My Attempt At St. Patrick’s Day
I’m not a party girl. Sometimes I aspire to be, but really, I’m not. Most Friday nights I would much rather stay at home, watch a movie and go to bed at a decent hour. And by decent, I mean right about midnight, I’m washing my face, brushing my teeth and putting on my jammies. Okay, who am I kidding? The jammies were on from the moment I stepped foot into the house (I live in my pajamas). Saturday nights are a little different, and I’m more likely to go out for a few drinks with friends a couple of times a month, but still, I like to be home, safe in bed, by around 2 a.m. What can I say? My most important goal in life is making sure I get eight hours of sleep! And, notice I’m only mentioning Friday and Saturday nights for partying options. Weekday partying simply is not in my blood. I have school (err, work) in the morning!
When I first started dating Chef, I felt a little insecure about how little I went out. I mean, he owns a restaurant/bar. Going out is his job. One time he said to me, at 11 p.m. on a Thursday when I was good and ready to hit the sack, “You know, people are just arriving at my bar right now. Their night is just beginning. And you are heading to bed!” After that statement, I began to, um, over exaggerate my plans a bit. He’d ask me what I was doing on a Friday night, and I’d say I was going to a friend’s house. I didn’t exactly explain that my friend lived upstairs, and really I was just stopping by (already in my pajamas) and borrowing a Diet Coke, and then heading right back downstairs to watch TV. I think he’s onto me by now though.
Don’t get me wrong, I have done some partying in my life. Particularly in high school, I spent time some time with an older crowd (my sister’s friends), and enjoyed my fair share of house parties and late nights crashing on someone’s couch. I can’t even tell you how many nights ended with me being far too drunk for a 16-year-old, falling asleep at a friend’s house listening to The Matrix play over, and over and … God. I hate that movie.
After I met my ex fiancé, all my crazy times (if you can even call them that) ended. Sure, there was a party here or there for New Year’s or my 21st birthday, but I never really got into the late night scene. I went to college, but I didn’t really go to college. I lived off campus, so my college experience included going to class, not really talking to anyone, heading to work after class and then spending all my free time with my ex. Needless to say, there were no keg parties or tailgating before a football game for me. It didn’t really bother me at the time, but now I feel like I missed out.
Part of me wants to make up for lost time, but I’m not sure a 26-year-old at a frat party is very cute. But sometimes, I get this urge to go a little crazy. Act stupid. This past weekend was one of those times.
On Friday, I realized that Shamrock the Block, an outdoor Richmond celebration for St. Patrick’s Day, was Saturday. I had only attended Shamrock the Block one time, several years ago. My ex, my sister, my friend Dawn and I all went. I don’t remember exactly why, but my ex was in a terrible mood that day. He was not feeling the green sea of drunks who had taken over Shockoe Bottom. We ended up leaving early, and my sister and Dawn ending up having a really fun time. They still talk about it. I’ve always been bummed that I missed the whole thing.
This year, I decided, was going to be different for me. The same way that I reclaimed the holidays and took on Halloween (parts 1 and 2), I was going to reclaim St. Patrick’s Day. The festival was during the day, so this also gave me the opportunity to do something I had never done – get day drunk.
I found a partner in crime, my friend Megan, one of the “brunch girls” who I met through the blog (remember?). I told her that I felt the need to pay homage to St. Patrick by getting day drunk. Was she in? Oh yeah, she was.
We made plans for transportation (because clearly, drinking and driving is not cool). We took the Bottom and Back bus from Megan’s house to the festival. It’s basically a bus that transports people from various parts of Richmond to downtown and back, so they do not have to drink and drive. Sitting on the bus, feeling so much older than the crowd (even though many of them were close to our age!), we realized our first mistake. We didn’t pregame. Everyone on this bus had gotten a very early start on the day drinking. Ah, how little do I know.
Once we arrived at the festival, Megan and I stood in the ridiculously long line to purchase our beer tickets. At $5 each, we intended to buy four tickets each. But wait, they had a special for five beers for $20. Essentially, we got a beer free! Now we’re talking.
Then, we had to stand in another incredibly long line to get beer. After waiting in the line for 20 or so minutes, there was no way we were just cashing in one beer ticket. Megan and I both got two beers, and proceeded to hastily drink one so we didn’t have to carry them both.
Once it was time to head to the beer line again, as impossible as it seemed, it was even longer. Now, we each had three tickets in our pockets for beer. We could get two beers again … but then, we’d have to stand in the line again for our last beer. That’s crazy talk! The only logical answer was to get three beers each this time around.
