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July 28, 2011

Former coworkers and friends Sarah Walker and Noah Garfinkel get drunk and high respectively, attend a cultural event, and then review it.


This is the first edition of Drunk Girl / High Guy Cultural Reviews wherein Sarah gets really drunk, Noah gets really high, they go to an event and then talk about their vastly different experiences. You may read these reviews on Sarah Walker’s blog here or Noah Garfinkel’s blog here. In this installment, they attend a WNBA Game, The New York Liberty vs. The Los Angeles Sparks.

One thing that’s important to note is that the New York Liberty game on Sunday, June 26thactually took place at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey and required a cab ride through the Gay Pride Parade to get to a New Jersey Transit train leaving from Penn Station. A second thing that is important to note is that both Penn Station and New Jersey are two places you should never go drunk and/or high with no supervision.

Prudential Center


Sarah: I like to drink. A lot. So as to avoid any self-reflection that I might drink too much, I like to think of myself as a “European drinker.” As a European Drinker, alcohol is good for my health, part of my culture and it makes my wit sharper and my personality more sparkling. Also, by “European drinker” I mean like a vivacious French lady, a bon vivant, who holds court in a cafe and seamlessly mixes high and low brow humor to the delight of others around her, and less of a severely sunburnt, overweight English woman on vacation who gets arrested for having sex in public and then banned from Greece.

Noah: I like getting high. A lot. But, by myself in my apartment while watching cable news. What I do not like at all is being high in public. So many things can go wrong. For example, a person could try to talk to you. YIKES.

How we got the tickets:

Sarah: I received a phone call from a 212 number last week, which was exciting because a call from a 212 number either means that my contact lenses are in (yay!) or someone’s offering me a job (yay! I can afford my contacts!) So, I was prepared to enjoy this phone call. I wasn’t prepared to be as DELIGHTED as I was when on the other end of the line, Scott, a representative from the WNBA’s New York Liberty, introduced himself, told me that he got my number from a friend of mine, and offered me free VIP tickets to the Liberty vs. Sparks game that Sunday! Any amount of tickets that I wanted! He promised 10th row seats! Now, it turns out that my friend half did this as a prank, because, although I played college basketball and I love basketball and he knows this, getting a call from the WNBA is inherently funny (he later wrote me, “Oh, it’s the LiberTINES we like. My bad”). Now, a note on the WNBA and jokes regarding the WNBA: For example, when Noah asked me if we were going to an actual stadium or “Someone’s living room who has a tiny hoop set up over the door,” I told him to be quiet. As a rule, I rigorously defend the WNBA when people (Noah, everyone) make fun of it because a) they’re better than you at basketball and b) they play for basically nothing. So, just, like, shut up about the WNBA, OK?

Noah: I received a phone call from Sarah Walker last week, which was horrifying because she wanted me to attend a WNBA game with her. I’m not even that into regular sports to begin with. In order to care about a game, I have to somehow be invested in some sort of story line (i.e. Lebron James’ hubris is unacceptable) or have some sort of attachment to the city and team as a whole (i.e. living in Boston in 2004 when an entire city was going to have a nervous breakdown if the Red Sox lost again.) So most regular season games in any sport I would have been relatively unexcited to see. I, however, was especially unexcited to see a WNBA game. The women in the league are enormously talented athletes; no one can dispute that. But there’s no guarantee that they are the best female basketball players. If you’re the best male basketball player of your age, you are for sure going to the NBA. If, however, you are the best female basketball player of your age, you could still end up being a doctor or a financial analyst. The incentives to keep you playing basketball just aren’t there. So, as a WNBA spectator, even if you can come to terms with the idea that female basketball players will, in general, be less fast, less strong, and jump less high than their male counterparts, you’re still watching what might be less than the greatest women basketball players. Also, no neck tattoos. IS THIS EVEN SPORTS?!

Sarah: Shut up, Noah.

How Sarah Got Drunk:

The game was at 4, so I figured that we could get together at 1 so I could get sufficiently hammered and Noah could let his pot baked goods sink in. I emailed and texted and called Noah in the morning and he didn’t pick up until 1:30, which was, you know, great. Half an hour that I could have been drinking, gone. We decided that we didn’t have to be at the game EXACTLY on time, which was a very liberating realization, similar to how one feels when one is drunk and not inhibited. This was already a fantastic day. We met at 2:30 Pianos, which is a bar on the Lower East Side that serves frozen margaritas that use grain tequila, which is probably illegal and at least twice as alcoholic as regular tequila, I bet. I’m no alcohol scientist. Point being, I wasn’t taking any chances on the possibility of just getting tipsy like a wimp who drinks with her gloved pinky sticking out. I would clench my ungloved hand tightly around those margs. Or, if I did have a glove, it would be the kind without fingers. When I walked in I saw that my friend Jay was bar tending. I explained to him what Noah and I were doing and he did not question the validity or logic or safety of our adventure. Instead, he made me a cobra margarita (after my first regular margarita), which involves putting an extra shot of tequila on top of the frozen margarita. Then he had a shot of tequila with me on our way out. Bless him. Also, don’t worry, I ate a veggie burger. It’s called responsibility. I know I was drunk when I left because I did my impression of this Disaronno commercial for Noah a couple of times. I don’t regret that, it was really funny and I’ll do it for you if you ask me, drunk or sober.


