By 11:30pm on Saturday, I’d already lost my keys, drunk eaten tacos, had a misty-eyed heart-to-heart with my coworker’s lady friend, and let my phone’s battery life get into the red zone. My natural course of action at this point was to keep drinking, because if the bars are still serving, and I’m not puking yet, I don’t see it as a reason to discontinue funneling poison down my throat. An object in motion stays in motion unless an external force acts upon it, and a sorority girl on a bender stays on a bender unless an external force, like a person with a penis asks, “Do you want to get out of here?” That’s Newton’s Law.
Luckily, those words found their way to my ears at around 1:00am. The guy on the other end of them lives on a couch — excuse me, a futon — in the dining room of his fraternity brother’s one bedroom apartment. I’d made out with him once before, and like I said, I didn’t know where my keys were, so going home with him seemed like the only logical option I had at my disposal. After doing a ten-second scan of one room of the crowded bar we were in, we decided it would be impossible to find our friends, and we left without promising anyone we’d “text them as soon as we got home!” which is just as well, because no one ever sends that “I got home alive” text anyway.
I have this pesky habit of trusting that guys are fully coherent and capable when they’re drunk. I may logically know that they’ve begun their night with twelve beers, and three lines, but if they tell me they’re straight to drive, I believe them. I just surrender all logicality to them and trust that their drunken reasoning is better than mine is, because, I don’t know, they haven’t complained about their feet hurting, so they must be sort of sober. This is almost never the case, and it certainly wasn’t on Saturday.
I followed my suitor, we’ll call him Mike, out of the bar. West 6th Street in Austin is littered with cabs. They’re a little harder to get around closing time, but I have never had trouble getting home from that part of town — and it wasn’t closing time. We had an hour before the mass exodus from the bar to the cabs. I can’t see a clear picture of the scene in my head, but if it was anything like any other night, we passed by a line of yellow taxis, said “Fuck it,” and started walking toward Mike’s home. I’m tempted to say he wanted to get closer to his apartment, because the cab ride would be cheaper, but it may actually have just been pure drunken stupidity guiding our journey. It was truly a circumstance of the blacked out leading the blacked out.
Any time I started to bitch and moan, “Where are we?” “I’m tired,” “I’m hungry,” “Are we almost there?” and “I just don’t understand why you decided to take me home tonight,” in some sort of pursuit of approval and/or attention, Mike kissed me. This is a guy’s way of saying “Shut the fuck up” when he’s still hoping to get laid. (In retrospect, that was also the answer to my last question.) Needless to say, we were just making out all over town — on the street, in the grass, beside a playground, but definitely NOT at a church. I distinctly remember being pinned up against a building, realizing it was a place of worship, then being walked across the street to make out on the building there. And they say chivalry is dead.
This usually kept me distracted temporarily, and continued to alternate between pointless drunken chatter and makeouts until Mike finally realized it was 3:15 in the morning and that reassuring me that he’d get us home wasn’t going to get us home. After becoming aware of his surroundings, he made the mistake of making me aware of them.
“I’m going to try to call someone. This isn’t really the best area for you to be in.”
I appreciated him masking his fear with concern for my safety, but he’d lifted the veil from over my eyes. I suddenly noticed there was a pawn shop to my left, a discount no-name gas station to my right, bars on all the windows, and music blasting that could have easily been on the soundtrack to some cop movie from before they busted into a ratchet house party and arrested the drug dealers and murderers.
For at least 30 minutes, we called everyone we knew to come pick us up — friends, coworkers, a guy I used to hook up with, whomever we could think of. Yellowcab told us on three separate occasions they’d arrive in fifteen minutes, and they didn’t. So we began walking. I don’t know why it never occurred to either us to get directions on our phones, but we didn’t, and we walked around helplessly for another period of time. We witnessed a drug deal between two cars in an abandoned parking lot, and as they left, one pulled up in front of us blocking the street, surely to abduct us. He rolled down his window.
“Hey guys, you should know that someone was just held up at gunpoint in this area a few minutes ago, so be careful.”
Then he drove away, all “I have a car to protect me from the elements and the rapists. Nanny, nanny, boo-boo.”
Being the diva I am, I started hyperventilating. I went to a blue ribbon high school that offered 27 different AP courses, for fuck’s sake. The most dangerous person I’d ever spoken to was my own mother. This was it. I was going to die here. I felt like Cher Horowitz in the Valley. Every street was in Spanish, and “Chicon Street” seemed like the type of place that people go to die. If someone came up to us at this point, even just to ask for directions, I would have handed them my belongings, taken off my own clothes, and asked them to be considerate and spit on it first.
Mike’s protective instinct was full throttle. He told me that if a gang attempted to introduce us to our deaths, that he’d “take care of it” while I ran away. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that a semi-short white guy in short shorts and sperrys would likely be no match for three guys holding revolvers in each hand. I didn’t have the confidence to tell him that my body only looked the way it did because bondage skirts make you look skinny, and that unless the ground somehow turned into an elliptical, I wouldn’t be able to run for more than two minutes before being overcome by exhaustion. His hero plan was beyond flawed, but I appreciated the sentiment nonetheless.
Then, like he’d been sent directly by our guardian angels, came a pedi-cab driver zipping down the random street in Austin’s Harlem, nearly two miles away from where we’d begun. We flagged him down and he spoke to us hurriedly, and told us he couldn’t take us to civilization, because he was in a rush to get to a hipster convention or something. I pleaded with him, “But we’re so tiny! We’re going to die here if you don’t take us!” Note: guys love it when you say they’re tiny. The driver, even less amused than Mike, smugly told us we wouldn’t die, pointed us in the direction of downtown, and rode off into the distance. I felt like one of the poor people on the Titanic, watching first class paddle to safety in their nearly empty boats while I slowly drowned with my crying baby in freezing water.
At nearly 4:30 in the morning, we’d arrived at the outskirts of downtown. There were still no cabs in sight. With no way of getting home, we decided to stay in a hotel. Mike’s idea. I was literally ready to sleep on the street. I’d been drinking since 2pm and flirting with death for the past three hours. That’s not a good look on anyone. We walked into a Hilton, and unsurprisingly, the concierge “didn’t have any rooms available” for two young, drunk, haggard-looking people with no luggage. No half-nights at the Hilton. I was only half offended that he probably thought I was a prostitute. He told us we could try the Holiday Inn.
From the front of the hotel, we were able to get a cab, and we walked into Mike’s apartment at 5:00am, after having left the bar early to get there. I was disappointed that we weren’t going to get food for the second time in my night, but I decided not to be too pushy about it. I really believed that we’d go to sleep immediately upon getting home, but no such luck. If I’d been four hours drunker, Mike’s trek across the city might have been made worth it, but I was far too tired to perform my womanly duties and too sober to even THINK about doing them on a futon. In a dramatic “I’m not that kind of girl” display, I moved to the couch and tried to silence my feelings of embarrassment so I could finally get some sleep. Of all the bad decisions I’ve made with boys in my life, this night ranked among the worst, but I got a great shack shirt and an awesome story to tell at brunch, and that’s really all a girl can hope for on a Sunday morning anyway.
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