Interactions with a Talking Horse, or, Why I Don’t Drink Anymore*

Those who know me well, know that I rarely get sloppy-drunk. My typical M.O. is: have a few drinks, get friendly, tell everyone I love them and then silently slip off to find a couch to pass out on. As a friend much cooler than me would say, I get “white-girl wasted” (not sure if that’s offensive). Even under the influence I am able to recognize and listen to that internal voice that says “yeah, maybe don’t do that fifth Slippery Nipple shot.” Not to brag, but I always considered it one of my better qualities; I never got wasted, only a little more pleasant! That’s why when I woke up last Sunday morning to my bed spinning around me and unyielding nausea I felt an overwhelming sense of dread. Though I know the fault is all my own, I’d like to think that the Brazilian Grill we had for dinner that Saturday night could carry some of the load. We met a friend for his birthday and Brazilian grills are a crowd pleaser these days. My husband practically fasted all week in anticipation of those glorious meat-sweats. One of my own personal circles of hell might be me strapped to a chair while animal carcases are shaved from a skewer and fed to me. Luckily, I wasn’t strapped to the chair and I had the salad bar option. I’m no vegetarian (yet) I enjoy a good burger now and then but typically red meat is just not my thing. Seeing it coiled around a sharp spear only made my stomach churn all the more. So by the time we left the “restaurant” I was a few glasses of red wine deep on a lettuce filled belly. (Also please note, I think salads are absurd, but I knew I couldn’t just eat cheesy bread and mashed potatoes and feel good about myself.) Mistake number 1.

Afterward, a few of us decided to keep the party going and headed to a near by hipster bar (if I had a dollar for every old-timey beard or ironic accessory I would’ve been able to buy the whole bar rounds all night). I have pretty high anxiety over meeting new people. I’m a people pleaser to a disturbing degree and so when I am around a group who are all friends and I am the newbie I have a habit of asking a lot of questions so there are NEVER any awkward silences. I cringe when I imagine how this came off later.

“What do you do?”

“What superpower would you chose if you could have any super power?”

“What are your parents like?”

“Tell me about your childhood home?”

In order to ease this self-induced pressure I recommend the long time remedy of social lubricant, 50 ccs stat - aka shots! Mistake number 2.

I hate to get all Roger Murtaugh, but “I’m too old for this shit.” I should have stuck to wine - no I should have stopped drinking. I think we all know that I did not. Going along the lines of the people pleasing I hate recommending types of shots. Everyone has their preferences and it’s hard to get them all to agree so I just say, “I’m down with whatever.” Which at the time I think I actually believed. When I was on my third “pineapple upside-down cake” shot and the world began to slip away, I heard that little voice gurgle out a final desperate plea to stop while she drowned in FOUR TYPES of alcohol. I just Googled what in that shot and I surprised I am even alive right now:

3/4 oz vodka

1/2 oz bourbon whiskey

1/4 oz peach schnapps

1/2 oz pineapple juice

1 splash maraschino cherry juice

Mistake number three. Three strikes and she is out!

After that everything is pretty much a blur. When I imagine myself on nights like this, I see a little hummingbird buzzing from flower to flower, laughing and smiling, asking incessant and often inappropriate personal questions.

A few random memories (AKA mistakes 4-7):

-Going downstairs to smoke (WHAA??)

-Offering (in drunken jest) to swap partners with a random couple

-Telling a random girl in the bathroom what amazing hair she had

-Offering to buy more shots…again…and again…and one last time.

Thankfully my extremely patient hubby was my sober DD, because a few hours in (or days I couldn’t be sure) I suddenly had to go home. RIGHT NOW. I was sitting on the hipster couch when my poor decisions caught up with me.

“Baby, I drank too much. I’m gonna be sick. I’m so sorry. I hope I wasn’t annoying. Oh man, I’m gonna be sick. I never drink this much. What happened?” From what I heard the following morning from my husband, I pretty much slurred this on loop until I fell, fully dressed onto my mattress - the anti-climatic ending to a night of bad life choices.

Looking back, a good indication of how far I fell was The Horse Incident. I have a fearful respect for horses. They are massive, strong, beautiful beasts that could crush my skull with a look. Something about their wild, cue-ball eyes give me the willies. So when one spotted me outside the bar we just left and summoned me over to pet him, I was quite surprised.

He was wearing blinders, that seemed to block his peripheral vision but he turned his elongated snout to look at me, I SWEAR, and winked. He wanted me to pet him. Who was I to say no? I walked over to my new friend in a state of trance. Somewhere beside me I heard my AMAZING husband asking permission, which I thought silly because the horse had asked me to come pet him. It was an amazing, transcendent moment. His hair was coarse and thick, yet smooth over his tense, rigid muscles. Before I knew it, I was pulled away towards our car and back to reality, but not before stealing one last glance at my majestic soul-mate.

Boy, oh boy did I feel like an ass when I learned that had been Police horse.**

Current Song: “Things That Scare Me” by Neko Case

*When I say “I don’t drink anymore” I mean it more in a I’m-never-getting-wasted-again sort of way rather than a I’m-a-recovering-alcoholic sort of way. It is my duty as a writer to imbibe a glass of wine from time to time. That doesn’t make me lush - I CAN QUIT ANYTIME, LAYOFF ME!

**Later in the week I found a video on my phone pretty much assuring that I will never run for any sort of political office. Drunk me scolded herself for drinking too much and warned (I presume, next day sober me) to never make her same mistakes. Well that is something I can 100% promise to her. My stomach twisted just pasting the shot recipe to this page.