This is a prologue to my ongoing "Lymey" blog series that documents my ongoing struggles with Lyme disease and its aftermath.
I was on the fence about meeting my friends in Boston. They were at a new outdoor “beer garden” called Trillium. I knew this beer garden’s homemade drinks would be expensive, probably five dollars for their cheapest IPA. I didn’t want to spend that much money.
On the other hand, I hadn’t had a night out in Boston in a long time. I figured I was due to have a little fun, even if it cost me more money than I wanted to spend. I also figured I could drink a beer or two on the train-ride into the city. Get a warm, cozy buzz going. Then, meet up with my friends and only get a couple of expensive beers at this "beer garden" place.
It was the Fourth of July weekend, after all, and the Tall Ships had just left Boston Harbor after a week-long docking. Plus, the world-famous Independence Day fireworks were just a few days away. The city would be buzzing with tourists and good, holiday cheer. I needed this, I thought. I needed a good night out in town. Yes, a good night out is what I deserved and a good night out is what I was determined to have.
The night started with the relaxing, early-Saturday evening train-ride into Beantown. I brought a Thermos with me and in this Thermos was my drink -- or perhaps the more proper word is “drug” -- of choice, the notorious “Natty Daddy” beer, the father of Natural (aka Natty) Ice. Natty Daddy was a stronger version of its icy son, with almost twice the alcohol volume (8% alcohol volume if you want to get down to the natty-gritty...er, I mean nitty-gritty...details).
Slouching low in my seat, I sipped my Daddy and listened to my iPod. A song by the Beastie Boys came on. It was called “The Move” from the album Hello Nasty. My warm buzz started to ooze through my bloodstream. I peered out the train window and caught glimpses of the magnificent Prudential Building as the train moved in and out of tunnels. “I feel very fine right now,” I said to myself. “I feel so very fine.”
The train pulled into South Station and I felt even more swell by this point. A mischievous voice in my head kept saying that I needed to keep the excellent buzz going. This voice came from my alter-ego, the funner personality that makes its presence known when I start drinking. Shit, let’s call this voice Daddy, first name Natty. Daddy wanted to keep the buzz going strong but I didn’t want to start paying an arm and a leg for those fancy beer garden beers. I giggled with Daddy and he suggested I make a short pitstop at another bar with cheaper beers. I’d slug two or three sudsy ones there. THEN I’d meet up with my friends.
This “other bar” was a favorite bar of mine called “The Wild Rover”. Their beers were sometimes a dollar, sometimes a dollar and a half, but never any more than two dollars. It was only a fifteen-minute walk from Faneuil Hall, but the way I walked? It was more like 7-10 minutes, dude. No problemo.
I speed-walked to Wild Rover and made terrific time. My buzz was still going strong and my iPod was blasting Kanye West's "All of the Lights", not that I'm a big fan of Kanye but that song, for some reason, goes excellent with a solid buzz. Daddy likes that song. Daddy likes it a lot.
The buzz and the music gave me an extra boost of adrenaline, but the truth is that I was probably in the best shape of my life, give or take, maybe take a bit, but I was in excellent shape. For the past two years, I had been running every other day, at least three or four miles, but I had even more recently integrated speed workouts into my exercise regimen, not to mention bleacher workouts and upper-body workouts like push-ups and, well, just push-ups.
The point is that I was in superb shape and I speed-walked to “Wild Rover” like it was nothing. I should have taken a moment to appreciate the fact that I could get from point A to point B on my own two feet like a well-oiled machine. I didn’t have to pay for a cab. I didn’t have to pay for a subway ride, either. I had a great and quick means of city transportation: my own two feet. I really should have taken a moment to appreciate that.
“I’ll take two Bud Lights,” I said to the Wild Rover bartender who had the most incredible cleavage I had ever set my eyes on. By the way, it’s not offensive to say what I just said because the bartenders at Wild Rover wear uniforms that are meant to display and celebrate their cleavage. Just because I have an appreciation of cleavage doesn't mean I'm objectifying women. This is what Daddy has told me, anyway.
“Are both beers for you?” the bartender asked me.
I gave her a sheepish smile. “What do you want to hear?”
“The law says I can only serve you one at a time.”
“Okay, just one, then.”
She smiled and poured me the Bud Light. I started slugging it fast but not too fast in case the bartender took notice and shut me off prematurely.
