Aidan Saunders / Essay / October 2017

Getting Schwanked On A Sunday


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The story starts at Three Needs. A popular bar among college students. It’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon, and the crowd is celebrating the last few hours of it with cold pints of beer. I meet a friend at the bar and we each get a pint. We thought it might be nice to end the weekend sitting outside with two or three beers before going back to the real world. We talk about this and that, not much of anything but more than nothing. As we reach the bottom of our beers two more of our friends arrive and someone buys a round, I believe they were Cone Heads.

This set about some sort of unspoken rule, now each of us had to buy a round for the table. These beers were tasty and our inhibitions slowly fade away. We finish our beers and it has become my turn to  provide the group with sustenance. I make my way inside and the music suddenly becomes louder. When I reach the bar I order four of the cheapest beers and put it on my tab. “Oh yeah I started a tab. I wonder how much this will all be? Well my sober self will be more apt to read those figures than I can at this moment.” I make my way back outside and sit down with my friends.

Soon enough beer begins to spill and my once-dry pants breathe the smell of ale, or maybe pilsner, who’s to say.

In recollection, I’d say I was drunk at this point, although at the time I was probably in denial. I have a vague memory of falling out of my chair but can’t say for certain. Our smallest friend decides he is going to have to leave, making me the new smallest in the group. I will have to work hard to keep up with the amount these giants can drink.

Soon we decide to move on to another bar. Someone is speaking about delicious food further down Church Street and we decide to push forward. I have no memory of leaving Three Needs, it is at this point in my memories we reach the first dead zone.

It is interesting looking back on these drunken times. I wonder how it is that I was able to move forward. How was it that I did not just fall over on the sidewalk and enter a deep slumber? Somehow my instincts kicked in and I followed the sounds of drunken college students, knowing beer would be found nearby.

With deep focus I can make out one moment from our next stop. Dobra Tea. One of my favorite places in Burlington, one that I have never been to while drunk. Somehow I convinced my colleagues to join me in entering a dimly lit tea house. I probably tried to give them recommendations for what to order and put no thought into my own order. The memory I have, one image; the three of us sit around a low table, murmuring about the tales of chai and oolong. I may have ordered the matcha, my go to, but for all I can remember I ended up with a black tea. We sit in close proximity and gently sip our teas. And just as quickly as the image formed it is gone, all that can be seen is blackness.

Suddenly we are inside Sweetwaters. The upscale spot at the bottom of Church Street where college students go to pretend they’re adults. We are sitting at the bar and there are plates of food in front of us. I do not know what kind of food we ate but I do know we ate food. Someone had the idea to order wine and I distinctly remember three glasses or red wine in crystal glasses in front of each of us. I look down and see a menu in front of me. I open it and see the words “White Wine.” Chardonnay will be the next beverage we consume.

“Excuse me miss” I say to the bartender. “Could we please have three of your finest Chardonnays?”

“I’m sorry but I think you’ve had enough to drink, I can’t serve you any more” she says.

Wow. That’s the first time I’ve ever been cut off at a bar before. But I don’t really care, I know I’m drunk at this point and we’ll move on to other watering holes.

It is at this point, dear reader, that I lose all memories of the rest of the night. There are tales that we made our way to Ake’s Place next door, stories of shot skies and more beers. I was told it was “kinda hard to get me to go home” and that I was “just kinda running around.” I was not surprised to hear this as I sometimes have the tendency not to sit still when I become schwanked. As it happened, we eventually left the bars, but I was adamant about going to Ahli Baba’s to get a burrito. Unfortunately I was so drunk I decided not to eat the burrito and my colleague and I began the drunken journey home.

But now we must bring this back to reality when I awoke the next morning. My eyes fluttered open and I found myself on a couch. The first moments of waking after a night of heavy drinking is an intriguing experience. It’s like being pulled out of sleep by the birds chirping on a Sunday morning The first moment my body woke I felt relaxed, I had rested and my body was glad. But just as quickly as it came my eyes focused and I realized I was not in my own bed. That’s when uncertainty hits. “Where am I? How did I get here? What time is it? What day is it? I think I’m drunk. Okay I’m definitely drunk.”

I get up off the couch and look around. It’s a typical college student’s apartment, but there’s no one else here. I rake my mind, searching for clues from the night before. I know I went to Three Needs, and I’m fairly certain I went to Sweetwaters but that’s about all I can recall. I know who I went out with and hope this apartment belongs to one of them but am not convinced. I find the door step outside, trying to figure out what part of town I’m in. I see no recognizable landmarks and my bicycle is nowhere to be seen. I go back in the house and find the toilet. A long urination duration ensues. I look at myself in the mirror and attempt to collect my thoughts. I’m going to have to figure out who lives here.

I go into the kitchen and see a wallet on the table. The I.D. inside belongs to some guy I do not know. “Shit, how the fuck did I go home with this guy’s I.D.?” There must be some sort of explanation. I see another wallet and check the I.D. It belongs to my friend, the one I began the night at Three Needs with! I find a blank piece of paper on the counter and begin to write a note.

To the occupants of the establishment,

Thank you for letting me sleep here last night. I hope I was not too much trouble and appreciate your hospitality.

Sorry if I caused any trouble.

Sincerely, X

As I walk out the door I pull up Google maps and I’m in luck. I’m not too far from my apartment and I’ll be able to get food on my way there. I stop in a corner store and get a sandwich and a coffee. I don’t drink coffee but today seems like the kind of day I should. When I get home I realize I have class in about two hours and I decide not to go to sleep. I turn on Rick and Morty as my roommate wakes up and greets me. I recount the details I can remember and before I know it, it’s time for school. Hopefully when this wears off the hangover doesn’t hit too hard.

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