When I get the drink in me, I attack. There are holes in my memory from Sunday night, but from what I can string together from photographic evidence, eyewitness accounts and my own glimmers of recollection, I spent the entirety of the evening fluttering around the room, treating my guests like creatures in a petting zoo, stroking faces, pushing back hair, grabbing body parts, squeezing hands, and generally looking for the next victim to throw myself on.
My friend Jason tells lit like this: You would show up in a whirlwind, kiss someone, say something somewhat nonsensical to those around you, and then fly away to the next conversation. Well done!
Let me back up a bit and state for the record, and for my future chances of running for public office (ha!) that I do not get drunk very often. A little loosened up from a mojito, sure, a little extra fattened by those stupidly expensive and irresistible micro brews that this stupidly expensive and irresistible city fauns over, who doesn't. But drunk? Rarely. This is a very fortuitous thing for my friends because if it happened with any kind of frequency, I would have long ago destroyed them all. They would have suffocated beneath the physical and emotional crush of my adoration and my pressing need to let them know- right now! at this moment!! wait, for realz!- just how uh-mazing they are, how ravishing they look, how very much in awe I am of their accomplishments!
I'm making fun of myself right now. My friends really are tops, and I really do adore them. But I'm not sure they need me sneak-attacking their cleavage with a motorboat to understand this. Or holding their face in my hands to physically manipulate our eye contact. Or just lunging at them from across the table. Still, I do what I have to do to get the point across.
One moment I remember with clarity: squeezing some girl's face, leaning in, and telling her very sincerely: "It means SO much that you came tonight." And she, tolerating, agreeable, but honest, looked me right back in the eyes and said, "But you have no idea who I am."
"Right! I said, undeterred. "I do not know you! That's what makes it so meaningful!"
My 26th birthday was held at a back alley bar in Ballard, one with rich lighting, cathedral ceilings, chandeliers and boissons with names like La Muse, du Bonne du Bonnet, and La Rive Gauche. I'm thinking the place may have been french. To rent out this bar for a private affair costs 2,000 dollars a night. Instead, I showed up a few days before around closing time, leaned across the bar and told the gentleman I was thinking of having my birthday party there. On a Sunday night. "How many people?" He asked.
"Oh..." I spun a length of hair around my finger. "Not sure, you know, anywhere between 8 and, oh, 20?"
He slid a little glass of brandy across the bar to me, and assured me that sounded doable.
So even though I didn't reserve, call ahead, or do anything that would have possibly landed me with a triple figure bill at the end of the night, they went ahead and laid little 'reserved' cards on most of the tables. I showed up just after 8pm, with only five all-stars in attendance, and wondered if there would be enough people to fill all those tables. Then I sat down, threw back a Bees Knees and a French 76 and when I looked up again, there was a balloon on my chair, fancy little boxes of chocolate in front of me, colored tissue paper all over the table, I was grasping a bouquet of flowers I refused to set down, and the whole place was full.
Every table! We had the entire restaurant to ourselves. Anyone in Seattle, I can't recommend Bastille & Back bar enough.
From our tally we performed the next day in the car, as my friends sent me in a tailspin around the city, well over 50 people showed up to celebrate. That tally included: (at least one) professional ski bum, one brain surgeon, eleven graduate students, three friends from my Vermont high school not counting my sister, one sister, one brother in law, one cousin, eight ultimate players, one mountain guide and his dynamite girlfriend, six Whidbey friends, the best of the climbing gym, the taco Tuesday crowd and the Wednesday yoga-ers, one incredibly handsome wood worker, one superbly witty Olympic torch runner and one rad bike mechanic, the mushroom hunters, one photographer, one cinematographer, one planned parenthood doctor, one professional skier, one teacher from high school (my teacher from my high school), one long lost best friend from undergrad, two kayaking buddies, one Indonesian sailor, and about five people I'd never met but nevertheless it was just so important that they were there! (!!!!!)
And, I attacked all of them:
At some point, late in the evening, somebody, (and I honestly forget who) set her coat on the back of a chair and asked me how the party was going. I (embracing her) responded, "This party is like a constellation of colorful birds!" This was about five rosemary lemonades into the night. I like that my drunk alter ego is a lover not a hater (or a screamer, a moper, fighter, a recluse, I've seen all of these, I've dated some of these, yikes!) Where there's wine there's truth, and apparently my most honest self is loving and grateful and knows no physical boundaries whatsoever. But still. If I'm grabbing your butt and throwing off phrases such as constellation of colorful birds, you're welcome to clock me in the face. Just don't be surprised if I jump back up, bite you playfully on your shoulder and tell you that you, firecracker that you are- you are my absolute favorite!
Shh. Don't tell the others.
When we cleared out at midnight and someone guided me gently in the direction of a car, I was sure that was it. An incredible evening and so many people to thank over the next few weeks (in fact, I woke up at 6am, clear as a bell, and declared out loud, "I can't wait to write thank you notes!!" before falling back into a terrifically drunk sleep). Ah, but it wasn't the end. Not at all. Before going home, Steph handed me a folded map of Seattle with all the neighborhoods written out and this message:
Be at the GardenHouse at 11:30 for your first clue.
I'm not sure what I did in a former life to deserve this but damn, it must have been good.