At 11:30 PM on a recent Friday night, my friends and I walked into The Green Room-the loud, smoky, ridiculously packed, consistently fun and unpretentious bar on Saint-Laurent. Getting there was a feat in itself. It was cold, the sidewalk was an icy deathtrap and the gale force winds blew at a thousand kilometers an hour. But, being the true Montrealers that we are, nothing could stand between us and a good time. By midnight, we had started to warm up and settle into our surroundings; our first round of stiff drinks sitting firmly in our greedy little hands. The rest of the night was to be a blur of vodka, tequila shooters and random alcohol-induced chatter.
At one point in the evening, I went to the bar to order another drink. As I waited for the bartender to notice me, I saw a couple making out near the foosball table. Right next to me, a swarthy-looking guy was clearly trying to pick up a bubbly blonde girl-he whispered something into her ear to which she responded, "I don't know you so I can't chew your gum." I watched as people stumbled on and off the dance floor, some with their arms around each other in communal drunken embraces.
We all know that alcohol frees us of our inhibitions; this is exactly why most of us drink. It takes a lot of effort to be constantly on our best adult behaviour-going out and drinking gives us the perfect excuse to revert back to childhood. The bar is our playground and we can decide whether we want to play nice with the other kids or whether we want to throw sand in their faces. Drinking affects people in different ways-some get loud and obnoxious, some become emotional and others become talkative and touchy-feely. And then there are those who just become plain stupid.
We should take comfort in the fact that we've all had our stupid drunken moments. It's a fine line between drunk and too drunk, and sometimes we all cross over that line. But one thing is clear-we must each suffer the consequences of our actions.
Consequence #1: The Homer Simpson Moment
It happens to the best of us-you're so drunk that you think you're saying something in your head but you're really saying it out loud. This can cause unlimited PDE (Post-Drunken Embarrassment) once your hangover clears up and you're thinking semi-clearly again. Your only hope is the person you were talking to was just as drunk as you were and doesn't remember what you said.
My most embarrassing drunken moment came a few years ago (I still cringe when I think about it). I was running a tab at a Saint-Laurent bar and had lost track of how many drinks I had ordered. When the time came to pay up, I was positive that the bartender had overcharged me-my mind, drowning in a tidal wave of vodka sodas, couldn't believe that I had that much to drink. Being the nice girl that I am, I paid the alleged unfair tab, and even said thanks to the bartender. But as I walked away, I remarked (and remember, I thought I was saying this in my head), "Thanks for ripping me off, you bastard."
That's right, I said it. And the bartender heard me.
"What did you say?" he replied angrily.
"Oh, um, I'm so sorry - I'm sure you didn't mean to rip me off."
I ran away and was so mortified that I didn't go back to that bar for over a year. There are a few lessons to be learned here-first of all, never run a tab if you can't keep track; secondly, don't piss off the bartender at your favorite bar. Years later, when I thought the incident was all microbrew under the bridge, I ordered a drink from the same bartender. As he handed me my change he said, "Are you sure I didn't rip you off?"
Consequence #2: DUI (Dialing Under the Influence)
As funny as you might think it is at the time, please resist making that late-night drunken phone call to your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend who broke your heart and is now engaged to your long-lost friend from summer camp who lives in another city ... or to your mom, or to the boss you hate.
Here's an excerpt from a posting on drunkuniversity entitled "Don't Call People When You're Wasted":
"...I started calling my co-workers up and bitching them out about work and their attitude towards me...And I called work and left a message on the president's answering machine and told them to fuck themselves! I told them that they pay me low-ass shit and the fucking place sucks bitches! I will find out tomorrow what happens next."
Consequence #3: UPI (Unidentified Party Injury)
This is when, after a crazy night out, you discover that your arm mysteriously hurts when you try to move it, or that you have an unexplained bruise on your leg. Sometimes you flashback to the incident in question but most of the time you just don't remember what happened. Maybe it's better that way.
Consequence #4: It seemed like a good idea at the time...
Mixing whisky, wine and overproof Jamaican rum and drinking it out of shot glasses at a house party seemed like a good idea at the time. But the next day-when I had to wake up early to go to my great-aunt's unveiling-I realized the grave consequences of my horrifyingly stupid actions.
When I woke up, I wished I were dead. I don't know how, but I managed to get up, take a shower and get dressed. Feeling like my head was going to spontaneously combust and wearing my darkest sunglasses, I slithered into my sister's car. We drove to the cemetery, my head spinning like a whirling dervish. As the unveiling ceremony unfolded, a wave of nausea overtook me and I came dangerously close to vomiting on my great-aunt's grave. In retrospect, maybe that last round of shots wasn't such a great idea.
There's no denying the fact that drinking to excess can be fun. By last call at The Green Room, my friends and I were very relaxed and having an amazing night. I considered walking home before the bar closed at 3 AM, knowing full-well that the harsh lights of reality would soon be turned on. But that was just a fleeting moment-I proceeded to walk up to the bar to order another drink.
Daisy Goldstein shares her quirky insights on life in the city. Her column appears every two weeks. Read more columns by Daisy Goldstein.