How Noah Got High:

After deciding that smoking a joint outside of a stadium was likely to result in an arrest, I called my friend Joe to see if he had any pot cookies left over from that time we had gotten high to go see a taping of Governor Mike Huckabee’s Fox talk show. Fortunately, there were two left in the freezer. I smoked a little at my house and then picked up the cookies on the way to meet Sarah at Piano’s. Upon arriving at the bar I ate one of the cookies and had a sip of Sarah’s cobra margarita. The cookie was delicious. The cobra margarita tasted like drunk lava. I then watched Sarah eat a veggie burger and demanded that she give me the olives that came with her side salad. She totally let me have them. So far, so good.

Getting There:

Sarah: Did I mention I was feeling fantastic? It was sunny and warm, my feelings towards myself, humanity, Noah, the WNBA and our forthcoming adventure were also sunny and warm, so I joyfully hailed us a cab. Even when the cabbie decided to take us directly up 6thAvenue despite the very real presence of the Gay Pride Parade on 6th Avenue, which everyone, especially cab drivers, one would assume, knew about, I did not get upset. I mean, I could have warned him about the parade, but it was one of those things where you assume something is so obvious that it would be insulting to tell someone, especially a professional driver, because that’s his job and I don’t want to imply that he couldn’t do his job, but, seriously, he couldn’t do his job. BUT NO MATTER! Because, again, being drunk is GREAT! We finally made it to Penn Station with time to spare. I traipsed to the ticket machine, like I was doing a ribbon dance with no ribbon, while Noah disappeared with the vague mumblings that he was getting food. I seem to recall asking Noah a lot about his relationship with girls, but I don’t really remember. I do remember trying to keep the conversation going as Noah got more and more silent. When we got on the escalator to go down to the track, there was suddenly a bottleneck at the bottom, with more people spilling down the escalator and panicked shouts of “Keep moving!” Basically, we were in a crowd crushing/trampling situation, which is very serious, but I was just relaxed enough to not panic and, spoiler, we didn’t die. But it wasn’t pleasant. We got on the train, got a row all to ourselves, and while Noah ate his burrito, I took out my flask, which I had filled with rosé. Yes, rosé. Class. Act. I was also wearing my fun lady drinking hat, which I knew I should wear because I can only wear it when I’m drunk because it’s sort of a stupid hat. The train ride was only 15 minutes long and we had a GREAT TIME.

Drinking Hat

Noah: So, getting to the game was a fucking nightmare. My cookie started to kick in as we got into a cab. I began thinking about a number of things: Bed bugs, my savings account, whether or not I call my family enough… Things like that. Then all of a sudden, Sarah said, “Oh, we’re stuck in a parade, should we tell the cab drive to take another route?” and I was like, “CAN’T YOU SEE I”M DEALING WITH MY OWN PROBLEMS!”

Finally, we got to Penn Station where we both stood dumbfounded in front of the touch screen ticket purchasing booth like two blind kids playing electronic photo hunt at a bar. I felt weak; I needed food. I got a burrito supreme from a taco bell in the food court. I’m ashamed to say it was delicious. Then, on the escalator down to the train platform, there was then a potential trampling incident, but that actually didn’t scare me at all because I was preoccupied with “should I call my dad?” On the train, I began complaining about people who like breakfast the most out of any meal. “Really. You want someone to just crack open an egg, heat it up, charge you $11, and that’s you’re favorite?” In retrospect, I guess I was talking more about brunch. Sarah then asked if we were in Newark yet. I told her there was no way of knowing.

The Game:

Sarah: We knew we were in Newark because the conductor said that we were. There was also a sign that said “Newark” and the time was the designated time that we were supposed to be there. Having drunk from a flask made me feel awesome and badass. I started thinking about how life is for the living and I should have adventures all the time and I want to go to Coney Island and Governor’s Island and Roosevelt Island and all the places I’ve never been, especially islands. There’s just SO MUCH for the TAKING in New York!! I felt smug that I was in Newark on a Sunday, attending a cultural event. Like I was doing my part for doing Interesting Things. Then Noah told me about a show where Brian Unger explains how different states got their shapes and it fucking BLEW MY MIND. Why hadn’t anyone ever thought of that before for a show?? I was so genuinely interested, and I made Noah tell me everything he knew about it, which was not a lot and I forget what he did tell me. We went to the Will Call line and got our tickets and went to our section, and the fact that we did all of this smoothly and without anyone giving us weird looks made me feel pretty proud of ourselves, because I was initially concerned over our lack of any responsible, sober adult chaperoning us. I got a beer and we went down to our seats which were not 10th row, as promised, but 5th row. I believe the term for that is BALLER!! I had a smile plastered on my face and enjoyed every sip of my eight dollar Bud Lite and thought that the little girl sitting next to me was super cute and took like five photos of her, but not in a weird way.

