It’s late, but not that late. My friend texts, wanting me to hit the town with her. We just got a big storm, shutting down the roads. There’s no way out, and for some reason that means drinking. I’m not opposed, I love a good night out. “Go where the bender takes you,” as a wise man once said. But I’m usually about more.
I revel in the party. I’m damned good at it, if you don’t mind me saying so. Booze makes me better at people. Makes me connect faster, laugh harder, and deliver jokes with less hesitation. But it’s never truly been my thing.
From the outside, it appear to be me. A friend even calls me Party Boy. I have a set of friends from Boulder who know me as “Scuba Steve” because I spent Halloween 2012 on Pearl Street in flippers. All. Night.
But when I go out, I’m not proud of myself. I love the moment, but I’m usually ashamed the next day.
I didn’t get anything done last night.
And today I’m going to be useless.
Maybe other people feel this way. I hope so. But my ever present hubris insists I’m the only one. That they are somehow immune to the self loathing of a hangover. I don’t know.
Some nights it’s not like that. I make a real friend, have a good conversation, meet a girl I might like to see again, and I think the night is worth it. But usually I just end up wondering “Why?”
Sometimes I’m able to overcome the night before, and crush the day. I wake up, plowing through the headache, oblivious to anything other than seizing the carp. But that’s getting less common with age. The tale of years impairing my ability to overcome last nights questionable decisions.
It wasn’t always this way. And sometimes I wish it wasn’t now. It would be nice to have that joy of the moment, so potent, so alcoholically present, and remember it without revulsion. But that love of conquering the next day is one of the definitions of Joe.
So here I sit on a Friday night. Friends blowing up my phone, and me nursing a glass of wine, determined to get a few more words on paper. I might go out and have a beer or two. I’m not opposed. But tonight, at least, I’m focused on writing now and skiing tomorrow, and knowing how good it feels to conquer both the night and the morning.