I do not want to move from this super comfortable hotel bed for another four hours. I have to take a shower, but I really can’t move. Do I really need to take a shower? No, I’ll just lay here. This is better. We’re all feeling pretty much the same. Tired and hungover. The four of us are awake – barely – and have that morning conversation after a long night of drinking. These are the best conversations. Stephen is trying to remember last night.
“I didn’t eat anything last night, did I?” Flash back to last night. The limousine drops us at the hotel. We drunkenly walk up to our room and agree that we’re all starving. Let’s go to Applebee’s because it’s right next to the hotel. Steve is all about it, but while one of the twins is in the bathroom, he face plants on the bed. Even though I’m drunk, I know in this moment that if I don’t say another word, he will just pass out and be done for the night. But I’m not letting that happen. One, because I am really hungry and two because this is our family bonding time. Hey, Steve, let’s go. That’s all it takes. He’s on his feet and we’re out the door.
We’re sure the kitchen will be closed – it’s after 1am, but there’s a huge sign outside saying something about food until 3am. That is insane and I couldn’t be happier. It’s on our walk that I really begin to realize the level of my brother’s drunkenness. I’m sure he’s been this drunk in front of me before, but I was probably just as drunk. Somehow I’m aware of the situation. Stephen is a mess. The four of us are seated at a table, still all decked out in our wedding attire. We have two guys helping us. They’re both very friendly. I order a glass of red wine, Christine a beer, and Courtney some ridiculous margarita drink. Stephen orders a water. OK, well at least he’s smart enough to know he’s done for the night. Our server comes back with an enormous margarita for Courtney, two glasses of red wine for me, and two beers for Christine. “These extra ones are on the house.”
This is blowing my mind. First of all, we’re not regulars, you don’t know us, and yet you’re buying us a round. Second of all, we’re all already hammered and you’re serving us extra. Thirdly, well at this point I don’t even try to make sense of it. Bring on the free drinks! Stephen looks at the menu with glazed eyes. He’s not actually reading it and finally puts it down. “You guys order for me. All I want is meat and cheese.” OK, Christine orders some sandwich and Courtney and I get stuff to split between the rest of us. Some sampler platter with boneless wings, mozzarella sticks, and sliders, and then a separate order of chicken wonton tacos. The food comes and I would love to see what we looked like as we all dig in. Stephen looks like he’s making love to the chicken taco. It is amazingly good. Maybe this is because I’m drunk, but wow, so good. We share everything. Stephen eats everything. Christine asks him if he wants some of her sandwich. He says yes to everything. We finally finish our drinks, stumble back to the hotel and pass out after 3am.
Um, yes, Stephen you ate last night. You ate everything. “Then why am I starving??” I don’t know, but I am, too. Jimmy comes to pick us up. We are so not ready so we tell him to come up to our room. Now we get to have the morning after conversation with Jimmy. How far is the airport? He’s in on the joke and laughs. “It actually is about 20 minutes from here.” Of course it is.
It’s been fun hanging out with Jimmy. He lives in Denver now, so he tells me Mike and I are invited any time. I’ve never been to Denver, and it’s not too far from us, so that would be awesome. He drops us at the airport and we thank him and hug him goodbye. The family’s flight is much earlier than mine. We’d like to get something to eat together, but they want to go to their gate first and I can’t, so we part ways. Whenever I say bye to them I always feel like I will actually see them soon, even though in this case, it will be another nine months.
I go to my gate and see that David and Brittany’s gate is only two down from mine. We both have flights to Tampa first, but then they’re going to Germany for their honeymoon. I feel like I barely hung out with David this weekend. I wish we had more time. After they leave I finally get something to eat, and then sit with my bagel in a chair at my gate. An hour until my flight. Wish I could sleep but there’s no way – I’m afraid I’ll sleep through my flight. Try to read but my eyes keep closing. Finally I board and do get some kind of sleep on the hour flight.
The second leg is the long one. The flight attendant explains that we can use the screen in front of us to watch a movie by simply sliding our card. It’s a 5-hour flight so this should be perfect to pass some of the time. I scroll through the options and finally decide on Snow White and the Huntsman. Now I have to pay for it. I slide my card. Nothing happens. I slide it again. Hmmm. I try every way to slide it and nothing. I’ve got two Germans next to me probably laughing at me. I wish they would use theirs so I could see how it works but they’re perfectly content watching our plane slowly fly across the country on a map. I would totally ask a flight attendant for help, but none of them are walking around. I’m not going to buzz one for this. It’s not that important. And I don’t even know how to buzz them.
Fine, I’ll listen to my ipod for five hours, because there’s no way I’m reading. I’m so exhausted but restless. Finally the flight attendant comes down the aisle with drinks and snacks. I need water. Of course, I didn’t buy a bottle for the plane. I’m in the aisle seat. German boys next to me both order Pepsi. This flight attendant is so over-the-top friendly, like her smile is painted on. It’s not that she doesn’t seem nice, but it doesn’t seem real. I could never do what she does. She pours the boys their soda first. The cup is full as she goes to hand it to him and spills the whole thing on me. Oh my God, seriously? I have my sweatshirt covering my lap, so the hoodie gets most of it. But I have shorts on, and I can feel it trickling underneath my thighs. I first dry my ipod off, because that’s the only thing that could actually break. Through all this, the flight attendant is apologizing, literally like 17 times she says sorry. I keep saying it’s fine. It’s so weird, I’ve seen fellow co-workers spill on customers plenty of times. It’s the worst. I’ve done it myself. Not this bad, I don’t think, but I’ve definitely done it. I immediately feel bad for her. I keep saying it’s OK, but it’s like she doesn’t hear me. I try to make a joke of it. You couldn’t have spilled the water on me? It’s like she’s not even listening. “I’m so sorry. Can I get you something? Can I get you a real drink? Or a sandwich?” Yes, I would love a drink if I wasn’t still hungover, and yes, I would love a sandwich if I didn’t eat before I got on the plane. I really don’t want anything. I’m really fine and it’s really OK. “Here, M&M’s will make you happy.” She plops down a bag of peanut M&M’s. Well, I do love peanut M&M’s.
I just want to tell her that I’m not an asshole like probably most of the people she has to deal with. This is not the worst thing that could happen to a person. It’s really not that big of a deal. Yea, I’m uncomfortable for a second but it’s not the end of the world. I dry myself off with a bunch of napkins and know that I have to wash my sweatshirt as soon as I get home (definitely won’t do that). Shit happens. No big deal.
I’m back before 7pm, but it feels like 10pm. I feel like I’ve just been flying all day. Wait outside the terminal for Mike to pick me up. I look around and feel California around me and smile. I’m glad to be home.