Wednesday, March 11, 2009

hopefully, this is better than an inscense holder...

They told us in rehab that most alcoholics vomit the first time they drink. It’s some kind of sign that maybe, you’re incredibly allergic to this substance and should stay the hell away from it. I’m reading a book called On Writing by Stephen King, an alcoholic who talks about the first time he got drunk. He vomited.
I did to.
As is tradition, everyone gets a blog on their birthday. The saintly KG is no different. And as I’m reading this book and thinking of KG’s 31st birthday, I remembered that I was with her the first time I got drunk and threw up all over the floor of our friend Ani’s mom’s bathroom. We had to be at least 17, really because that’s when we started hanging out together. Both KG and I were less than popular in high school and both had 4th period free. We were such nerds that we’d worked the system enough to finagle a free period and also arranged for said free period to fall on Underclassmen lunch hour.
KG and I kinda knew each other, mainly because we were both friends with this Ani who held what we regarded as a facist hold over our sad little group. Over this free 4th period, KG and I had found each other and, unable to blend with any Freshman, took to hanging out behind the Commons and bitching about Ani.
One of the many great things about KG is that her house was 3 blocks from campus, unlike mine which was 45 minutes away through bridges and tunnels. I practically lived at her folks’ where we’d order Chinese food and watch X Files marathons. We spent a lot of time at Java Beach, a coffee joint we regarded as our turf. I suspected that as adults, our lives would be a great deal like most episodes of Friends.
KG and I prided ourselves on being weird, in all honestly because we might as well own what everyone else was saying about us anyway. Or at least they would be if they knew who we were. Whenever college majors or career plans came up, which they did constantly at our high school, KG would always say she wanted to be the person that makes balloon animals at Chevy’s. I found this brilliant.
Our friend Brian had a younger brother who went to another high school and had a confidence we didn’t possess. He was able to get his hands on an extra bottle of Seagram’s 7 and hooked us up. Since we never went to any of the “cool” parties, we’d never really had any access to alcohol, which apparently, the entire student body had extensive experience with.
Not us.
We could quote the entirety of Reservoir Dogs.
So one weekend, we were all spending the night at Ani’s mom’s house and pulled out this bottle of Seagram’s. In my hazy recollection, everyone was too chicken to drink whatever kind of booze Seagram’s is. Everyone except me.
Before I knew it, I drank the whole thing.
The first thing about this night I remember is that my eyes wouldn’t change focus, like a camera panning left to right as opposed to a head. “You guys, I think I’m totally drunk.”
No one seemed to care and I continued to drink. Eventually, I got up and lay down in Ani’s room, occasionally hollering for one of our little group to come and entertain me. As I lay in the dark alone, I could hear them talking. And I could hear KG say, “I think she’s faking it.”
God bless her, KG had no experience with the results of drinking an entire bottle of anything. The next thing I knew, I was attempting to make my way to the bathroom as my friends rolled their eyes.
Which is of course, when all hell broke loose.
Speaking as a relatively experienced drunk, I can tell you something very important I learned that night. At times like this, nothing on Earth feels better than cold, clean tile on your skin.
I barfed, I cried, I laughed, I drifted in and out of consciousness.
And the only person that took care of me was KG, cleaning it all up, wiping my face, tying my hair back, putting me in bed.
That’s a pretty good friend, right? I mean, that shit was gross.
Years later, when I was 25, I had to spend 3 days in the hospital after major surgery (I used to be a man.) All of my friends and family came to visit me and drugged up as I was, I found it exhausting to perk up for each of their visits. “Oh, terrific. Magazines. Thanks.” Then KG showed up at 9am and announced, “I’m just staying here all day so take naps, ignore me, watch TV. I’m not leaving.” I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to hear that. And I cannot tell you that of all of the people in this world, KG was the only one in my hospital room when a nurse came in and announced she’d be removing my catheter.
That’s a pretty good friend, right? I mean, that shit was gross.
Years later, when I was 30 and stuck in rehab, I completed my dreadful 28 days and was beyond proud and relieved that my parents and brother were driving up to watch my graduation and take me home. And as I stood in the middle of a room filled with drunks and junkies, getting sent out into this scary world to fend for myself and stay on the wagon, I looked up at the visitors’ area for a reassuring glace at my family.
And there, right where she belongs, was KG.
That’s a pretty good friend, right? Trust me, that joint was gross.

So Happy Birthday MRS. KATHERINE BARBARA JEAN HAYES GREEN! You are brilliantly funny, incredibly kind, insanely loyal and it would be profoundly impossible for me to ever be half the friend that you have been to me.

I’m three days late. Blame it on that Seagrams’…


KG said...

Thank you.

This made me laugh, cry, and then laugh and cry some more.

You're a wonderful friend too!

sfmike said...

That's your best birthday blog ever.

Clair said...

You are a very lucky girl.

Karyn said...

I remember hearing about Katherine over and over in the years we hung out - but never met her... but she has to be the most beautiful bride I have ever seen!

Spots said...

Soooo lucky. I also forgot to remind you all that Katherine is the friend who MADE me a Gavin Newsom plush toy during my courageous struggle for sobriety. I think she should start a business...