After Writers Group on Monday I promised to meet up with some people from work. I’m really not feeling up to it, and I have work in the morning, but I feel like I have to go because Jackson is 21! Brooke and I arrive around the same time at 10:30pm and walk into The Basement together. Yes, there is a local bar called The Basement which is funny to anyone who used to go to Nick’s house almost every weekend. I’m sure lots of people used to hang out in their friend’s basements when they were younger, but it got to the point where I wasn’t going to Nick’s house; I was going to The Basement. Oh wait, sorry, hanging out in basements is not something people in California do. I found this out from Erin. He had a girlfriend who lived in New Jersey and would visit from time to time. He starts saying some things that make you Jersey – one of them being hanging out in basements. Wait, why, is that weird? Everyone really got a kick out of that because apparently, yes, it is weird.
We walk in and Jackson is completely hammered. We’re too late! They started drinking too early and Rocco and Luke are terrible influences! They keep feeding him shots, even now as he can’t speak words. I planned on buying him a drink but instead ask the bartender for a pint glass of water. Jackson drinks the whole thing, thankfully. He brought a disposable camera out which is amazing and I start taking pictures. I’m glad I came. You’re 21st birthday is the best!
I was a senior in college at the time. Classes hadn’t started, but I was still at Monmouth for preseason. Very fortunately, my birthday fell on a weekend when we didn’t have practice the next day. A bunch of college friends were there, along with Sarah and Nick and I forget who else. We started pre-gaming at McConville’s house in Monmouth Beach. Her parents (my college parents) kindly hosted all of us and maybe even dropped us off at the bar. Donovan’s Reef was awesome. The bar was on the beach, and who doesn’t love drinking on the beach? It was packed but not in an annoying way because there was still so much space to walk around. (Maybe comparable to Seacrets in OCMD for those who have never been to Donovan’s.) I think it was Sarah who told me I had to take 21 shots. She kept track with a tally written in eyeliner on my arm. In between shots I drank water. Totally thought I could do it. Sure I did some tequila shots, but I was doing a bunch of fruity shots and they don’t really count. Right? Wrong. I made it to 14 and was done. Don’t remember the ride home. It’s OK, people, I was surrounded by friends.
Turning 21 was a really big deal because I never had or tried to use a fake I.D. Doesn’t seem like a big deal but a lot of my friends – especially girls – used a fake I.D. before 21. So the bar scene was as exciting as I thought it would be. I loved being carded. Yes, I am 21! I still like being carded. It’s the best. And for those of you “women” out there who get annoyed when I card you? Bite me. Take it as a freakin’ compliment.
I will never forget my 21st birthday, but the most memorable 21st birthday I’ve ever experienced was the twins’. It was just the four sisters (I was 23 and Sarah, 24). A low-key, bar hopping night. I drove the first leg to South Philly Tap Room. Stephen was working, so we did a tequila shot with him because that’s what you do in our family. We had a couple delicious beers there. I could have stayed all night, but we had to keep the party going back in WD. Next stop, Sarah’s old work, Capn’ Cats. I was supposed to drive, but was already a little too tipsy at this point, so Sarah drove. It was dead here, as usual, and just how I like it. Love this place. I come here for Blue Moon, the jukebox, and oyster crackers. And Carol, the bartender. A couple beers here, and then it’s off to Hollywood. Sarah driving, Chris in the passenger seat, me and Court in back. We’re on some dark road that I of course forget the name of because I don’t pay attention to that stuff.
Anyway, the radio is blaring and we are singing a song at the top of our lungs. I wish I could remember what song (pretty sure it was ‘N Sync), but I was a little too preoccupied by the red lights flashing behind us. Sarah pulls over and you could say we are appropriately freaking out a bit. Since Sarah has taken over driving responsibilities (probably because I drank too much), she hasn’t had nearly as many drinks as us, but definitely enough to be in some serious trouble. She tries to stay calm and I think, we’re fucked and it’s partly my fault. Next thing I know there’s a flashlight in Sarah’s face and a cop asking for her license and registration. I can’t see his face. Sarah is super polite and nervous as she hands it over. The cop doesn’t say much and walks back to his car.
Courtney is the first one to speak. “Oh my God, it’s Mr. Simpson.” (Not his real name.) She starts to laugh a relieved, nervous laugh. Christine whips her head around. “Not uh!” Oh my God, are you serious? I cannot believe this. We are all giggling now. Sarah is the only one of us who doesn’t personally know him, but she knows him by name. He’s Anthony’s Dad, and we are friends with Anthony. (And Mr. Simpson was a chaperone for my senior trip and we hung out. He’s the man.) He’s definitely going to recognize Sarah’s last name. I don’t think Sarah is convinced, because he doesn’t really know her, but we don’t have time to talk much more because he’s approaching the car again. He bends down and looks in the car at us. I’m sure we all have the same stupid, guilty smiles on our faces. Hi, Mr. Simpson. I’m still a little scared until he speaks. “Drunk assholes.” We all lose it and are cracking up. We’re so sorry! Sarah promises that she’s not drinking anymore (she doesn’t). He tells us to be careful and mostly not to be stupid. We are sooooo lucky.
Sarah is definitely shaken up as we continue our drive, but man does it make for a great story to tell our friends at Hollywood. We hit up Clancy’s, Schileen’s, and end the night at The Pennant. I barely remember the end of the night, but I will say it’s the most bar hopping I’ve ever done. Not that bar hopping was the most memorable part of the evening. Good times.