Friday, July 15, 2005
I'm going to Vegas today on a 'research' assignment. But since whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, instead I leave you with the following apocryphal tale.
Some nights you get ridiculously drunk and do stupid things. This story is about getting stupidly drunk and doing a ridiculous thing. I'm referring to the night that my good friend H walked home from the airport. Now looking back, I should have known something was wrong with him from the time we left Toppers, a bar on top of the Radisson in Santa Monica that serves up one mean ass happy hour. We had spent a good hour or two drinking bottomless margueritas and watching the sun dip into the ocean. So now H is sitting alone in the backseat of my jeep, head back and arms outstretched, his fingers touching the sides of the car, making some weird gargling noise as the wind rushes over him and we speed to S's house to pick up her suitcases and take her to the airport. Perhaps having cocktails before driving to the airport wasn't such a good idea. In any case, it must have been the drive that sealed it. Something happened to him on that long drive down the highway in that open car with the wind in his ears. That's where I truly lost him, before we ever physically lost him at the airport. But I get ahead of myself.
We arrive at the airport barely in time for S to catch her flight and as she's waving H blithely jumps off the back of my car and says, "I'll be back. I have to piss." The infamous last words as he leaves never to return again. Now the thing is, this was pre-911 times, when the world was a safer friendlier place. Had he pulled something like this now, I might have alerted Homeland Security on his ass myself and reported him as a suicide bomber. Launching his own private jihad one piss at a time. But back then, I just imagined that he was passed out in one of the bathroom stalls. Oh how he must wish right now that he was. A massive manhunt was launched via pay phone between me, our friend Nammy and H's wife that involved me standing by the car waiting lest H return, and Nammy roaming from stall to stall looking for a body. By the time two hours passed we had given him up for dead. Or figured he was sipping pina coladas in Mexico. But one last call to his wife brought us this unexpected information: "He just got home. But coming by wouldn't be such a good idea right now."
If H could fill in his part of the story for you it would be this. When he emerged from the bathroom, my car wasn't there. He waited. Then he took off for home without his wallet or any personal items which were still in my car. He was wearing steel-toed shoes. They were extremely heavy. He had to walk through Inglewood. A tough neighborhood. He's white. He feigns he wasn't scared. He most certainly was. He had to take another leak along the way. He used the only money he had to buy a soda so he could use the bathroom at a fastfood joint. He could have used that money to call home. He didn't. He arrived home weary and angry, sustained on the way only by the sheer venom with which he cursed me every loathful step of the long walk home for abandoning him.
What we eventually pieced together was that H upon leaving the bathroom was a little disoriented (read 'drunk out of his bleeping mind'). He came out at Arrivals while we futilely waited at Departures one floor directly above. A David Copperfield ending if there ever was one. Since then, he's been remorseful for cussing me out so badly. But being the unforgiving bitch that I am, I like to pay him back for that night by mercilessly repeating this story over and over to anyone who will listen. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Posted by babibi at 5:02 AM