Underthecurrent


February 23, 2010, 6:11 am
Filed under: nomadisms, runaway

I realized, paging back through this incarnation, that it’s basically void of the stories over the months I was gone. I thought I’d been documenting everything a little better.

*

The fog was so heavy I thought we’d never see the promised mountains that we’d come out this far to find. We hauled our bags along the street to find a place to sleep, and then a place to party.

The night before was all prelude. We tried to figure out what was happening. Our room was unhelpful – two guys from a few hours away had rolled in late and rolled out just as early. The other guest was a Swede who would wear his tight long underwear around after his daily ski session. We were hoping, given his height and muscular thighs, he would be a contender to make out with our friend. He asked where we were from, and she mentioned she was from the city nearby.

“Do you ski?” He said.
“No,” she replied.
“That’s weird.”

He then strode across the room to find some kind of peanut butter energy bar. I had told L.G. that our objective was to make the magic happen. In fact, we had done this before on our other roadtrip six months and a few thousand miles ago. Everything we selected on the trip was to ensure our third wheel wouldn’t be, at least not at the ball drop. We had also selected everything to keep in line with the budgets du jour – one recent grad, one of us temporarily unemployed, and one expat in training. That’s how we found the EVERYTHING FREE ON NEW YEARS flyer.

The EVERYTHING FREE ON NEW YEARS flyer promised cheap drinks, free food, entertainment, and youth. It seemed too good to be true. It wasn’t.

Earlier in the morning, L.G. had gone down to find and scout the advertised free breakfast, which turned out to be a loaf of bread. L.G. described it as watching a bunch of ants maul a sugar hill; entirely young men, gorging themselves on free jam, swarming. He struck up a conversation with a burly rugby player about the flyer – the rugby player confirmed the event was on, and that he would be a bouncer.

Now, the thing about L.G. is that his secret talent is being a Man Whisperer. He is, above and far, the best wingman a girl can find. I have no idea what he said to this bouncer over the jam, but he convinced him that our friend was his midnight destiny.

We started at three with a weak assortment of Australians, one hefty khaki wearing lady from New Zealand, and a filthy Brit. Yes, the sort of people who would show up at three to an everything free party. Midway through the rounds, the Kiwi put her hand on L.G’s arm, which he pointed out to me through disapproving eyebrow communication. I shrugged. We played on and searched for candidates. The bouncer attempted to make contact with our friend, she was oblivious. We played on. Three pints in, all of us were working the room in support of Operation Third Wheel.

I had found the two guys from our room last night. They were wearing matching sweaters. We did shots. L.G. scouted the strong Aussie contingent and talked surfing. We did shots. The first musical act appeared, which L.G. correctly observed was the guy who worked at the front desk wearing a wig and rapping over old indie pop. They only had three verses, and a very lewd chorus, but pint five had taken effect and the free food was only intermittent pierogies on a platter where you were permitted one before it was quickly moved away.

While I was talking to additional candidates, and doing shots, our friend the Kiwi had proceeded to aggressively hit on L.G. He elected to respond to her behavior by grabbing my backside, grabbing me, and at one point hoisting me in the air and spinning me around. Pint eight. The Kiwi had been ditched by the people she came with, won a chugging contest and a large Pilsner beer stein, sucked the face of an eighteen year old Aussie right off on the dance floor during the first act, and then was escourted out as she appeared to pass out – but not before giving me a perplexing shove in the back and three elbows to the ribs.

But we stayed. I mean, EVERYTHING FREE, right?

The eighteen year old Aussie was on par with the rest of the room and staggered towards the bathroom where L.G. waited in line.

“Heeeeyyy,” he slurred, “I saw you hitting on her, we can settle this right here,” he gargled, stepping into L.G.’s space. Apparently, there was some confusion that my boyfriend was interested in his Kiwi score.
I will end you.” L.G. deadpanned. The Aussie took three steps back, nodded politely, forgot about the bathroom, and did some shots.

Meanwhile, my friend and I had appropriated the abandoned beer stein as a purse trophy and were continuing to work the increasingly small room we had been in for six hours. A D.J. from Vancouver played very slow music, hopefully for free. More candidates were interviewed, with mixed success, as it was revealed my friend was more and more oblivious. L.G. still favored the bouncer. I favored the free pierogies. The Kiwi reappeared, bloated and risen from the dead. We found ourselves on the one hour homestretch with all our new friends.

“I need to go back,” my friend announced, “now.”

At first I was totally adamant that we stay. Our work in hooking her up was going to be in vain – a failed mission! Plus, if we left we’d never get back in for the count down. But, a small rational voice cried out over the third act that it was time to take her back and ensure she didn’t meet an icy end on the way. The Kiwi gave a lazy eyed glare as I foreclosed on her New Years make out plans, taking L.G. with me.

The Swede awaited. When we got back to our room, there were no less than twenty people in it and five full beer spilled on the floor. As we arrived, the room cleared out. The Swede had broken pace and was almost jovial. Sensing the final opportunity of the night, we left our friend and set off for the fireworks in the middle of town with everyone else.

“Are you going to come to the fireworks?” The Swede asked her.
“I can’t.”
“You should really come with us. Now. To the fireworks.” He made his move. She knew it.
“I can’t. I can’t.”
“That’s weird.”

And my friend rang in the New Year alone, possibly by throwing up pints twelve through fifteen. L.G. and I rang it in without a countdown, on a winter street in a dark mountain town, watching fireworks we could almost, sort of, see.

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