to work that day), I joined them at Copley Mall, losing interest in our shopping tasks quickly and wondering where my first drink was coming from. We snacked and drank up at Haru, with Susie from the night before stopping in and chatting it up. We enjoyed our happy hour appetizers, the salmon avocado roll being fresh and the warm sake satisfyingly numbing. We were awaiting the arrival of Scarlett from her laborious bus trip from Philadelphia. The bar was dark, drafty and lulled me into a state of lethargic impatience. The scene didn’t seem to fit the crowd and after lingering a bit longer, we set out back to the North End to regroup and “go all out” for Coco’s post-birthday fete in Beantown.

Now, it’s not often a new presence is introduced into this group’s dynamic. The girls in town this weekend all happened to be bridesmaids, with bonds running deep, crooked and often half-remembered. Dallas was forewarned but also reassured that she would “love them,” and I knew they’d love her too. She met up with us back in the North End as we gussied up and continued to drink our liquid courage to face the bitter cold outside. Zoe joined us in the midst of our whoring up, having checked into a hotel earlier that evening, expecting her man to meet us all out later that night. Meanwhile, my man, having rewarded himself after a stressful week of work with a $10 bottle of whiskey, downed it with a vigor I was all too familiar with–he wouldn’t last long tonight.

We all joined together and headed out toward Alibi in The Liberty Hotel. While I’ve been to places with onslaughts of vagrant douchery, this place served as no exception. Glassy-eyed metros eye humped the tits and asses of the ladies that funneled in. After downing a round of tequila shots (of which, I’m not a fan of, yet always seem to succumb to), the room got smaller and someone farted. We bolted to airier spaces.

I glanced over to my man, leaning against the wall for support, a half-sided grin across his face. Aw, my preppy lover had had his fill for the evening, and let me know he was calling it a night. I walked out with him to ensure he got into a cab, but when I was told I couldn’t have my drink outside and they’d have to take it from me, I quickly placed my concerns for my fiance aside and darted back toward the club. Of course my man scampered off, choosing to walk from the Beacon Hill/North End spot, saving the cab scrill for the following night.

Zoe’s dude showed up and the drinking continued. We shimmied over to Bond at The Langham Hotel in the Financial District. The interior was impressive, if not memorable, despite the alcohol. However, the douchery level in this place was beyond belief. All of a sudden I felt less cool. I was quickly and happily distracted by the carefree Dallas as she shook her ruffled décollage, her eyes veering toward a Brian Urlacher-like bouncer. She quickly decided against it, having heard him try to utter a intelligible sentence, and the party went on.

Coco, combing through the douchery, found herself a decent conquest and he quickly took a liking to her. They danced some kind of tequila-laced salsa and I knew she’d found a favorable bed fellow for the evening. The night came to a close and I headed toward the door, hoping to find my man in bed, myself ready to pass out.

I found myself sidelined by a douche of Kanye West-like proportions. “Hey there, I like me some vanilla–why are you alone?” Wondering where the rest of that crew went, I smiled and said I was just dandy but felt I was more of a buttercream than a vanilla. He continued, his Burberry/Hermes/Chanel knock-off scarves (yes, he was wearing all of them at the same time) and cheap aviators made me smile, except he took that to mean I was enjoying our witless exchange.

Meanwhile, knowing Jake would appreciate his efforts, Zoe’s man, Rodge, began his chivalrous attempt to deter the douche–to no avail. Not believing that myself and Rodge, more of a toffee himself, were an item, he finally relented, noticing that an unsuspecting Zoe was smiling at us, amused at the situation. Kanye mistook that for eagerness and moved in on her.

“Hmm…you realize my plan has backfired, as he is now hitting on my actual girlfriend,” sputtered Rodge. We laughed and found ourselves interrupted with yet another character handing me a business card.

“Cha?” I asked.

“Just call, I’ll see what I can do….and they always call–like you? You’ll call.”

“What? Isn’t this from vistaprint.com?” I laughed and tucked the card away, if for no other reason, but to be able to refer to it the next day when I wouldn’t believe myself. Cha, satisfied that I’d secured the card, bowed and exited…what just happened?

