Tonight I found myself with no plans, no boyfriend, and no available friends. I had high hopes of making it to Target — big dreams, I know — but while waiting out traffic, I lost the urge to interact with human beings.
Since I work from home, the only live person I spoke with today was the young guy working the cash register at the healthy Mexican joint at the bottom of my street when I ventured out for dinner for twenty minutes. I forced myself to walk the three blocks, instead of driving, and upon my return I just…well, gave up, I guess.
And so, I decided if I was going to be a cliched twenty-something girl staying in on a Friday night, I was going to go all the way.
Streaming Downton Abbey episodes on my laptop is like joining a not-so-secret digital sisterhood. I had two unopened bottles of wine, so I decided to open one and pour myself a glass. I very rarely drink alone, but no time like the present to start training for a very boozy mid-life crisis!
Of course I added chocolates to this party!! What sort of solo femme night would this be without a fistful of candy to make yourself feel sick!
Oh man, I even played with the damn cat.
And, of course, this entire night couldn’t have been made possible without the spandex leggings I’d literally been wearing for over twelve hours, which may or may not double as pajamas tonight.
But really, I think we all know, the fact that I took the time to share these painfully mundane, yet intimate, moments on my blog is the most cliche activity in which I could have possibly engaged. And, it’s totally OKAY. I’m a model stereotype.
Dear early twenty-something twitbag next door neighbor girls,
I know you probably have’t lived in many places on your own, so perhaps you haven’t experienced different types of apartment complexes. But the one we currently share doesn’t offer private balconies. And we don’t live in lovely brownstones with cute little stoops, perfect for reflection and heart to hearts.
No, we share a lame little walk up in a mid-century building in LA, which means, you can’t fucking have your GIRLS moments and stand outside yelling with your gay bestie as you pump second hand cigarette smoke into my shitty old slatted window. You just can’t. Go inside. Go to a bar. GO AWAY.
<3 That old bitch next door
(I’m blowing the whistle on this shit.)
Last week, my best friend texted me from Sundance, the momentary mecca of hip, “Is it so sad that I’m just not into the idea of a party scene anymore?”
And just this past Friday evening, my boyfriend felt disappointed that our evening ended after a nice dinner at 9:00. “I thought we were going to do something fun tonight,” he lamented at me, bundled in sexy sweats. And when we did go out to a bar with friends the next night, all he wanted was to go home.
Being in your late twenties can be awesome, for so many reasons. Most find financial stability, forgive their settling bodies, and generally feel pleased by the realization that they’ve given all the fucks they have to give.
But there’s one thing we just can’t seem to reconcile: PARTYING.
It seems to be the remaining area of our lives where we’re still trying too hard. SO HARD. The most hard.
Because the thing is, most of the time we don’t want to go to a bar, let alone even drink a perfect $12 Old Fashioned. The term “pre-party” has completely lost meaning. We don’t want to go to a house party unless there’s going to be at least five good friends, because meeting new people for the sake of meeting new people is no longer interesting. We don’t want to get dressed up unless it’s for a nice dinner with a giant glass of wine, after which we can go home and fall asleep to HBOGO. And honestly, if you dare hold your birthday party outside my five mile radius, we’re sending a “sorry, can’t make it” text.
It’s not our fault. We’re just…old(er). And it’s not just because drinking and not getting enough sleep are physically harder to bear. It’s just that we’ve all done this before. We’ve been there, done that, and don’t really need to relive the hangover from drinking too much tequila and consciously engaging in reckless texting.
And yet, we can’t give it up. What are we trying to prove? We can’t let go of the idea that we NEED to go out, because going out is fun, and having a great time drinking in public with a bunch of people is apparently a very crucial indicator of a successful social life, according to Instagram.
(Don’t be fooled; we’re all dying of exhaustion)
The sands of our hourglass are falling all too quickly. We know we don’t have much time left until we officially become the creepy old people, who haven’t been hip in years, lurking in the corners of the bar. We are so desperately grasping at those tiny little grains of feeling young and alive, because our society runs on the blood of twenty-two year olds and we’re slowly losing the familiar metal tinge on our tongues.
And if the stinging reminder of our numbered days through sore knees and puffy eyes isn’t enough, we still need to battle our growing nostalgia. We tend to remember our more youthful cheap vodka soaked days with rose-colored lenses, patching together a series of movie magic moments that never really happened, and conveniently forget the mistakes, poor judgment and icky feelings. Those things always manage to get filtered out every #tbt.
That’s what we do every weekend, against our better judgment, try to recreate skewed memories. Every Friday we make plans during the day to go out that night, excited that we can all feel fulfilled and satiated that we’re “doing it right.” And every Friday night, at 9pm we mutually agree that the week has been exhausting and we’re not missing out on much.