We exchanged our tickets for three beers and proceeded to drink them rapidly. Then, we walked around the festival and began to work on our outfits. You see, somewhere between three and five beers in, I realized that my green scarf and purse was not nearly enough garb to truly recognize St. Patrick’s Day. Megan and I proceeded to purchase tiaras and lays, and I proudly displayed my “Official Leprechaun” status with a sticker on my jacket. We met up with a few friends, then made a quick trip to the porta-potty (joy). When we came back, my friend exclaimed, “Catherine! What the hell?! Every time I see you, you have something new on you!” it was a lot of fun to get into the spirit.
The festival ended, and it occurred to me that I hadn’t eaten anything but a bowl of cereal that day. Um, maybe that’s why the beer went straight to my head. We went out to a Thai restaurant for dinner with a few friends, where Megan and I shared a bottle of wine.
As you can imagine, this is where the story goes a little downhill. It’s all fun and games until Catherine has five beers and a half a bottle of wine. First, right at the end of dinner, I developed a terrible case of the hiccups. I was like the Hiccup Girl that was on the Today Show a few years back. (You know, the girl who hiccupped for weeks on end and couldn’t stop. Interestingly, she was charged with murder last year!). The hiccups would not stop. No matter what I did, hiccup. Not cute. Especially because the next phase of the night was supposed to include flirting.
Megan, my hiccups and I headed to a local Irish pub. Once there, we prodded other (similarly drunken Shamrock the Block goers) for cures for the hiccups. After several tries, one guy we met had me lay down on a table and poured almost an entire beer down my throat. A messy cure it was, but suddenly, the hiccups were gone. I was free.
But then … I got sleepy. Day drinking is hard work. Having the hiccups for an hour is hard work. Keeping my green tiara safely affixed to my head is hard work. I was spent.
I broke the news to Megan. At just 9 p.m., I was done. I was so drunk and tired that I did not even want to attempt social interaction anymore. We could go back out later, I told her, but could we just go back to her house and take a nap? Famous last words.
We took a taxi to Megan’s house (my first time in a Richmond taxi!) and made friends with our driver. We went to her apartment, and I got good and comfortable on the couch. I was just going to close my eyes for a moment. I mean, it was only 9:30 p.m.! There was still plenty of night left! A power nap was all I needed. It was our St. Patrick’s Day celebration after all!
I awoke to an old episode of Sex and The City on the TV. Miranda and Steve had just gotten together. He hadn’t even cheated yet. I looked around, lost. Where the hell was I? After wiping the sleep from my eyes, I sat up and saw my Blackberry on the coffee table, with the red light blinking urgently. I picked it up.
Jesus. It was 4:30 a.m. I had slept six hours (Daylight Savings). Oh, and never mind that Chef was supposed to come to my house after he got off work at 2 – and had been trying to reach me. But where was Megan?
I found Megan sound asleep in her room, and her boyfriend was there too. When did he arrive? Please, God, I hope I wasn’t drooling or snoring obnoxiously when he got there. I mean, I was probably deep in some REM sleep. I left Megan’s house like a dog with its tail between its legs. What a lightweight!
Let’s just say, I had a hell of a hangover the next day. My preconception that the hangover would be less, considering I was day drunk not night drunk, was dead wrong. It was Monday night before I finally felt like myself.
So today is actually St. Patrick’s Day. I thought that some of you out there thinking about painting the town green could learn some lessons from my story. Including:
- You must plan for day drinking. It is not for the inexperienced or faint of heart.
- Alternate water with beer. Seriously, water is an important part of going the distance.
- Wine and beer don’t mix. And just because the wine is cheap does not mean you have to drink half a bottle.
- Thai food and drinking is not a good combination. I can’t explain why, just trust me on this one.
- Set an alarm if you plan on just taking a nap. Time flies when you are crashed on a friend’s couch.
- If you go have plans with someone for later that night, keep them updated on your status. Because, if you are dating someone and don’t call them until 4 a.m., they will think you are shady. Ask Chef.
- Don’t be a lightweight the first time you hang out with a new friend. Sorry Megan!
- St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are for real party girls. That’s just not me. Know your limitations.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! Wear some green, pinch someone and if you go out, pace yourself. Let me be your cautionary tale. Oh, and be sure to follow the St. Patrick’s Day etiquette.
Now the real question … should I go out and try again tonight?