Thursday, November 18, 2010

2:44 PM

This Shit is Bananas

Friends,

We have an EMERGENCY! It's Wednesday afternoon and I am writing you a new post and putting my previously written and beautifully drafted post on the back-burner just so we can talk about what's going on in the world today. I read the news, I know what's up. There's a very serious epidemic going around. Do you know what I'm talking about?

I'm referring to the banning of Four Loko: the bigger, stronger, cooler, bad boy big brother of Sparks and Joose. I hope you've seen Four Loko before. Either in the hand of an obnoxiously drunk person, on the news, or as you were purchasing it at your local Kroger. If you've never had the pleasure, Four Loko comes in a giant camo-print can. The camo is either pink, purple, yellow, green, or blue depending on the flavor. Check it out:

Yuuuuuuuuuummmy! And apparently, super dangerous. Each can contains 11% alcohol by volume and enough energy to power you through a mini-marathon. All over the US, people are freaking out because college kids are drinking multiple cans of Four Loko and then passing out, going to the emergency room, or - in the worst cases - dying.

I have drank Four Loko on three occasions - each one more magical than the last - and have since stopped drinking that shit. It's not because I don't like it - I LOVE IT! In fact, I love it entirely too much. And because I know what's good for my reputation, I've stopped. I now can only have a Four Loko on special occasions. And it has to be my ONLY drink of the night. (In all seriousness, you only need one. This particular combo of caffeine and alcohol is potent.)

But apparently college kids have no clue what's good for them. NO CLUE! And because of this, they are going to cause it to be outlawed for everyone.

So, because I love this opportunity to keep up with current events (and because my shame tolerance is relatively high), I'm going to tell you a story about me and the Loko.

This Shit is Bananas

The first time I ever saw a Four Loko, I was at my friend Sharon's house. We were hanging out, getting ready for what were were hoping would be big house party when Sharon's roommate, Lisel, approached me with a Four Loko in hand. Someone had left a few camo-print cans in her beer drawer after her last party and she refused to drink the stuff. "However," she said, "I know I can count on you to drink it Abernathy. You drink anything."

Truer words have never been spoken.

While my friend, Jade, inspected the can and began raving on about how stupid it was to drink alcoholic energy drinks with this much alcohol (she's studying to be a nurse), I played a quick round of eenie meenie miney mo to choose which can I'd go for first: blue raspberry or fruit punch.

Blue raspberry won out and so it began. I will tell you all that the first sip of Four Loko was fucking disgusting. I mean, so sweet and sugary, I thought I'd lose all of my teeth. However, I'm not one to turn down a free drink, so I powered through and about halfway through the can, it didn't seem to taste so bad. That's also around the time I started to feel it's effects.

At the time this story takes place, you should know that I was working on spicing up my exercise routine. I had been using dumbells at home, but I was bored. I tried running, but I'm not a big fan of moving that fast unless someone's chasing me. I tried going to the gym, but I was always beat there by old faculty members who wanted to listen to Simon and Garfunkel while we worked out (SIMON & GARFUNKEL!!!). Finally, I settled on Carmen Electra's Strip Tease DVDs. Unfortunately, the only one the local thrift store had was installment four: The Lap Dance.

So half a Four Loko in, I decided to show my girl friends all of the moves Carmen had taught me. To help you picture the scene, I'm in the living room with 5 or 6 girls while all of our guy friends are out on the porch. Luckily, the back porch has a sliding glass door, so the boys can see everything going on inside.

I asked Sharon to put on "something slinky" (which I think ended up being Britney Spears, but that's neither her nor there), I grabbed a kitchen chair, and got to work. At first, everyone looked a bit scandalized. I mean I was standing up, lying down, straddling the chair- generally acting like a drunk with an embarrassing idea. But by the second run through, I began noticing that people seemed a bit more attentive to my antics.

This is when Jade intervened. She walked over to the chair and said, "Hey. I want to learn to do that." So I slowed the dance down and began telling her how to shake her hips. We ran through the dance a few times, but she refused to do the move that required she swing her leg over the chair back so she could straddle the chair. I didn't push: Carmen says that everyone gets comfortable in their own time.

After we got tired of that, I decided to go outside and see the boys. I would say at this point, there was maybe a quarter of my drink left. It wasn't until I walked outside that I realized they had witnessed my every move. One high-fived me, but another decided to comment on the speed of my dance, saying it was too slow and not fluid enough.

SERIOUSLY???? What guy complains about witnessing two girls shimmy around for 20 minutes? I mean, I'm not a pro at boys, but from the amount of times I've been hit on by them in the clubs, I think it's safe to say that - in general - boys love watching girls gyrate around.