And we’re correct, we’re not missing anything exciting. Or maybe we’re missing the best party that ever existed. Either way it doesn’t matter.
We’ll try again on Saturday night, after we’ve gotten a decent night’s sleep.
I am sorry that we don’t really see each other anymore.
I still think about you though. Like, for instance, just last night I was sitting in a bar, flipping the thin pages of a specialty cocktail menu. My eyes lingered on the Moscow Mule for a few seconds before I closed the booklet and ordered a Manhattan. Even though I think of you fondly, I’m not ready to go there again. And believe me, I think of you fondly.
I know we see each other around from time to time, mostly through mutual friends at parties. We’ll awkwardly have a run in at the fancy spigot carafe that only married people seem to own. You’ll be all dressed up in pink, maybe even with a strawberry hat accessory. We’ll be cordial. Half a glass, a few sips, and then we part ways. It’s not entirely awkward, but it’s not particularly enjoyable either, but what the hell do I expect from an ex?
Life now is so far from what it used to be for us. You probably think I feel like I’m too good for you, that I’ve grow out of our relationship, and maybe you’re right.
We’ve certainly come a long way since that kamikaze shot at my first Tridelta dance, haven’t we Vodka? I was only eighteen, so impressionable. My date Sean order you for me. He was a whole year older, already well versed in ordering mixed drinks. Also, he was in PIKE, a trustworthy fraternity. I was in good hands, even though he was terrible at kissing. Although you were masked behind the Triple Sec and lime juice, I knew this was the start of something. You made me feel so good; I ordered kamikaze shots the rest of freshman year.
I’ll be the first to admit, our relationship during my four years of higher education was anything but monogamous. I just wasn’t ready to settle down yet. Between dorm temperature Southern Comfort and Coke, giant blended margaritas the size of my head from the local Mexican restaurant that happily accept fake I.D.’s, tequila body shots on Spring Break, flat keg beer, and my inexplicable obsession with ordering White Russians at a downtown LA pirate themed bar senior year…it left little quality time for the two of us.
In retrospect, I don’t think we ever really got close until after my formidable college years. Sure we hung out in the same circles, but it was never one on one. It was always in very mixed company: Sex and the City Cosmopolitans, a myriad of sticky juices, energy drinks, and overpowering sugary soda. Was that you hiding out in the frat party trash can juice that made me vomit? It was so hard to tell, but if you were part of that debacle, I accept your tacit apology. I know you meant well.
The year after college was when we really started to understand each other. Vodka, soda, and Heather. The three amigos! You were my youth, heyday, my glory days. You were my wingman for so many questionable twenty-two year old decisions. We were such tight bros.
Remember that time I had a giant martini on an empty stomach at the deserted bar in my small beachside hometown? Yeah, you do; I was staying at my mom’s house so I could hook up with that bartender from the restaurant I worked at on weekends. Remember how he had a girlfriend, and I was all like, “Whatever!” LOLZ. It was that night I went home with him for the umpteenth time to have sex and convince myself that he secretly loved me best. As we shakily walked back to his place, I kept saying, “I’m so drunk from that martini.” Remember that nonsense? I totally blamed you, and you took the fall like a goddamn champ.
Those were the good old days my friend. The Friday and Saturday nights that began with me wiggling my naivety to the front of the bar to expertly order a tall blueberry Stoli and soda, like I’d been doing it my whole damn life, like it was anything other than a clichéd recently legal LA girl beverage. A tall, I rationalized was just easier. Who wants to go back to the bar, I thought. UGH, SO OVER IT.
So many nights I came home, head spinning, swearing I was done with your forever. You made me feel out of control, and a little bit devious. I always woke up the next morning feeling a little more than upset with the both of us.
Then one day, something changed. I had moved to Denver, Colorado, and while in the mountains one weekend was given free shots of Crown Royal at an empty mining town casino on a Sunday night. That was the end of us Vodka; I know it. I can pinpoint the moment the sweet, thick brown syrup slid down my throat. The moment my entire body felt warm and silly. I wanted to laugh and kiss everybody in my line of vision. What’s that Vonnegut quote everyone gets tattooed on their arm? “Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.” Yeah, it was like that.
Denver was an easy place for our breakup, an easy place to forget. It’s a hearty mountainous city filled with salt of the earth people who drank real drinks. None of this foufy LA shit anymore. When I went out for a drink, I WENT OUT FOR A MOTHER FUCKING DRINK.
When I moved back to LA a year and a half later nothing changed for me. Even though I was back in the place where we met, I just didn’t feel the same way. It’s been a few years since I have been home now, and I’ve done a lot of growing up, thinking about where I am in my life and what you had meant to me.
