You may think I am talking about physical exercise, and I could be. Over the past couple of weeks, I have been trying to get my muscles back in shape. I got a wake-up call three weeks ago when I went to play ultimate frisbee with a friend and came home two hours later barely able to move. Once my body recovered, I began exercising a little each day in preparation for the next frisbee game. We skipped a week because of bad weather, but we played again this past Wednesday and I still hurt afterward but it wasn’t nearly as bad as the first time. Hooray for me!
But no, I am not talking about improving my endurance in athletics. I am talking about building up my partying endurance. My loyal readers might remember a month ago when I helped a friend celebrate her 22nd birthday. Those readers might also recall that, while I had lots of fun that night, the next morning was not so fun. As I wallowed in misery the morning after that night of drunken fun, I was determined to dedicate myself to regaining the tolerance for late nights and liquor that I had in my youth.
So, each day in March I woke up early, drank a glass of raw eggs, ran up the steps of the museum and triumphantly raised my arms in the air. One way or the other I was going to get back into the ring.
Friday night I donned my gloves and shiny trunks and put in my mouth guard. Instead of a house party, this time some friends were going out for a night on the town. The evening started at Great Basin Brewing Co. and, remembering a strategy from my previous party days, I showed up an hour late. My group’s table was full so one other person and I waited for a smaller table to clear. Unfortunately, the couple at the smaller table looked as though they just stepped out of an eHarmony.com commercial and were deep in the process of finding their perfect compatibility. In short, they weren’t going anywhere. So, the two of us ended up eating burgers at In-N-Out.
After our Double-Doubles, we met back up with our friends at a bar on Victorian Avenue. We had a few drinks, played some pool and yelled over bad music. By about 11 p.m. I should have called it a night. My liver and lungs had gotten a good workout and I had a bit of fun, so I should have been satisfied. Then the group decided to go out to a club. It was the social equivalent of having me put on sparring gloves and get in the ring with Mike Tyson, but I was ready for the challenge.
I quickly scoured my memory for information on the last time I went to an actual nightclub. It was in Southern California, probably around eight years ago if not more. My mental files pulled up several key facts: loud music, overpriced drinks, hot sweaty gyrating bodies, deafening music, disgusting bathrooms, attention-hungry women rejecting slobbering men. Initially, my diagnosis was “Inhospitable environment requiring immediate rejection in favor of a nice comfortable night of sleep.” But I sought a second opinion, which gave this diagnosis: “Why the heck not?”
So off we went, several hours past my bedtime and destined to be out well into the morning. We drove to downtown Reno to a club on Sierra Street. All of my key facts were correct and there were a few more thrown in for good measure. As I eyed the mass of people in the club I noticed an inordinate number of women with chopped, spiked hair wearing men’s shirts (some with crooked neck ties). Then I noticed an equal number of men with eyeliner, tight shirts and even tighter pants. I have no problem with anyone’s choice of bed buddy, but this was a sucker punch that no one in our group saw coming. I was used to your good old fashioned heterosexual “meet markets” (I always thought the phrase should be “meat market”) but apparently this particular evening was catering to a different cut than I’m used to.
No matter. I regrouped, grabbed a drink at the bar and proceeded to people watch for the next few hours. As I did, some of my younger companions proceeded to fill themselvs liquor as though they were made of glass and wearing labels. With the memory of my last night of drinking still fresh, I chose a moderate pace and by the time we were ready to leave at around 2 a.m. the firewater in my belly was down to a smoking pile of ash.
For one member of our party, however, the firewater was roaring out of control. So much so that as we drove home the fire spread to his throat, his mouth, the entire side of the car and, as I learned Saturday morning, the windshield of a Nevada Highway Patrol car. Fortuantely this officer was able to see that the person driving was sober and was just doing a favor for a drunk friend. I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if a bill for the carwash shows up in his mailbox.
As for me, lack of sleep is the only unpleasantness I experienced. Looking back on the physical challenges of the evening, I feel pretty good about how I handled it. Maybe next time I will be ready for an even greater challenge: the all-nighter.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go do my victory dance.
Nathan Orme is the editor of the Sparks Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.