Little Girl

I also got misty eyed about women playing for the love of the game and how cool it was to see the stadium so full of fans and just USA am I right?? Then Scott found us, a fresh faced young man in a suit, and earnestly asked us if we were OK and that’s when I got sooooort of nervous because I didn’t want him to know how effed up we were nor did I want him to think that we were mocking him or the WNBA or women or the United States. As soon as he left we celebrated by me getting another beer and Noah getting a slice of pizza. There was a mascot with a Statue of Liberty crown that was strangely droopy and that confused me. I was alternately delighted by the Droopy Crowned Mascot’s t-shirt gun and the guy who did tricks with spinning balls with the help of his 7 year old daughter. It was fucking adorable and I told Noah, “This is fucking adorable.”

Mascot scoreboard

It was around this time that Noah suddenly became animated and talked for ten minutes about how stupid cotton candy is. He said, “It’s impossible as an Adult to justify eating cotton candy. We all know better that that.” But then he switched gears: “Why isn’t cotton candy in more desserts as a topping? Especially at hospitals as gauze on medical birthday cake?” It appeared that Noah was, indeed, stoned. I was, indeed, drunk.

Sarah Game Drunk

Noah:  We got to the arena and Sarah was able to get the tickets from will call with no incident. That was a relief. She then went to the bathroom for what might have been anywhere from 30 seconds to six decades. I have no idea. But I’ll tell you this much: it was enough time to eat another whole pot cookie and come to fully regret it. We then made our way to our seats, which were on the floor. Did you know that floor seats aren’t scary because it’s not as if a WNBA player is going to make fun of you just because you’re nearby? Well, I didn’t know that at the time. And it felt scary.

A few minutes into the game, a man in a suit wanted to TALK TO US. Jesus Christ. “Are you enjoying the game?” he asked. “UHHHHHHHHHHHHHH….” I responded because it seemed like a less weird thing to say than “Is mom okay?” After that, I saw a guy carrying around cotton candy. “Forget mom and dad! I have some very serious opinions about cotton candy!” my brain yelled at other parts of my brain thereby causing my mouth to yell about it to Sarah. Then I was somehow eating a pizza. It had sausage on it. Go, Liberty! Also, I know it’s shitty and chauvinistic to address this in the context of a WNBA game, but there was this one player for L.A. who totally made me go, “Oh, heyyyyyy.”


Getting Home:

Sarah: It was around this time that I noticed that Noah had shut down completely. He was looking ahead, but clearly seeing nothing and not responding to any of my questions. I thought a whiskey would help him, because alcohol is The Best and something that is The Best only helps, right? Wrong, at least for Noah.

Noah with whiskey

You can understand why I would think that though, as alcohol was making everything wonderful for me. It was basically like a joyous Disney cartoon, my WNBA experience, complete with Adorable Creatures (the little girls next to me and the one helping her dad spin balls) and Heroes (the players, Scott, me). That being said, it would have been a terrible movie because there were NO VILLAINS because everyone was awesome. However, I was lucid enough to see that Noah was not speaking anymore, having said everything there was to say about cotton candy, so we decided to go home. I led him out by the hand and we walked the 2 blocks to the train station where I bought a tall boy of Coors Lite, the thought being that although the game was over, the journey was not, and it was my obligation, in the spirit of this experiment, to keep drinking (you’re welcome). We waited on the wrong track for about ten minutes and right before we got on the train I asked the conducter if the train was going to New York and she said no, our train was on the other track. That made me feel very smart and very stupid at the same time. So we rushed over to the other track, caught the train and I triumphantly sipped my beer and talked at Noah who did not seem to hear me for the fifteen minute ride back. Then I made Noah walk with me to the East Village where I joined friends for more drinks, because you can’t just stop drinking just because you’re not at a WNBA game or on a train, you know? That would be silly. So silly.

Noah: “What if I’m just never successful? Am I breathing right? Has that mole always been there? Is this a bedbug bite? Why have we been standing at this track for so long?” That’s all I can remember from the ride back home. At some point Sarah asked if I wanted to come to a bar with her. “What are you, a fucking maniac?” I said before going home and taking a nap that lasted until 11:00 the next morning.


Sarah: As of this writing, two days later, I am still hung over.

Noah: I still need to call my parents.