With age and maturity comes nostalgia, and yes sometimes I backslide with a Bloody Mary, or a fruity mixed drink. But I always end up with a headache, from both the booze and the emotional triggers of a time when I was irresponsible, immature and not my best self.
So now, I exclusively order Old Fashioneds or Manhattans because I’m a smug late twenty-something asshole. Because I think I’m Peggy Olson. Because I don’t need to order a tall. Because I only need two drinks to get drunk. Because I don’t need to drink to prove anything. Because holding a drink in my hand is meaningless. Because I can afford them. Because they taste good and make me feel silly, without with the stupid. But mostly…mostly because they both come with a cherry.
I don’t use eBay; I never really have. It seems complicated and anxiety inducing, which is also how I feel about Reddit. However, after moving into my new apartment last week, my typically nimble boyfriend accidentally dropped my coveted vintage mid-century green glass hanging swag lamp, shattering it into a thousand pieces. Everyone was distraught, even the cat.
After reminding myself that things are just THINGS, even when they’re broken into a thousand pieces, and having no luck finding a replacement at my local flea market, I turned to…GULP…eBay. Typing in appropriate keywords yielded me with a plethora of choices, but one green glass lamp simply spoke to me. The problem was, I couldn’t just offer good American dollars for the lamp; I had to bid on a three-day auction, something which I have little to no experience because it seems like an activity that could cause mild to moderate acid reflux.
I logged in and bid the minimum, $49.95. And, then I waited. In fact, I forgot about the damn thing until I received an email from eBay telling me I had been outbid the next day.
Oh. Hell. No.
Suddenly, I was in it to win it. I wasn’t going to let some Internet troll person steal what was rightfully mine. I logged back in to find a red message bar telling me I’d been outbid. “We’ll see about that,” I muttered to myself. No way was I allowing this person with the user name “2***n” to take my replacement lamp. I upped the ante until I had finally outbid my opponent by a dollar and landed on $91.00.
Let me reiterate that…I had no idea what I was doing. I have never bid on anything on eBay before I went bananas on this old ass lamp I hadn’t even seen in person.
While I had set an automatic maximum bid the first time, I did not the second time. I merely manually increased my bid amount until 2***n backed off. Once he/she did, I felt smug and went about the rest of the day.
By this point I was very excited about the prospect of winning this lamp. While shopping has always given me a questionably unhealthy high, this added intensity of beating someone else to the punch made this item even more tasty. The next morning, I checked the page to find that I was still the highest bidder with five hours of the auction left to go.
This. Was. In. The Bag.
I was already doing a little happy end zone dance in my desk chair thinking that no one was going to try to go up against me this late in the game. By the time it was only ten minutes left until I’d be entering my shipping address to have the new lamp sent to my apartment, I was already jumping up and down screaming at my boyfriend that we’d won. I felt SO good.
But then something happened: I didn’t win.
And in a dramatic Shakespearian fashion, I was defeated by my sworn mortal Internet enemy, none other than: 2***n, who came in at the last second and outbid me by one dollar.
Well played 2***n; well played.
I felt awful that I had lost. So awful, in fact, that I burst into the living room to yell at my unsuspecting boyfriend. “We lost! We lost the lamp! That same person outbid me at the last second!”
“Yeah, that’s how it works on eBay,” he replied calmly. Too calmly.
“You didn’t tell me that was a THING. You should have told me to watch out for that.” I was moving further from rational by the second, and quickly succumbing to dark feelings of loss.
“Heather, you can’t try to blame this on me.” (UGH BOYFRIENDS)
I stomped out the room to pout at my desk until I had calmed down.
And then I reminded myself that things are just THINGS.
And then I said “FUCK IT” to eBay auctions and found a better lamp that I could just buy outright. And even though things really are just things…sometimes it feels really, really good to buy them.
I will no longer be able to watch my Dawson’s Creek and Sex and the City DVDS on my teeny tiny bedroom TV using my broken DVD player.
I bought the teeny tiny TV right after college for $250, and had never felt so adult at the time. I set it up in my bedroom at my parent’s house, where I lived for two months after graduation. I felt badass being able to watch CABLE in my room, feeling good that I was into Flight of the Concords before they became popular.
It followed me to every bedroom for the next 5 1/2 years, where it would play my beloved Dawson’s Creek and Sex and The City DVDs on repeat while I got ready for work in the morning, standing in front of the 15” screen brushing my teeth in a towel.
I took so much solace in coming home alone after a night out, cozying up in jammies, and falling asleep with my best friends Pacey, Joey, Carrie, Miranda, and Samantha.
The TV has been retired, and won’t be coming with me. The broken DVD player, which required literal manual insertion and removal of discs, has been put out to pasture.
I’ll miss waking up to the Sex and the City DVD menu and hearing Samantha yelling about dicks. How will I ever sleep at night?