I also figured I should text my friends and tell them I would arrive at the beer garden soon. “Just made one pit-stop,” I texted to them. They all immediately knew I was at my favorite “Wild Rover” bar without me even telling them.
By the time I was finished sending the text, my beer glass was already empty. “I’ll take another one, please,” I said to the bartender, being careful to enunciate every word free of slurs. Again, I did not want to be shut off.
Daddy figured I could chug one more beer and THEN meet up with my friends. After all, how long was having one more beer going to take, anyway? I had only been at the bar ten minutes, tops. Maybe it would, what, take me another ten minutes to drink one more beer?
I slugged the second beer and Daddy figured, what the hell, I might as well have a third beer. This third beer turned into a fourth beer and this fourth beer may or may not have turned into a fifth beer and I’ll answer that for you and say it definitely turned into a fifth beer.
I must say, though, that I’d never had so much fun alone at a bar. I started chatting with an (older) woman next to me about the Tall Ships. She had pictures of the ships on her phone, she showed them to me, we hooted and hawed, clapped our hands, stomped our feet and we drank together with great joy.
Then, a (younger) girl came into the bar and sat next to me. She was meeting up with some friends but they hadn’t arrived yet. I asked her a question about how to use the Google Maps Application on my smartphone. I already knew the answer to the question, but my purpose was to strike up a conversation and I was successful doing that. We drank together in high spirits and she even gave me her number at the end of the night.
Once I was about five or six beers deep, I did eventually meet up with my friends who were now at another bar in the area. They weren’t particularly happy with me, that I took so long to meet up with them, but, long story short, we ended up going back to the Wild Rover anyway and I proceeded to bee-bop and skip-a-dee-doo my way around the bar like I was the personification of a million bucks. Yes, I was Mr. Wild Rover that night. I could do absolutely no wrong. Daddy and I were riding out such a great buzz and there wasn’t nothin’ gonna keep us down.
Karaoke was taking place at this point in the night and I decided to “come out of retirement” and resurrect my famous Guns N’ Roses “Welcome to the Jungle” performance that I hadn’t done in about five or six years. It was a little sloppy but I got the bar crowd going with my sha-na-na-knees shouts and serpentine hip grinds.
Riding high on adrenalin, I immediately made my way upstairs as soon as I ended my performance. The “upstairs” of The Wild Rover was the dancing area with a DJ and another bar. It was still early in the night so the dance floor was pretty much empty but the DJ’s subwoofery jams were going strong and I decided to start busting moves.
And bust moves I did. Holy shit! I don’t mean to brag but I was busting some of the craziest shit I had ever busted. There was something different about me that night. I was so…ON. It’s like I was possessed by something...something good, I guess. Angels were with me. God was with me. Something was different about me, in a good way. I had so much positive energy.
The more I busted moves, the more the dance floor started filling up. Again, I’m not bragging here; I’m merely stating fact and the FACT is that I started the party in the bar that night. There was no question about that. I was busting moves I never knew I could even do. My body felt so flexible and elastic. It was incredible.
At one point, a felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around to see a beautiful Greek girl looking at me. She said, “I saw you out there [on the dance floor] and I just needed to say hello. What is your name?”
“I’m Matt,” I said. “What’s your name?”
She said her name but I don’t remember what it was. And then I said…
“You’re beautiful.” And she WAS beautiful. And then I saw that a young man was standing beside her. “Is this your boyfriend?” I asked.
She looked a bit embarrassed by the question. In fact, they both seemed to blush. “No,” she said.
And that was that. She said it was nice to meet me, she'd be going back to Greece after the holiday and then she and the male friend left. Sorry, I guess that story was anticlimactic. I probably should’ve chatted her up more or asked for a brief make-out session but I guess—even though I was still so “on”—I was still kind of a wuss-bag about talking to such a beautiful girl. The point I’m trying to make, however, is that she came up to ME…and “HAD” to say hello. This is concrete evidence of me being so “on” and also having such great dance moves that night.
Overall, it was one of the funnest nights of my life, or at least the funnest night I’d had in quite a long time. Perhaps on some level of higher consciousness I knew that, in just a few days, my life was going to change in a radical way. Somehow, I knew—or maybe the universe knew—that this would be the last fun night I had for a long while. It was my one last hurrah. For a while.
It was also my one last hurrah with Daddy.
Read the next installments to the Lymey series (in order) here: