I got kicked out of the cool kids’ table a while ago. I’m sure you’re aware of this: somewhere between the almost-as-many-make-out-sessions-as-tequila-shots evenings of my senior year of college and that dark January night I refused to take a tequila shot Evan purchased for me in a San Francisco bar, my coolness factor plummeted. The whole thing was cemented by the twin setbacks of 2010: the appearance of an engagement ring and a puppy in my life. By the time 2011 rolled around, I was officially, patently lame.
But last night, around 8 p.m., a glimmer of hope appeared in my long-time battle to regain my long-gone cache. We were standing on the corner of Locust and 12th Street. I was extremely buzzed. It was over 40 degrees outside. We were poised to eat Mexican food.
“This is the best Tuesday night of my life!” I declared in boozy ecstasy.
The evening’s joys came out of nowhere: one minute I was standing vigile at the stove, stirring a pot of homemade tomato sauce and plotting our dinner’s pizza toppings; the next, I was sitting in a Cuban place around the corner, drinking a mango margarita the size of my head.
Looking back on it, the extreme happiness that followed that $5 drink special is a little weird: I mean, it’s not like I’ve never been to happy hour before. It’s not like I’m a stranger to tequila. And yet, there I was, downing this less than delicious yet extremely potent orange concoction and feeling like I was on top of the fucking world. Maybe it was the way the evening’s plans came out of nowhere (“Sophie’s at Mixto. We’re going,” Dave had said at around six, and 10 minutes later, there we were.) Maybe it’s because I spend each and every workday socializing with my laptop and our five-month-old goldendoodle. Maybe it’s because it’s been so very cold for so very long. But dude. That margarita was bliss.
My giddiness probably had something to do with the company too: we were with Dave’s friend John, who does pitch-perfect Charlie Sheen impressions, and his friend Sophie, who is essentially me, four years ago. She makes me feel like I’m still 22 and making bad decisions of the best kind. More importantly, she always seems to have the exact same food cravings as me. So when she was all, steak fajitas! I was all, I love you! And let’s get extra guacamole!
El Vez couldn’t seat all of us in a reasonable amount of time, so Dave and I trekked off Chipotle. Part of me was incredulous, like, is this seriously all it takes? Because, at this moment, I’m the happiest camper ever. And the only difference between tonight and every other Tuesday night is three shots of tequila and three chicken tacos.
This is where I started getting cocky, I think. It all just seemed so easy! We split a small cup of gelato from Capo Giro and it was delicious. We walked across Broad Street and the guy who sings Motown on the corner didn’t seem annoying. Even sitting in a random Midtown Village pizza joint, watching Sophie and the gang eat their buffalo chicken cheese steaks, was enjoyable. We gathered a crowd to go to Quizzo, which seemed like a surefire win. I mean, how could something that a – you used to partake in your second semester senior year of college and b – they have an Arrested Development-specific version of, be bad?
Answer: if it was Charles Bukowski-themed. Don’t know who Charles Bukowski is? Don’t know when Charles Bukowski was born? Don’t know which war he dodged? Don’t know the name of the autobiographical character he wove into his second book? Neither did we.
But now we do. We also know the words to a poem who wrote about “beer shits.” We also know that most of his fans are old, overweight, and like to don odd headgear when they go out for the evening.
I made it through exactly one round before deciding that I needed to head home, stat. And just like that, the best Tuesday ever was over.
And now, here I am, on Wednesday, back to my normal, un-cool self. We finally made that homemade pizza. We took the dog out for a walk. We plunked down on the couch to watch the 25th anniversary performance of Les Mis on public television.
One step forward, two steps back.