Thursday, April 30, 2009

It's not me, it's Manhattan!

NYC parties hard. Like, really hard. Getting smashed is a totally celebrated, public affair. How could it be anything else? Unless you lock yourself in your apartment every night to drink alone until your eyes cross, everyone in NYC knows you're drunk.

I was 27 when I moved here and had started to ease up on the wild nights and dangerous behavior while living in Chicago. I had been dating a sommelier after seperating from my husband and at that time a bender for me involved switching from white wine to red wine at a dinner party. Maybe a digestif or brandy after dessert if we were feeling frisky.

When I landed on the streets of Manhattan, I backslid to about age 20 when I was a legitimately drunk, human wrecking ball who picked fights, fell out of windows and threw food at people.

Even when I would misbehave in Chicago I could go about my business of gettin' saucy outside of the house and maybe 3 or 4 people would know how much I had to drink: the bartender, my 1 or 2 other friends at the dive, and my scornful husband. ( it's not like I never invited him to come have a few cocktails with me. Lighten up, right?)

I could covertly sneak out the back door of the bar, walk through the alley to my parked car and have a tranquil, solo, 10 block drive home. Just me and my drunk thoughts and behavior that no one had to know about. I could go home and pig out on my heavily stocked refrigerator and pantry because in the old days I would grocery shop like a normal person, using a car to bring home many items at once.

Getting sloppy drunk in other cities never really posed a huge problem because I could quickly and privately get home to terrorize my own abode or whatever it is that I like to do before passing out.

Living in NYC, it takes a while to sink in that just because you're done drinking and whooping it up for the night, doesn't mean the adventure is over. Nowhere near especially if you live in Brooklyn. And you better believe that those moments of privately being a drunk terror or passing out, now happen in public.

A 40 block sojourn down Manhattan's 2nd Ave, or a 60 minute escapade on the subway, is a completely different story when you are plastered beyond hope. I thought I had it together as an alcohol abuser and NYC sent me back to drunk school.

Total, amateur behavior on my part.

I would however like to explain myself and other respectable, hard working New Yorkers who overdo it when it comes to drinking. There are really good reasons that support this behavior and I like to consider them valid to justify the money, sanity, health, and calories I have wasted on hooch.

Here are not ten, but eleven reasons:

1. This place shakes you to your core when you first arrive, so you sooth your stress with booze

2. No one drives, therefore you can become a menace on two feet instead of 4 wheels which is an improvement in my mind

3. You can walk only 2 blocks and pass about 25 places that have some sort of "thing" happening that involves alcohol; some of it free

4. This place is guhhhhh-ross. Personally, I like being a little out of it to dull my sense of smell, and to not have to clearly witness the homeless dude sitting bare-assed across from me on the train

5. There are so many people in your face at all times that again, being numb makes it easier to handle

6. Everyone works really hard, therefore everyone parties really hard, OR your parents are rich enough to support your drunk, degenerate lifestyle

7. Pizza can be shoved into your face at all times should you become too inibriated

8. You can sleep off some of that hangover on the subway

9. If you are totally immobile, friends can dump you into a car and put your life into the hands of a stranger to drive you home safely for $30

10. It's a great way to avoid going home to your awful apartment and insane roommate who lives in the common area

11. Drinking is glamorous according to billboards and I always think and do what a billboard tells me to think and do---no questions asked.

I would say I hit an all time low this past summer after surpassing the previous summer's all time low when footage surfaced of me yelling and jumping on filthy matresses outside of Planet Rose Karaoke Bar on a Sunday Night.

This footage was taken after being kicked out of the bar for tearing a poster off the wall and also repeatedly reaching over the bar to turn on the blender every time the bartender was busy on the other end because it made me laugh. I just get a bit out of control sometimes.

Since then, I have settled down considerably and credit that to not drinking in Manhattan anymore. I keep the drunk antics local-- in my neighborhood mostly. I seem to have a long track record of falling into the streets of Manhattan, dropping food on myself and others, and paying exorbitant amounts for cabs only to get lost in Queens somewhere. You have to ease up on this behavior at some point and I find that my life is more tolerable and even safer now that I am a Brooklyn drunk.

I would rather slip down the smooth marble stairs of my boyfriend's 4th floor walk-up in Park Slope while drinking white wine from a plastic to-go cup instead of falling down the greasy subway stairs at the 8th Avenue A-C-E station ever again.

(In my defense, I had gotten way too hammered and was trying to eat a gigantic torta from the 14th street Taco Truck as I descended into the station. I lost my balance a little bit, and tried to steady myself with the railing, but it was so slick with grime and grease that I just sort of slid down the stairs hanging onto the railing the way you would ride down a fire pole, but on a 45 degree angle. I strained all of the muscle in my right arm while my left arm held the torta high in the air, still intact. See what Manhattan does to me?!?)

I would rather deal with the bland, limited food selection available to me late at night in my neighborhood after a bender in my living room than ever try and walk down 2nd avenue in the East Village, plastered, eating lamb vindaloo again. I of course turned my high heel on the curb, fell into the street, tossed vindaloo into the air only to have it shower back down onto me, scraped my bare knees on the AIDS riddled pavement and then rode the train home covered in curry stains vaguely resembling shit. To make matters worse, I had nothing to put on my bloody knees so I was drunk, crying, openly bleeding, and aparrently had lost control of my bowels.

30. minute. ride. in. public.

I have yet to be hit by a car in Midtown, but I have had embarrassingly close calls due to carelessly stepping into traffic because I'm blinded with the bliss of eating a lobster roll. I have however been hit by a pizza delivery guy on a mountain bike as I stepped into the street while simultaneously trying to yank open an impenetrable bag of chips. That hurts and you certainly don't get free pizza just because it fell out of his basket and into the street.

And I will be damned if I don't ride my little cruiser through the streets of Brooklyn all summer long from destination to destination instead of getting into a cab for an epic ride home from Manhattan's Upper West Side to Brooklyn's South Side that costs way too much money. And I will hoof it from Grand Army Plaza to my front door if it means avoiding a 90 minute train ride from the West Village to 4th Avenue,where instead of getting off on your stop you pass out and wake up in Coney Island at 5am, disoriented and surrounded by ferris wheels and merry-go-rounds.

It could be considered a little close minded to blame all of my problems on Manhattan. It could also be considered a bit cuckoo to control my life by avoiding the city all together. But, well, I have sort of put the kybosh on the Big Apple for now.

I just find that until I am ready to behave, it's best to stay away from the world's biggest playground for people with substance abuse problems. I want to be able to re-introduce myself to the city as a more composed, industry oriented individual who can handle herself at a business lunch with a glass of wine or two; someone who can be trusted to walk by a mattress lying in the street and view it as garbage instead of a trampoline.

Until that day comes, I will be working on myself here in Park Slope's South end, 1 less drink at a time.


Robert Gorell said...


I live in south Park Slope. Let's get sauced to the extent it takes to catch up on the decade we've spent apart.

(Your blog is epic. A. Green hipped me to it.)

Eat Paint Chic said...

I laughed out loud. Does that make me an alcoholic? Come to Chicago again.

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