Have I ever mentioned that I’m allergic to alcohol? Not deathly allergic (otherwise I’d be dead now), but I get this kind of rash on my back whenever I drink. And if it’s severe it’ll reach up to around my neck and shoulders and creep around to the sides of my front chest area. This has been going on since I first tried drinking beer on a regular basis in high school. Which of course ended prematurely (the try). Anyway, I didn’t drink for a while after that, and still don’t, actually. I only drink when I’m with friends and they’re drinking. Because of the allergy, I usually become the designated driver, or the person who tries to keep everyone else from drowning in puddles of their own vomit.
I did get really drunk once (and only once) in 3rd Year High School. I woke up the next morning in a stranger’s bed (and house). It belonged to a friend of the classmate I was with, thankfully.
Last two years of high school, we’d have occasional inuman sessions at Mike Jalbuena’s house here in our village. His mom has a good philosophy about it: she’d rather we get drunk and lose our wits under her roof rather than in some seedy bar somewhere and get stabbed. We’d bring clothes, gather whatever drinks we could, and just get smashed. It was always fun. Lots of memorable moments and behavior. Ben speaks only in English when drunk. Eumir somehow manifests a British accent, which is hilarious. Arvy becomes violent and gets mad whenever people disagree with him (he almost broke Mike’s SuperNES controller one time because he kept losing to Sherman in WrestleMania). JC passes out after one shot of tequila. Mike becomes flamboyant in both speech and movement, speaking more in those nights than he does in a regular month. Arvy talking about having sex with his girlfriend and all the rest of us virgins listening intently. JP passed out in the bathroom, taking a crap with the door open. JC waking up to say one sentence and then falling back asleep. Ping-pong tournaments while pissed. JP vomiting Exorcist-style, the stream from his mouth leaping clear across the room to the sleeping bags. Ugh.
Ed Ibarra joined us one time. He’d always wanted to go before but his dad was strict and he wasn’t allowed a lot of the time. But he finally got to go once in senior year. And since he wasn’t really used to alcohol he got drunk. The stupid fucker didn’t tell us he’d taken medication that afternoon so we were as surprised as he was when he started vomiting and there were red flecks of blood in there. It didn’t worsen so we didn’t worry about it. But he was out of it, and he started crying. He started talking about how he hated his parents because they were so strict, how he always felt he couldn’t satisfy them, how he hated this English teacher of ours because she was giving him such a hard time and he was doing his best. He was crying, weeping, bawling, the kind of cry that uses up your whole body and you’re clenched like a fist in a fetal position. I was cradling his head in my lap because he was thrashing around too much and started banging his head on the metal frame of the bed and on the cement walls. Mike held his feet down and was ready with a bucket in case he needed to vomit some more. The both of us were crying with him. I don’t know about Mike, but I knew I had issues with my parents in those days (still do), and I could relate to some of what Ed was screaming/weeping in a drunken stupor. Even as I type this I have to stop tears from welling in my eyes from the memory.
When morning came we brought Ed to the hospital, where he was given Milk of Magnesia and a big-ass injection. He wore a towel, shorts, black socks and leather shoes. :) When we finally got to talking about that night I found out he had no recollection of what he’d said or done that night. He didn’t remember the crying fits or breaking Mike’s mom’s lamp in the hallway. He barely remembered the hospital, but that was after he’d woken up already. I felt weird, having gone through that with him and he not remembering any of it. I really hope it had some good effect on him, even if it was subconscious. A feeling of purgation, if you will. Of catharsis. But I don’t know. Sometimes it feels as if everything he spewed out was passed on to me.