Last night, I went out for what should have been a “fun” night. We were going to see a band I liked, the tickets were gifted to us by someone else, the show was at one of the “hot” night spots in Kalamazoo, by all accounts, I should have had a freaking blast. Several factors conspired against me, though, to make me realize that I am impossibly old.
1. The band was so much older than I remember them being. We went to see The Verve Pipe last night. If you don’t remember who they are, they had some hits in the 90’s, like “Hero” and “The Freshmen” and “Photograph”:
They’re what we in the Kalamazoo/Grand Rapids area consider a “local” band who made good and got to the top. I saw them several times when I was in high school, usually alongside acts like “Mustard Plug” and “Bowling For Soup”. Last night, The Verve Pipe sounded just as amazing as I remembered. Maybe even better. But I realized that everyone in the group, literally every fucking one of them, probably had totally normal families at home, probably drove minivans full of beautiful suburban children around, probably played golf. What the fuck had happened to their youth? Worse, what had happened to mine?
2. Comfort is more important to me than it used to be. We got there shortly before the opening act and snagged our seats. By that, of course, I mean that we rushed to the front of the stage to stake out our spots, right? Nope. The venue was at the back of a bar, and while the area in front of the stage was cleared out for people to stand, the perimeter was set up all classy with stone-topped patio tables and thickly cushioned chairs. Guess which seats we took? But only after trying out all the other chairs like the three fucking bears. When a light drizzle started and thickly muscled young men (one of them looked, I shit you not, exactly like Thor) started carrying out the patio umbrellas, we flagged them down immediately. I remember concerts where I stood in the rain for hours, shouting my head off and dancing in the mud. I realized, as we shrilly demanded that the outdoor propane heater beside our table be turned on, that those days are over for me.
3. Wherein lactose intolerance is prematurely diagnosed as alcohol poisoning. There’s a line in a Verve Pipe song that goes, “I’m just a jerk/but a hero’s what I wanna be.” I missed half that song, because I was busy making Wild Bull’s bathroom as unpleasant as possible for anyone who dislikes the sound of violent retching. To amuse myself during the opening act, I slammed back a Long Island. Like, I emptied that thing like a small Coke at McDonald’s. I even used a straw and said, “Whoo hoo!” when I was done. Because I’m young, like the teenager that I used to be. In fairness to myself, I was riding the high of being carded by the bitchy eighteen-year-old who worked the hostess station. Until I pondered the biological feasibility that I could have given birth to her. Then it was time for the serious drinking, hence the Long Island.
When I was in my young and tender twenties, I once walked into a hotel bar during a writing conference. There was an old man there, a sailor attending a reunion with some WWII buddies. I took a seat beside him and ordered two Long Islands, and as the old sailor watched the drink being mixed, he turned to me and said, “Say, you’re not really going to drink that, are you? Did you see what he’s putting in there?” I said, with my liver of iron, “Yes, sir, I am.” And then proceeded to drink the first one while the guy mixed the second one, which I also drank down straight away. As I slammed the second glass on the bar, the old sailor looked at me and said, with no small amount of admiration, “You drink like no woman I’ve ever seen.”
So, why was I on my knees in the the Wild Bull bathroom, yakking my guts out while a bachelorette party tried to politely ignore me, after just one (tiny, overpriced) drink?
“Dude, you’ve got alcohol poisoning,” my cousin, D-Rock, said, with that same admiration. Of course I had alcohol poisoning! I wasn’t about to explore the whys and the wherefores, of course, because I only had one (tiny, overpriced) drink. I had alcohol poisoning, because I’m a youthful, amazing party animal!
Or not. Because usually, when you throw up whatever you drank, you feel better soon. I did not. In fact, as the night went on, I felt worse and worse. I made the bathroom unpleasant again. I suffered through the rest of the concert with cold chills and roiling stomach, then I came home and made my own bathroom unpleasant. And it was then that my husband began listing off all the dairy products I’d had in the last three days: cheese and crackers, cottage cheese, quinoa mac and cheese, pizza, not to mention my daily dietary shakes, made with fat-free milk, twice a day. I wasn’t puking from my wild night out. I was puking because I’m lactose intolerant.
Nothing in my life has ever made me feel more old than last night made me feel. Last night, I realized that I’m no longer a young, twenty-something party animal. I’m almost thirty-two. I’m still “young” in some respects, but I’m officially an adult. Everything and everyone I love is growing older. It’s no longer fun to barf in bar bathrooms. I get called ma’am sometimes. I think of 8am as “sleeping in” and most of the time, I go to bed at nine. I’m sore, all the time.
But the best part of last night? Literally everyone in the audience was old, too.