The weekend continued…

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Apart from the usual holiday festivities: the joining of family and friends and the over-indulging in tasty holiday delicacies–drama is usually a part of the overall experience. This Thanksgiving was no different. The underlying tension revolving around the impending nuptials abroad for one brother and his fiancé was for the moment, forgotten and instead, blanketed by the aroma of roasted turkey and simmering side dishes. I came down the stairs and noticed the absence of chatter, realizing that the crew had already begun munching. My man had so thoughtfully served me a plate–I find myself still smiling at these little acts of thoughtfulness, often wondering why they resonate so well with me.

The meal went on and chatter started up again. Creamy cheese-covered broccoli and buttery, silky mashed squash had a new taste this year. I recalled the previous Thanksgiving where the same dishes offered no satisfaction. I had already forgotten, as I stuffed my face, about how just one year earlier I didn’t realize the turkey had finished roasting or that there were pots simmering because I couldn’t smell a thing. The concussion I suffered the July before last Thanksgiving rendered me impaired. Instead of dropping an obscene amount of weight, I simply gorged more (and I’ve read in some places this has to do with the fact that the brain doesn’t compute that you’ve had enough deliciousness for one sitting and therefore are full–because there is nothing delicious about the mechanical action of shoving food in your mouth without the right nerves in your brain working!). Instead of only being able to distinguish sweet from sour, salt and spice, I was able to taste the walnuts in the cranberry sauce and the buttery nuttiness of the mashed root veggies I was enjoying. Just one year earlier, only white wine tasted somewhat palatable, with red wine having the same effect as a cup of coffee or a glass of flat soda–well, with the added value of total inebriation if I drank enough of it and the off-chance that I’d forget my current tasteless plight of an existence (it was a big deal).

The night progressed, ending at a neighborhood dive bar where cans of Pabst were $2 each and the proprietor of the fine establishment donned nothing more than a dingy white undershirt and a penchant for calculating tabs in his head–to the detriment of his intoxicated patrons. After downing one too many, the liquid courage of one sibling announced that no one wanted to go abroad for the nuptials. A bit taken by surprise, the thoughtful husband-to-be and his lethargic lady were more surprised by the choice of venue to make the announcement rather than the actual statement. Words flew, we listened, bantered light-heartedly…and then I left, at first just annoyed, followed by extreme pangs of anger, resulting in a rage-induced, sobbing cell-phone rant to my brother from the top of my lungs as I combed through the jet black roads in this now suddenly hostile Maine backdrop. Such sentiments would have been appreciated 18 months earlier (not that we would have changed any of it).

With encouragement from my brother to “not give them the satisfaction” of knowing how upset I was, I slapped myself a few times, ran in place, thought of the eye of the tiger, and marched over to the backdoor, where I preceded to creep in with the hopes of not running into anyone. Of course fast-forward to sobbing in the mother-in-law’s embrace and then bolting when I realized the crew had returned, having themselves been kicked out of the bar and calls to the police threatened. In mid sentence I darted off yelling that I had to “hide!!” And immersed my face in a sink full of ice cold water. I sauntered over to the stairs, feeling like I’d been beat up and had too much to drink (after only having had half a beer an hour earlier, I was wondering what happened to the rest of it. Was it still on the table at the bar or had it been flung at someone after, of course, being finished off first so as not to waste anything…)

I tried to sneak upstairs but was intercepted mid stair-climb. My man took one look at me and his glazed over expression of defeat transitioned into a moment of epiphany. Realizing I was full of shit and was most certainly bothered by the night’s events (I had previously assured him on the phone that I was fine and just tired), he marched over to the kitchen and bellowed to the family to meet him in the living room. I sat at the top of the stairs cuddled up with the family dog, both of us thankful to have one another to lean on as it was quite drafty up there. This usually respectful guy got his point across, most likely getting the desired effect due to the sheer volume of his voice and use of occasional profanity, and the parental units were more than cool about the situation, taking it upon themselves to speak for the family in that “from today onward, you won’t have any [passive aggressive emails, hints, or complaints] negativity from the family.” The ordeal was rounded off by an awkward but maybe even sincere group hug and we scattered.

It was strange since we went to bed, my man and I, feeling better about everything. We knew it was just a matter of time before things blew up–we just didn’t realize it would blow up that huge. That was probably the first time they seemed like family to me–although I’m sure I could have had that same feeling without the blowout…but maybe not.

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