I seem to have found myself in a ditch in what can only be Guadalajara, Mexico. I have awoken here, my skin melting from the all-consuming heat and my head pounding from one of the worst hangovers of the summer.
Let me explain;
It was my platonic friend Matthew’s going away party last night and he had invited twelve friends for karaoke at a dive bar in the Lower East Side (of Manhattan). Matthew was going away to Europe to “find himself”, and this demanded a send-off. He could tell I was in a less than glowing party mood, and when I told him I was later meeting up with my friend Anne (the ‘wild one’) he expressed a faux-parental concern.
“You be careful! Don’t want you to wake up in a ditch in Mexico or something”
His girlfriend Theresa chips in.
“Yes, we know you’re an adult, but we care about you. Make sure you get home safe.”
Oh, how I have failed them both. Because, obviously, I’ve woken up in a ditch in Guadalajara, Mexico and not gotten home safe. It’s a good thing that Matthew is boarding a flight to Amsterdam (layover in Norway) and will not learn of my tragedy for at least another ten hours. By then, I’ll have time to figure this whole thing out, and who cares what he thinks anyway. He’s not my mom. Oh god, my head.
Guadalajara is nothing like the Lower East Side, nor Chelsea (where Anne and I later went), nor Williamsburg (where I reside), nor the Upper West Side (where Anne resides). Guadalajara is hot, sticky, sandy, stagnant and has a powerful smell that actually kind of reminds me of home. No, wait, that smell is the vomit in my hair.
I scan my throbbing brain for memories of last night, any hints or clues that would lead to my eventual waking up in a ditch in Mexico. I see flashbacks of catching the last M train uptown, flirting with tattooed mixologists, yelling at tourists near Times Square, sharing a hot dog with Anne – she is a wild one – throwing my phone on the curb in a mystery rage, stumbling on sidewalks, and whiskey, tequila and whiskey.
I have never woken up in a ditch in Mexico after a wild night out before. I usually manage to take a cab home, even if it involves holding in throw-up as we soar over the Williamsburg Bridge. I thought that I was getting better at drinking, getting wiser with age. It must be the fact that Matthew specifically told me to “be careful” and “not wake up in a ditch in Mexico” that this happened. Oh dear. I really should listen to the advice that my peers give me.
I’m not a heavy drinker, nor an alcoholic. I’m a sensible person with a job that pays me money. I recently willingly went to the dentist to have two fillings. That should give you an insight into the kind of sensible person I am. It must be wild Anne’s influence on me or, more likely, it’s Matthew’s advice that told me to “be careful” and “not wake up in a ditch in Mexico.”
I have never been to Mexico before. The closest I have come was spending a summer in San Jose, California. Mexico is not how I imagined. It’s not a big, beachy resort, nor a dangerous smog-valley. The landscape certainly does not resemble the scenery on the walls at any Mexican restaurant I have ever attended.
I find the strength, like on so many hungover mornings before, to lift up my body, dust off my little black dress and examine my surroundings. The Mexican sun almost instantly blinds me as I fully open my mascara-glued eyelids. The whis-quila sways in my stomach and makes it difficult to sit upright. As I manage to compose myself, and climb out of the ditch, I am shocked and surprised see green trees, pavement and the familiar smell of subway grates and black coffee.
I have not woken up in a ditch in Guadalajara, Mexico but a ditch in Jersey City, New Jersey! I laugh, and brush this off as just another one of those “necessary life experiences” and savor the knowledge that I can get home from here in twenty minutes, ditch to door.
Take that, Matthew.