Why Being ‘Too Good’ At Catch-Up Drinking Is A Gift And A Curse
Stuck at work on a Friday night. Embittered and neurotically watching the clock, I’m like a convict or post office patron. Obnoxiously necessary is what I’d dub this, as I need booze money and, as Mr. Chow says, “Sesame Chicken can’t deliver itself to sad loners and teenage drug addicts.”
Driving through the neighborhoods, the hot teriyaki musk saturating my already awful skin. There’s always “just one more order” to go out. The words happily bounce from Mr. Chow’s thin, stereotype-reinforcing lips. My life is a sick, soy-sauce-heavy joke.
Every sober second is torture. Which does sound alcoholic-y, likely by several DSM-V standards. Uncomfortable lucidity likely awaits me. Like most people in their twenties, my friends and peers are all mild narcissists and capable drinkers. And, if history has been any indicator, they’re currently power binging their way through a liquor store special while rehashing an old argument.
With every passing minute catching up becomes that much more difficult. No matter how many times I explain it, my urgency fails to resonate with Mr. Chow. He just sits stoically in his back office, sipping tea and stroking his wispy beard like a character from some 1940’s American propaganda.
Around eleven the neighborhood’s appetite for garbage noodles tossed with favela-grade meat subsides. I skip out and speed home. I pour a double whiskey and hop in the shower. The odor of wonton soup and wanton filth washes off of me while I make quick work of my drink. It’s a good start; however, I’ll need to do better.
I arrive. The challenge is laid out for me, though I’ve come prepared with vodka and energy drinks. It’ll be like my heart is wrestling with my brain and—as I see it—they both could use the workout.
People here are sloppy, like post-root-canal sloppy, and everyone’s fixated on my state of non-drunkenness. Concern spills from their slurring mouths. This is truly the exact polar opposite of an intervention. Everyone’s rambling at once while I’m plied with constant drinks and criticism.
My mind clears. The high-stakes stress of delivering food is behind me. I know I can catch up. The vodka’s bite starts to lessen. The energy drink grabs hold of my heartstrings. I’m going to do this; I am putting a brick on the proverbial gas pedal and holding on.
The bottle empties. Emphatic, I slam it onto the table and the room erupts. I’m snatching stray cups and indiscriminately guzzling. My taste buds have, thankfully, completely failed me now, though my stomach isn’t going as quietly. With a lurch, it tries to instantly reverse my fortune, but I suppress it with a handful of the cheesy bread that fat hipster kid brought over.
My eyes strain to regain focus. It’s light out again and my mouth tastes exactly like sandpaper and vomit. Like McDonald’s being too good a making coffee hot or Standard Oil being too good a capitalism, I am too good at catch-up drinking.