Let’s travel back a couple years, and to a place its locals occasionally refer to as “San Diego.”
It was somebody who may or may not also write for this blog’s birthday, and he may or may not have been turning a year that was one shy of a quarter century. What better way to celebrate, he might have mulled, than crashing for a weekend at a friend’s home in California’s most stereotypically sun-filled of cities? A perfect venue for copious daytime-beach into nighttime-bar-hop booze binging.
The birthday eve began as many had before, with a promise among several present to ingest a certain number of drinks that equaled the years that this possible-future blogger was aging towards. Sharpies were located and stuffed in jean pockets, for keeping semi-permanent tally.
Twenty-four increasingly wavy, lengthy, and/or jagged lines snaked around the forearms of the participants’ arms before the clock ticked past three hours prior to West Coast last call. And the night, she was young yet.
On flashing digital cameras it was captured—Irish pub led to sorority girl-filled club led to garage; with all the stripper poles; too many cigarettes; tables broken from futile dancing attempts (see below); and dangerous rides home from strange, wasted roommates, roadies in hand—in between. And finally: the next sun-parched San Diego afternoon.
Which is when the real story starts. Arisen from (emphasis on empty) out-of-town-roomies bed which I don’t remember passing out in, our narrator stumbles toward the living room. There, blinking earlier-this-morning’s-tequila shots, Pabst, and bourbon from behind her lids, we find the birthday boy—beer, full, and solidly clutched in hand, sitting with only head slightly slumped, in boxers, on the couch. Attempting to rouse him results only in him sliding off the couch and onto the floor into passive resistance pose.
A fellow Enthusiast was awakened, bleary, from another bedroom—his help enlisted in moving the passed-out celebrator. While the lights may have been “on” in birthday boy’s eyes (as the locals say)—nobody was “home.” The persistent Enthusiasts still succeeded in dragging him outside, realizing, too late, that they’d severely rug-burned his back.
Outside, the sun was even angrier in person than she was beating through the shaded windows. Then, suddenly, the passed-out rose; the birthday man walked. Seemingly revitalized by the persistent daylight, he sprung from his repose and wandered in a shockingly straight line towards a punching bag hung in the open garage at the start of the driveway. And humped it, repeatedly.
Realizing he was still more beer than blood, I lunged to save the sand-filled cylinder from its fate, ushering this natal day Enthusiast towards a green plastic lawn chair. We needed to spring him from his BlackOut City holding cell—but how?
Sitting there in the slat-backed chair, we attempted the blackout jailbreak version of the filed-down toothbrush to cut through bars—we sprayed him with a hose. The weirdest part? He didn’t shake his head, confused, then stand, shouting a bewildered, “What the fuck?!” Nor did he lurch forward fast, the chair crashing away, rageful at his mistreatment, “What the fuck’s wrong with you?!?!??!!!! FUCK YOU GUYS!!” Attempting, of course, to wrest the hose and turn our drunk-weapon upon us.
Nope. He just sat there. Sat there as water soaked his hair and dripped down his face, and then his shoulders, and over his chest. (This is getting rather old-school drugstore paperback with Fabio on the cover erotic, isn’t it?)
Point being, about five minutes into the totally non-sexualized shirtless man wet-T contest, birthday boy lifts barefoot soles from brick, and speaks, calmly. (Dare I say—soberly?) “Spray the bricks. The bricks are hot.”
The bricks were hot, birthday Enthusiast. Laying out in the late-June San Diego sun, that they were. And water would, indeed, cool them. Simple science. A few drenched moments later the residents of the metaphorical house that the lights had long been on in without them being home, finally arrived home. “Why am I all wet?” He asked, shaking off hose-water.
“Because,” we thought, turning off the hose. “Happy birthday.”