So, drunk as I was, I got angry. Who was he to think he could insult me? Especially, drunk arrogant energized me? I said, "Fine, you want to see a lap dance? I'd show you one, but I don't want to tease you with one when you know you can't have me."

My friend said, "Hey baby, it's whatever. I'm not going to stop you and you might come over to my team someday."

Uligh...nastay.

Lisel spoke up before I could say anything in response. "You could give me a lap dance." Of course I could. Lisel's living room is very quickly taking on the reputation of lap dance central. I've recieved, witnessed, taught, and given lap dances in her living room. I don't know why, but her living room is where the crazy goes down. (Do you hear me Lisel? Sharon? Lap Dance Central in there.)

Driven by my need to defend my marvelous lap dancing skills, I grabbed Lisel and marched her into the living room. Jade just shook her head, "You are not going to do this." She said it like she was watching a freight train barrel towards my reputation, but she could not hit the brakes fast enough to save me.

"Oh yes she is!" Lisel bellowed. "Sharon, put on the music!" The music came on and I began to work my magic. I'll admit, I was a little too into it (it's a risk you take when you're working with the Loko) and within 4 bars of the song, Lisel was shoving me off of her lap.

As I caught my footing I heard a beeping noise, which sounded suspiciously like a camera. I turned quickly and found Jade in the corner with her digital camera in hand. "Oh no," I breathed, shaking my head. You don't have to be sober to know that drunk photos typically aren't for sharing. However, you do need to be sober to figure out how to deal with them. I opted for chugging the remainder of my drink.

Ten minutes later, Jade was no longer taking pictures: she was videotaping my rap-tacular skillz as I performed Afro Man's "Colt 45." And at this point, though I knew I didn't really want to be taped, I was too drunk to even ask her to put it away. Oddly enough, the boys were all over this. I earned mad respect once they realized that I knew- and was prepared to sing- every. single. word. It was amazing.

Soon after, the boys left and Jade passed out. Sharon approached me with the second can of Four Loko and insisted I drink it. I may have been drunk, but I was not stupid. I told her no and she suggested that we then share the can. I agreed, although I had no intention of drinking anything more than a sip.

We stayed up talking for a while and I stuck to my guns- I barely even tasted that can of Four Loko. Everyone went to sleep while Sharon and I were chatting. Then Sharon fell asleep an hour or so later. Here's where the caffeine side of Four Loko comes in; it keeps you up. I was awake with only Netflix to keep me company until 5am. At which point I realized I was sober enough to drive and dirty enough to need a shower.

Fin

Alright kids, I think we can all agree after seeing my first run-in with the Loko that it's okay to drink it if you know your limits. This is where THE COLLEGE KIDS ARE DOING IT WRONG.

Is that The Point: "Know your limits"???
I can think of at least two other points. What do you think?

Update!
The Points:
1. Thou shall know thy's limits with regard to alcohol. Seriously.
2. It pays to have the confidence to tell your friends "no" when pressured.
3. You know you picked a good friend when she promises not to post your drunk lap-dance photos all over the interweb--and then follows through on that promise. Thank you, Jade.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

3:23 PM

Oblivious Abroad

Hey,

so I came up with a new plan for the blog. I'm always thinking of new plans for this thing. My new plan is to post my stories on Thursday evenings. And when I post, no points or morals or big picture ideas will be provided. And then you can give me point ideas through the weekend. On Monday, I'll weigh in. You know, this might make this feel a bit like a discussion and that could be totally cool.

What are your thoughts? Will you play along? I know one little lady who will; my friend over at PostCollegiate! She's a sweetie and you should visit her blog to say hi.

Oblivious Abroad

When I got to Denmark, I told myself that I was on a great adventure and the only goal was to "find myself." Five girls from my college went with me to Hamlet's homeland, but I told them after week one that I didn't want to spend much time hanging out with them; if I latched onto people I was comfortable with nothing abroad would be able to force me to grow up.

I look back on this and think about how much of a badass I am. Seriously, there I was in a country where I didn't speak the language, I didn't know my way around, my parents were a nine hour flight and layover in London away, and I was pushing away the only people I knew.  Sometimes, I'm super impressed by my crazy ideas. 

Anyways, in week one, I accompanied some of the Americans in my apartment complex to this wonderful bar in the center of Copenhagen, The Scottish Pub (so creative!). 



Everyone loved this bar because they served this huge tube, which looked like a bong of beer. You paid $20 or 100kr for it and you and your friends would be able to drink for a few hours (if you were American) or 45 minutes (if you were Danish). I wish I could show you this amazing contraption, but it's not even on the pub's website!

