There was just one problem. The car was up in the country and there was a future step-sister WITH a friend staying over Friday night. I wasn't going to let that stop me, though. Not by a long shot. So I devised a plan. It was devious and clever and pretty silly. I called up a friend who has a license and asked him if he would take me and another friend driving on Saturday afternoon. I lured him into agreeing with it by telling him that if he'd take us for a spin I would drink with them afterwards. He's wanted me to try alcohol for awhile so this promise was a good inducement, and since I'd been toying with the idea of drinking anyway it didn't feel like a real concession or a bad decision. Then I pressured my mother to let us have the car even though it was packed with a future step-sister's junk. The timing of this arrangement also got me out of having to go a protest with all those people on Saturday. My major objectives were accomplished and all in one fell stroke.
The driving was good. We went out to Queens and tooled around in a lightly populated area near a police vehicle depot and a sanitation substation. The only problem with the area was that almost every parked car was either an official NYPD cruiser or a cop's off-duty/undercover vehicle. Most of them had 9-11-01 Never Forget pro-Bush stickers in the windows. My mom's car has a "Bush lied people died" bumper sticker. Fortunately we didn't hit anything but I came pretty close. We practiced basic stuff like turning and parallel parking and such, nothing fancy. I learned a good deal as did my other friend, and our teacher offered to take us again some time. Fun stuff.
After the driving we went back to my place and decided to get liquored up. We had bought a bottle of 10 year aged Scotch and some plastic cups so we all measured out a Jigger or so (That's 1.5 ounces, not a Jewish nigger) and got to drinking. I had mine on the rocks because I like ice.
It tasted horrible. I'd been warned that it would burn going down and all that stuff but it really didn't. Instead it was just a bitter and unpleasant flavor. My big-drinking friend Gabe, we call him "Iron Liver" loved it and my less-drinking friend Aaron agreed with me. I barely managed to choke down one serving of the scotch and didn't want any more. Fortunately I found an unopened bottle of Hazelnut Liqueur in the closet so the drinking could continue. That tasted much better, with a sweet and bitter taste that engages the whole mouth and was just really pleasant. It may be a slightly girlier drink but so what? I prefer to think of it as the sort of thing that a gentleman might enjoy, I'm sure Benjamin Franklin had many pleasant evenings involving liqueur. At least it doesn't taste like industrial solvent.
As for the actual effects of the drinking they were interesting. It didn't dull the mind quite like I expected, instead it felt more like Novocaine for the superego. I was hyper-aware and talking about my mental state as we went since this was an experiment for me and I wanted to take proper observations. The feeling is certainly pleasant enough but it's also vaguely disconcerting. You find yourself saying things that you probably wouldn't sober and you recognize that you made a bad decision in letting that slip but you don't really care. I can see why it frees up the creative process for some and definitely can see why it's a social lubricant. I did enjoy it quite a bit at the time but I sort of knew that when my superego kicked back in I wouldn't enjoy the memory of what had happened. We all went to a restaurant and I ordered another drink, a Jim Beam bourbon on the rocks. I really couldn't tell the difference between it and the scotch and I basically just downed it in a couple long drags so I wouldn't have to taste it. I started to sober up anyway once we started eating (we intentionally drank on empty stomaches to amplify the effects.) By the end of the night I had something of a hangover and staggered home uncomfortably. I slept terribly, fading in and out of consciousness while my head felt like crap and my whole body felt slightly out of whack. Aspirin didn't help. The hangover finally faded Sunday morning but it still left me down for the day, along with the lack of sleep.
Which was bad, because Sunday was the big protest. Aaron and I had decided we would go join the huge protest because as much as I hate protests I hate Bush that much more and it seemed like a thing to do. I met him downtown at around 11:00 and we walked over there. I actually lost my book on the way as it slipped out of my pocket but it's not too expensive so I'll just replace it. The protest itself was absolutely huge. As big as a quarter of a million people might sound on paper it's much bigger in person. We did encounter some unsavory elements, including a group that was chanting "Palestine forever, the Intifada forever," which was enough to drive us away from that area and a few blocks down. We also saw some girls wearing no tops, just nipple pasties. This did not drive us away. We didn't do a lot of mingling with our fellow protesters since most of them were too radical for our tastes, but we chatted with a few people and spent too long sitting around before the protest actually started. When it did start it was slow as hell and way too hot. Aaron was enjoying himself but I was not, mostly because I hate walking at a snail's pace. My body wants to MOVE, not to shuffle along. Plus there was a distinct lack of hot chicks, which is one of the inducements of going to a protest in the first place. Fortunately after an hour or so we found a fast lane to the side and were able to zip along up to Madison Square Garden. Once there it got a lot more fun. There was this big cloth dragon, and inside it there was a microphone and amplifier and this guy was saying some pretty clever and nasty things to the traitors in the horrible hotels, festooned with American flags and banners. I joined in some of the chanting, which is unlike me, but I was pissed. As we passed the Garden only a few people were watching. Most were hidden in their hotel bunkers, far away from where the first amendment was being expressed. Fortunately as we passed three or four Republican delegates were being lead through the crowd by some policy officers, and I got a chance to heckle them. I didn't ask them if they were going to burn a constitution or spit on the graves of the veterans, I just congratulated them on looking straight forward and totally ignoring the peaceful protest like a good goose stepping Republican should. Heil Bush! Heil the traitor! There were some counter protesters but they were a scraggly pathetic bunch. Maybe 60 all-told in different groups. One old-timer was having a word of wars with some of the protesters. He was a veteran and didn't appreciate their having their own opinions. Fortunately nobody got in his face or attacked him, and a policeman wandered by and escorted him back behind the barricades.
We split off after MSG and went to get something to eat in a far too loud diner. I ate too much again, because I was irritable and tired from the march. I had done the same when I'd been drinking because of lack of inhibitions. Half a chicken, rice and beans, and plantains seemed perfectly reasonable while intoxicated. We then went to the park and saw some street performers, then went to the rally at the Great Lawn. It was more of a carnival atmosphere there, people sitting and talking and a few film crews filming them. We stayed there a few minutes and went home.
Overall the protesting was a whole lot of waiting around for about 10 good minutes. I was there with a friend and it was alright, but I got a sunburned neck and associations with people who I not only don't agree with but was disgusted by. I'm glad I did it but I won't do it again soon. Maybe when I'm thinner and can stand for eight hours without hurting my feet.
At night a friend and his friend came over and we watched Assault in Precinct 13 and made fun of the 70's era low-budget film making and horrible slang. After that we sat around and talked about rape for awhile, which was not a conversation I wanted to get into but she was a feminist and the topic came up when I wouldn't back down. We stayed up late talking about that and other topics and I turned in around 3:30. The resulting lack of sleep (coupled with the hangover sleep on Saturday) is why my writing is so bland and why I'm sort of out of it today. It was worth it nonetheless. I got some new perspectives on certain things, and that never hurts, especially for a would-be writer.
It was a worthwhile weekend. I did a lot of stuff and received a lot of stimulation that it will take weeks to process. It was fun, but I missed writing and alone time. I also ate poorly, not unusual when hanging out with rowdy young folk. This week should be calmer and more focused. I need to register for my class and hunt down a job somewhere. I might even go sneer at some more Republicans as they congregate outside non-offensive theater, "It don't matter if it's gunna stink, we just hope it don't make ya think. Vote Dubya, cause you're too stupid to actually pay attention to what's going on." Fucking Alabama hicks invading our town.