Everyone has stories of their youth where blowout parties were the lifeblood of a group of people for a while. Some never grow out of that stage and party like kids into their 30's. Others know that those times existed for a reason and there's a time for them to end. I fall into the latter.
I've never been much of a fan of St. Patty's day. Green beer gives me gas, I can't fucking stand Flogging Molly or Dropkick Murphys. I'm also angry at the fact that Guinness brand clothing is more of a fashion accessory than a tribute to one of the greatest libations in the world. Besides, I don't think there's any Irish heritage in my blood. I have no allegiances. I do love corned beef and cabbage, however.
Something about St. Patty's day this year was different. Perhaps it was the fact that we live down the street from a cozy, wood-paneled Irish bar aptly named Dublin Pub. Perhaps it was the fact that almost every one from our tight-knit group of friends was guaranteed to be partying with us. Whatever it was, this year's festive, green-soaked celebration was going to be different. It was in the air.
After work, Robin, Jared and I drove down the street to Dublin. We were greeted by one of the most congenial doormen I have ever met. After paying our five dollar cover, we found a banquet-style table right in the middle of the uncrowded bar. 58 beers were on tap, and they were serving up perfectly poured Guinness in imperial pints. It was going to be a good day.
Almost immediately, most of our ragtag group of friends showed up and joined us at the medieval-looking table. The waitresses kept our pints full while live music wafted through the air, reflecting off the glass panels in the walls and causing the Irish old-timers to sing loud and proud. I paced myself on the Guinness since I would be driving back home in a few hours, but that didn't stop me from having an incredible time. In between sloshing our pints and wiping off the mustaches caused by the Guinness, we went outside for cigarettes with an almost clock-like precision. No words were used, just hand gestures to symbol our nicotine craving.
By 6:30pm, the place became crowded to the point of standing-room-only. We had a case of Guinness and Jameson at home, so it was time to leave and let others have our table that warranted us such an amazing time. We all took off in our separate cars, Mike and Heather decided to brave the St. Patty's day block party downtown (fuuuuuck that, I responded).
We acquired snacks from the Pantry, and settled into our apartment for the evening. The rest of our group arrived and it became a shitshow almost immediately. It got sloppy, it got loud. Runs were made to the kitchen for Irish carbombs, records were played loud and we made quite the mess with peanut shells. It reminded me of the parties I used to throw when I was younger. The entire recklessness of it was very comforting. After too much whiskey, Rod ducked sneaked off into our bedroom and passed out face down in the bed. The first fallen soldier of the night. Shamoo wasn't far behind.
By the time the drunken energy wore off, we all seemed to be shells of ourselves. Soaked in alchohol with guts rumbling despite the Guinness, we made the shameful trek across the street to the franchised 24-hour diner. I hadn't eaten much at all that day, figuring the Guinness would fill me up. It did for a while, but I was craving some decent food. Earlier on, I decided that making corned beef and cabbage was too expensive of a venture, so I settled on mashed potatoes and pot roast from Shari's. Pretty much the same thing, right? Right.
We feasted and satiated our carnivore cravings. Full of food and dumbed-down from the booze, we stumbled our way back to our apartment. No one was fit to drive, so our small apartment became the roof over the heads for every one at our party. Blankets were rustled up, every one got tucked in. Robin kicked Jared and Shamoo out of our bed and they crashed out on the Pod. Frankie and Matty slept sideways on the futon. Lairen, sober enough to drive, headed home. She had to be up for work in less than six hours. I'd like to think she got a bit of an idea what it's like to be me for once.
After everyone was tucked in and already asleep, I locked up the doors and turned off the lights. I viewed the entire scene with different eyes now that the celebration had come to an end. Our apartment was a mess with half-empty wine bottles, cans of Guinness in every nook and cranny. Wine glasses remained unbroken and ashtrays were made out of any possible vessel. Everyone was passed out under a cloud of smoke, curled up in blankets of all shapes and sizes. It was all very comforting. I curled up next to Robin with the Guinness and coffee and some lemon water coursing through my veins.