So there I am, week one in Copenhagen, surrounded by hoardes of American kids who are just as lost in this city as I am. A boy from my crash course in dansk (Danish), decides to meet a bunch of new kids through our shared alcoholism, and purchases the beer tube, announcing that he'll share it with the first six kids to show up at his table.

Obviously, within two-point-five seconds, I'm sitting at a fully occupied table. Kids start moaning as they realize the table is full, but the six of us with seats happily push them away. We all stare around the table with giant toothy grins; we know we're about to get drunk on someone else's dime and it can't be anything but wonderful. As we start drinking, it becomes apparent that we don't know anything about each other so we begin to chit-chat: this is what program I'm in. Here are my lofty dreams for my European semester. How are all of the people here so beautiful? (And they are beautiful. Fucking gorgeous.)

About halfway through the beer tube, our conversation took a telling turn. Fun fact: at the time we were in Copenhagen, the city boasted a multilevel sex museum, Museum Erotica:

Unfortunately, it closed in summer 2009. Luckily, this story is set in late winter 2008, and for seven American kids from seven small liberal arts colleges, this museum in the middle of the shopping street was so interesting. What was in there? How much would we have to pay to go in? Is it appropriate for teens? Would we see porn if we went in?

We considered walking over to the museum (which is literally five minutes walk from the town center), but decided it wasn't worth the sacrifice of our beer. Instead, we continued to discuss the attitudes towards sex in Europe (crash course: no one cares about what you do, who you do it with, and - as long as your 16 or so - how old you are when you're doing it). One boy was talking about how his host mother told him he was welcome to have his girlfriends or boyfriends over whenever he liked. He responded by saying, "Thanks for the hospitality, but I have a girlfriend in the States...and I'm straight."

His mother just nodded, "I know, you've told me. But when you decide to have others over - girl or boy - it's okay."

I was about to snicker, when a few of the other kids at the table shouted out terms of agreement; they'd gotten the same greeting upon entering their host families' homes. One's host father had even asked him how he planned to stay in Europe for four months without sleeping with anyone if the girlfriend was all the way in America.

The only girl at the table, other than myself, spoke up. She said her host sister had explained that no one would expect any Dane at our age to commit to being with only one person. Also, they thought we were kind of young to decide we'd only ever be with this gender or that gender. In Danish terms: we were sexually oppressing ourselves.

We all took a minute a good dose of beer to think this through. Playing with her long red hair, the girl spoke up again. "I think it's kind of a neat thing, you know?"

"Yeah," this one guy said, pausing. "We should sexually liberate ourselves this semester."

"Here ye, here ye!" The boy from my Danish class shouted. We all toasted each other.

"Alright," someone shouted, "all around the table: what are you going to do to liberate yourself?"

"Visit the sex museum!"

"Cheers!" We shouted and drank.

"Go to the naked party in my kollegium (Danish dorm): no clothes, no drink!"

"Cheers!"

"Enroll in that new sexuality class that's posted on the bulletin board at school!"

"Cheers!"

"Find a gay bar and compare it to this one."

"Ch-"

"STOP!" The read head girl yelled.

"What?" We all asked.

"You." She pointed at me. Crap. The gay bar had totally been my plan for sexual liberation.

"What?" I asked, annoyed to be called out before my idea could be cheered.

"If you don't want to go alone, I'll go with you. Gay bar, gay club, just call and I'm in."

I shrugged, "Okay."

"No, seriously." She grabbed my phone off of the table and plugged in her number. "My name is Rachel."

"Okay." I shrugged again. "Thanks."

"Seriously." She said. She was looking at me really funny- her eyes wouldn't look away from my face and I didn't really know what to do or say.  I looked around the table, hoping the boys to speak up. They were all staring at us intently. As soon as they caught me looking at them, they began chugging what was left of their beers. I was on my own.

I looked back down to my phone. "Rachel Gay Bar?" I asked, seeing how she'd named herself in my phonebook.

"Yeah," She smiled, "so you don't forget."

"No worries: I won't." I promised her.

But here's the thing: I totally did. It wasn't until three months into my semester (and one month before I was going home), when I was sharing a block of hash with some friends when I decided to check through my phonebook and came across "Rachel Gay Bar." And - after quickly running through that night again in my head- I finally realized she had totally been hitting on me in the Scottish Pub!


Fin

Before you begin making fun of my gaydar epic fail, you have to remember that when I got to Copenhagen, I was thinking that being gay was this thing I might be, but probably wasn't. Like, I knew that might be what was going on in my head, but I doubted it. I guess this is called denial or excessive ignorance of self. All the same, I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever tell you a story where my gaydar works or I have game with the ladies.

Only time will tell.

Now, suggest your points!

