Most nights start with the goal to wake up fine the next day but end with an ungraceful, drunken flop into the mounds of knitted blankets I call my bed—there’s usually a “Pull yourself together,” uttered somewhere in between the two. For the most part, these “pull yourself together”s are private, intimate moments, had in a stranger’s bathroom, looking in the mirror at a mess of hair and chipped teeth I recognize as myself. But, as most stories start, tonight was different.
I take a glass from the cupboard and it seems to refill itself all night. The beer I had packed for myself remains in the corner, and will be untouched until tomorrow. As it always goes, what starts as a small group turns into a crowd. Familiar faces are congregated by the stairs, strangers crowd literally everywhere else. People sit on top of one another, pushing themselves into walls to make room, and some stand on the coffee table, mostly because it is exciting, but partly because it is less hot by the ceiling.
“Lift me!” I jokingly say to the group at the bottom of the stairs. With only one look of hesitation, they agree to carry all 5’11’ and 170 pounds of me around the room. I turn my back to the room, rock onto the heels of my feet, and feel myself lift off the raised platform of the staircase. I pass from hand to hand, supported by friends and strangers, cheered by voices I can’t even register.
As I enjoy myself and annoy everyone else in this room, that dubious moment, that evening’s “pull yourself together” makes its appearance. I am only in the air for a few moments but man do those moments last a long time. The intimacy of realizing you’re a drunken mess lies within one’s sanctuary of a bathroom or a pile of coats; tonight was very
different and very, very public. The weight of my self doubt quickens the party’s realization that carrying me around is dumb and they return me to the wet, loving floor.
Luckily, tonight’s self reflection is brief and with a happy ending. In the time it took for the crowd to lift me, pass me, realize it was dumb, and drop me, I go through my tunnel of self doubt and reach the other side: self satisfaction. In true fashion, I do pull myself together and return to my place against the wall, my place standing on the coffee table, my place next to the keg but this time a glass of water in my hand.
What I take from tonight’s “pull yourself together” is this:
- Despite what I might sometimes convince myself, I think I’m doing alright.
- Just because people say they’ll lift you, doesn’t mean they will (figuratively and literally, I suppose).
- Crowd surfing is so much fun.
- I’m done drinking for tonight.
Catch ya next weekend, I’ll be the mop of hair and chipped teeth standing on the coffee table.