I arrived at my friends house with wine in hand, and the smell of homemade food greeted me at the door. I was about to have dinner with my favourite couple, and after studying in the afternoon (which more or less consisted of napping with my textbooks open beside me) I was looking forward to good food and good conversation.
After a delicious dinner, we sat in the backyard under the open sky, breathing in fresh country air and sipping on glasses of wine. It felt like an easy evening, and I was grateful for it.
Then, fuelled by thoughts of being in a very loud place with lots of sweaty people, six simple words rolled off my tongue:
“We should go to the bar.”
About an hour and a half later, we found ourselves in a very long line full of people that clearly knew what “pre-gaming” meant. I surveyed everyone waiting in line as I wobbled up to it, shaky from deciding to wear the high heels I throw on twice a year, and came to the conclusion that the bar was temporarily closed for the night and was currently operating as a daycare.
My God, when did I get this old? I know I’ve joked about it before, but everyone looked like they could still order off the kid’s menu. I looked at my friend, “did we look like this 10 years ago?” Just as the words came out of my mouth, someone in front of us passed back a 40 of vodka that had made it’s way through the crowd. We handed it to the people behind us, passing on whatever mystery illnesses might be lurking.
The atmosphere was almost exactly like I remembered, but I was no longer looking at it through 18 year old eyes. Everything was…..sticky. We quickly made our way to the beer tub, and I wondered how many I would need to drink before I didn’t feel like I could be everyone’s mother.
We found our way to the dance floor, and I had recalled why I enjoyed nights like these. Having a cold beer in hand while rocking out next to friends is something that I still love, even at a venue where the majority of the people have never heard of Green Day or knew the joys of running home after school to catch an episode of Full House.
The bar gods were smiling on us that night, when a change of plans had us in the back of a truck, heading towards a downtown pub. The blaring country music was far behind us, as we walked into one of my favourite places to grab a beer. Dance music boomed upstairs, and the now four of us quickly grabbed some drinks. We weren’t dancing long before a smiling guy came over, and leaned towards my ear, *in a heavy French accent* “Ah, hello, can I buy you a drink?” I looked at him and laughed, he must have been all of 19, so I politely let him know I was a little out of his age range.
“Ah, oui, oui, you are old, yes, but not terribly old.”
I looked at him, now with a very unimpressed expression. “Thanks for that”, I mumbled, “but I shouldn’t mix alcohol with all the old people pills I have to take.”
I ventured off to the washroom, only to be greeted with the sight of a bathroom attendant who had enough products to take care of any bar emergency. I cringed a little, as I always felt like you had to give them a dollar every time they handed you a paper towel. Digging through my purse, I only had bills on me, but I managed to scrounge up fifty cents. After being provided with the necessary paper towel to dry my hands, I handed her the fifty cents, and was greeted with about the same expression as I had given the smooth French guy only minutes earlier.
That’s when I was approached by a very drunk, very loud girl, who requested a favour.
“EXCUSE ME! DO YOU KNOW TO BRAID HAIR?”
I stared at her blankly for a moment, unsure if this was code for something, or if she was really asking a stranger to braid her hair in a public washroom at one in the morning. She looked so hopeful, and a little desperate, so I looked her in her bloodshot eyes and nodded.
“OH THANK GOD! I HAD A FISHTAIL BRAID BUT IT FELL OUT AND THIS IS A MESS! PLEASE HELP ME!”
Besides shouting as if I were a football field away, she was a pleasant girl, so while getting major side-eye from the washroom attendant, I got to work on her hair emergency.
That’s when I chuckled to myself a bit. I was drunk, sweaty ,and braiding a strangers hair in a downtown washroom. But, after spending the night with friends, and allowing the release of some pent-up energy, I felt like I needed this night.
I made my way back to the dance floor, had a couple more drinks, and was in my friends car, on route to McDonald’s. The bar night finished off at home, sitting at the kitchen table with my cheeseburger while I wondered if that girl’s fishtail braid had brought her the joy she was looking for.
It was a happy, messy night filled with friends, food, and drinks, and even though I nursed quite the hangover this morning, I would gladly do it again.