The point of today's story is...





Monday, November 1, 2010

8:08 PM

A Whole New World

Hey you guys,

I haven't been here for a while and in a minute I'm going to tell you a story that will kind of explain why. This story isn't like my others in that it's A) not a happy story and B) it's not really about me. However, because it's a someone's story that intersects with my own life, I feel that it's a story we can examine to figure out what the point is because right now, I don't have a clue of it myself.

A Whole New World

I have a mother and she has a sister. We'll call the sister (my aunt) Diana. Diana has a husband. His name is Row (and he's my uncle). Everybody following me so far?

Good.

So last Sunday, my mom calls me and says, "Hey baby, your Uncle Row is going to have open heart surgery tomorrow. His arteries are clogged. But don't worry; I've got a feeling he'll be okay."

I could have told you in that second that Row would be fine. My mom has the best intuition I've ever encountered. In fact, I sometimes wonder if she's psychic...but that's a story for another day.

Row went in for his surgery on Monday at 6am and I waited all day to hear how he was. I left work at 6:00pm and still had heard nothing. I began to wonder, could my mom's intuition actually be wrong? I called, frantic for news, but my mom just said, "There's no word. I keep calling but Diane won't call back. Now I'm worried; it's been over 12 hours. Maybe something went wrong. I'll call as soon as I hear anything." Then she hung up.

Later that night, I still hadn't heard anything, so I shoved worry aside and went to the bar with my friends for a  few beers. Halfway through my first round, my mom called. She sounded really happy. "It turns out Uncle Row is fine." She breathed deeply and I interrupted- "I knew it. You sound happy." Silence. When my mom spoke again, her voice was a whole octave lower and a tissue box of tears sadder. "Well baby, I do have some bad news. Diana wasn't feeling well this afternoon. So your cousin took her in to the hospital to get checked out. When they pulled into the parking lot, Diana was unresponsive. The doctors rushed her into the hospital and they had to put a tube down her throat. She's having a blood stroke." I had walked outside of the bar to take this call and immediately, I thought I'd faint. My whole stomach dropped and I felt completely weightless. I was sure that in any second I'd be lying on the cold concrete.

I forced myself to pull it together-this was my mother's fucking sister. I asked my mom if she was okay. Obviously anything I was feeling was minute compared to what she must be feeling. My mother is the youngest of eight children and because she grew up in the not-so-well-off section of an urban city, her mother and father had to work multiple jobs to keep food on the table. Diana had a substantial hand in raising my mom and I could tell from the time I was a child that my mom idolized her big sister. She said she was fine and that she would update me in a while as to what was going on, but she wanted to get off of the phone and keep her line clear.

I went back into the bar and handed my beer over to my friend. There was a good chance I'd be leaving town in the next two hours. Sure enough, my mom called me back twenty minutes later. She didn't think Diana was going to wake up. She was leaving her house to get to Diana. My mother lives 4 hours away from her sister and, leaving at 11pm, she wasn't going to reach her until at least 3am. I asked her if she'd rather wait until the morning to leave, but she said she just needed to be near her sister.

I left the bar pretty immediately after that and had barely walked through my front door when my dad called and told me not to even think of driving to see Diana. I can't tell you why, but his saying that really unnerved me and I didn't sleep well at all.

I didn't hear anything on Tuesday. I texted family members all day with no response. Finally, around 8:30pm, my mom called. "Diana didn't make it." She didn't sound sad or happy and that's when I knew she was in shock. 

My mom called again later that night and I have never heard her sound quite as hopeless as she did then. She told me that Row had just woken up from surgery and was asking for Diana. The doctors told my family that they couldn't tell Row about Diana because of his heart; it wasn't healed from surgery yet. "I lied to him," my mom told me, sounding defeated. "I told him she wasn't feeling well."

I finally made it to the hospital (which is also four hours from my apartment) on Wednesday. When I got there, my whole family was in the room and they had just told Row that his wife was gone. I asked them how he took it: 
   
     His daughter said, "Dad, you know mom wasn't feeling well. Well we lost her."
     Row just smiled, "Lost her where?"
     His daughter shook her head, "She had a stroke, Dad. She's gone."
     And then he cried.

So now it's Monday night. Row is at home with his daughters and his family. I talked to him today and all he can say is, "I'm holding on." 

fin

So that's today's story. I warned you that it wouldn't be a happy one. 

My uncle went to sleep for a few hours and when he woke up, he was in a whole new world without his life partner by his side. Aside from taking suggestions on the point of this story is, I also want to know if this thing of one spouse going in for surgery or some other procedure while the other one passes away has happened to anyone you know, because I've never heard of such a thing before.

Today's Point: To Be Determined