Day Seventeen - A picture of a crazy night.
I can probably count the number of times I've been drunk in my lifetime on less than two hands. Well, maybe two and a half hands, but definitely less than three. Anyway, this was one of those times. This was taken at the start of our evening of carousing in downtown Helena, and before I'd been introduced to my first Long Island iced tea.
(One of the benefits of not being much of a drinker is that on the rare occasion I do want to get a little tipsy, it doesn't take much. Needless to say, my liver wasn't prepared for the alcoholic onslaught that is a Long Island iced tea and a little bit would've gone a long way. To this day, I'm amazed that I didn't blow chunks.)
We wound up at Bullwhackers, the closest thing to a "trendy" bar in Helena at the time (you know, the kind with lots of neon and those spinning lights & doohickies stacked en masse around the DJ's workstation). I remember feeling eons older than the college kids who were in there, even though I was only twenty-three and all of them could surely drink me under the table. (Heck, given that hardly anyone seems to graduate from college in four years anymore, most of them were probably the same age as me.) We loudly leaned around our table and discussed, well, a whole bunch of crap, I imagine. Loudly. For some reason, we'd always get going about politics when we were drinking. I'm sure many salient, erudite points were made. Loudly.
After the bar closed, we all walked back to our friend Stephanie's apartment (where this picture was taken), drunkenly stumbling through the Walking Mall up past the playground, probably being loud and obnoxious. Definitely being loud and obnoxious, actually.
In retrospect, I'm not sure why this night stands out in my memory bank - nothing particularly crazy happened, even, just your garden-variety drunken 20-somethings-out-on-the-town stuff. (And I don't think it's just a Long Island iced tea fog making me forget anything, either.) I think the reason I remember it so fondly was that it was just, well, fun. I'd been really shy my first six months in Helena, hiding out alone in my apartment a lot. So when I started to let my guard down that winter and got to know the other VISTAs in town, it was like the world went from black-and-white to Technicolor. My social universe kind of exploded in a way it hadn't since I was in high school. I never busted loose in college in the normal sense -- I didn't drink, my idea of crazy was hanging out in my apartment making movies about killer Furbies. I studied a lot and kept a pretty small circle of close friends. So maybe this little phase of very-intermittent drunken silliness in Helena was my way of playing catch-up? Whatever it was, it sure was fun.