Everyone remembers the first time they got drunk (at least the fact that it happened, anyway). I’m not talking about the 13 years-old time you had a couple ounces of something with your friend in your room after your parents went to bed. I am talking about the first time you get bona-fide, rip-roaringly, falling-down drunk. For some people this doesn’t happen until freshman year of college, for others it comes at a disturbingly young age. I was more in the middle of the age spectrum when I first let my enthusiasm get the best of me.
It was actually a pretty epic experience, in retrospect. A family friend invited a bright eyed and bushy-tailed, 15 year-old version of yours truly to go with them on a chartered bus trip to a gig his band was playing out at Hampton Beach in New Hampshire. There was one “responsible” parent that came along with a bus full of underaged enthusiasts-in-training (although, to be fair, some of them already had full-blown enthusiasm issues), who, rather than being a draconian chaperone, ended up buying us booze after the show.
The whole day was pretty awesome. We drove up watching movies on the in-bus monitors. I bought my first pack of cigarettes (but that’s a story for another blog). The show went well and Hampton Beach was pretty fun. On the ride back we stopped at a liquor store and picked up a bunch of different alcoholic beverages. I can only imagine what the bus driver thought. It didn’t take me very long to down the 20oz of Sprite and rum or whatever it was I thought would be a good idea to drink. A few Heinekens later and I started to really want to talk to the girls on the bus and thought I was the funniest person alive. This euphoria didn’t last long, however. I remember some dude puking in the bus bathroom and then not much else.
I have a vague recollection of getting back to the starting point of the trip and somehow negotiating with the chaperone to go to the after-party; probably said that my parents would pick me up there (another family friend’s house). I do remember making the call to my folks once we arrived and getting the go-ahead to stay the night. From there, who knows. I think I saw some beer pong being played in the basement. And maybe some naked running by the pond outside (I don’t think by me…).
The next morning I was awoken by the gut wrenching, two-packs-a-day cough, of one of the teen party goers. My first rager ended as so many more would in my future. That day I had my inaugural hangover. It was almost a year before I really got drunk again, but there was no doubt that the Enthusiasm bug had bit me and bit me—hard.
Bus photo courtesy of midgetsrawk, flickr.