Last Saturday night, I headed back to my hometown to visit an old friend from High School who was turning the big 4-0. It started innocently enough. Her parent's threw a lovely garden party for approx 50 people. Meanwhile, when I turn 40, I'll be lucky if we can round up a party of 5. Maybe it was the fact that the only thing I'd eaten all day was a Baby Ruth bar in the Phoenix airport, but by the third plastic cup o' wine I was happy as a clam. And Loud. And Friendly. Needless to say I was in no mood to argue when after the party, someone suggested heading down to 4th Ave. - a mecca of hedonistic college bars where I haven't been in almost 18 years.
Going to a crowded college bar is mind-blowingly different at the age of 39 then it is at say the age of 19. For example, I'm pretty sure at 19 I didn't find myself repeatedly screaming at the top of my lungs, "Jesus this band is so loud I can't even hear myself think!" Also, I ordered 5 drinks and pulled out $40, wondering if that was enough to cover the tab and tip. When the bartender told me, "that will be $13," I stared at him cross-eyed in disbelief. Ordering $3 drinks at a college bar made me feel like I was Ivana-freaking-Trump. I gladly handed him a $20 and told him to keep the change. From the expression on the bartender's face, I'm guessing the poor guy doesn't get a lot of $7 tips. He practically creamed his pants and offered to walk the drinks to our table (maybe he felt sorry for us old gals, who had clearly parked our "Lil' Rascals" out front). Either way I felt it was my duty to tip liberally considering all the times I used to steal $1's from the tip jar at the seedy bar I frequented as a poor, underage 18 year old (seriously, some nights I'd come home with more money than I left with. Once again, going to hell).
In retrospect cheap drinks aren't always such a good thing. When a good friend turns 40, cheap shots and vodka/red bulls certainly seem like a good idea, but it all went south when shortly after the bar closed, I found myself being held up in the air on my back ("stage dive" style) by two skinny college girls and their big gay friend who I think might have been the gay in the movie "Mean Girls" and who thought I was the 'bees knees" because I was a housewife from Orange County. My girlfriend took a picture of this (probably because I was screaming at the top of my lungs from my rock and roll stage dive position "Take a Picture!!"): the result was something that you might find in the pages of the 2009 Webster's Dictionary under the word "Muffintop".
Our designated driver (who ironically was a 21 year-old, full-bearded, Latin teacher with the personality of a day-old bran muffin, who unlike us cougar ladies, hardly drank at all) took us back to my girlfriends house where even more bad decisions were made. I guess it's time to call it a night when you find yourself doing a shot of warm Smirnoff Green Apple Vodka out of your girlfriends daughter's mini tea cup from her plastic My Little Pony tea set at 4 a.m. Game over.
The next morning, just like in High School, my mom came to pick me up (but this time to take me to the airport) and I looked and felt like Courtney Love after shooting heroin and doing shots of tequila with her band Hole. It didn't help that my girlfriend had a gas leak at her house, i.e. no hot water, i.e. no shower, i.e. smelly drunk lady with Alice Cooper eyes on a plane. I actually bought a pink fleece blanket at the airport to hide under during the flight which was terrible, to say the least. The 4 year-olds in front of me pulled out their greasy, stinky McDonald's cheeseburgers and the lady next to me ordered a chardonnay - it's called Karma, I know.
When Tom and the kids picked me up, I felt like I'd been rescued from a deserted island - one with no food, but lots of liquor. Never had I been so happy to see my family. I told them I was very "tired"(my code word for hungover beyond belief) and Tom tucked me in on the couch and served me grilled steak and Parmesan mashed potatoes and it was then that I remembered that being 39-going-on-40 (as opposed to 19) isn't so quite bad.
NOTE: The above picture is not me or anyone I know - just some lame old cougar trying to relive her youth. So pathetic!