Monday, January 3, 2011

Holiday Hangover

The holidays are over. You and I both made it through, and fairly successfully if I may so. Gone are the parties, the planning, the decorations, and feasting. It is back to work, back to the grind, back to sobriety and frugality. Refreshing, no? After my cozy trip to Indiana, I returned to New York and mountains of snow. Apparently I missed quite the blizzard. While my flight was for the most part on time and hassle free (especially compared to some of my fellow holiday travelers), I was somewhat aghast at the two hour wait I endured for a taxi cab. Luckily, a friend of mine was on the same plane as I was (weird right?), and I had a full pack of cigarettes at my disposal. Once home, I slipped on my rainboots (they count as snow boats if you wear two layers of socks I have decided) and trudged through the snow to get my week's schedule at work. It's funny, each time I leave New York, I come back wanting it more, feeling more at home here, ready for my next adventure, to go deeper into city life. Admittedly, it does take me a few days to get back into city mode, to move a little faster, get a little sassier, and sometimes a little mean. After obtaining my work schedule, I decided it was a good idea to venture to Manhattan to meet a friend for a drink. As soon as I walked in, I was more than a little shell shocked. Loud music, tons of people, low lighting, and lots of drinks. I don't think anywhere I went in Indiana was that crowded, not even church on Christmas Eve. Though this was no church. I ordered my Manhattan on the rocks and quietly stood near my friend, still coy and shy from my travels.

On return to work, I was more than a little rusty. Given it was an usually busy Thursday night, I found myself with my coworkers and customers, every little thing setting me off, while each mistake I made doubling the anxiety. My manager had to keep telling me, "Don't worry baby, we're gonna get through it," reminding me of a quote from Elaine Stritch at Liberty once she has decided to start performing sober: "Elainnne, you'll stop crowds again. But tonight, just get through it." I think she and I both did in our respective ways, and for that night at least, soberly. Luckily, I had that one day to shake off the dust because the next night was New Year's Eve, one of our busiest nights of the year. We ran food and served Coq au Vin, serving cocktails and opening Champagne, only one bottle of which exploded on me. A busy but not crazy New Year's, we must have got the couples who don't want to leave their borrow, get drunk only once or twice a year, and fall asleep shortly after midnight. 12 o'clock hit, we drank our toast, bells and whistles and noise makers blowing, then quickly did our best to shoo everyone out of the restaurant. We needed to celebrate New Years as well after all. The restaurant clean and most of us covered in glitter, we bounded into the night seeking fun and more drinks. Unfortunately, by the time we went out into the night, the bars were beginning to quiet down, the remaining customers entirely in the can. While a few stragglers wondered home early, the rest of us ended our night at a diner, exhausted more than anything (though I think I did leave one bar feeling quite buzzed and cursing the snow).

The next night was slow at work, all of us a little partied out and listless to our customers' needs. Thank goodness everyone was for the most part playing nice that night. Having a friend in from out of town, the gang let me loose earlier, releasing me into the streets and onto the Manhattan-bound train with a clear purpose in mind: make up for a somewhat lame New Year's. I found my two friends from college cozied up together on a couch in an otherwise very crowded bar. Our mutual friend recently started work there, and saint that he is, hooked us up all night. After my second double vodka soda, I start talking faster and louder, cursing more frequently, "holding court" as I do. After another and two shots, I was feeling very good, invincible, flawless. I decided it would be a good idea to venture over to the couch and "make friends." Dragging my cohort along, I chatted away with these complete strangers, each thinking I was completely off my rocker, my friend probably joining them in this opinion. Deciding it was time he went home (he had been at this bar for about 5 hours by now), we said our goodbyes and forced our ways into a taxi. Dropping him off at our friend's apartment in Gramercy, I headed back to Queens, the party still raging inside of me. After initially giving the driver my home address, once over the bridge I told him to change directions, meeting up with my friends instead. More shots and now dancing occurred, albeit we were the only ones dancing. My shoes slick from the snow, I was having trouble staying upright while dancing, but don't worry I turned this into part of my moves. That's right, when I go dancing on Saturday, it includes a bit of floor exercise. The bewitching over, we left the bar, I left my friends, intent on finding McDonald's or bust. Walking through the drive through window (they lock the door after 12, wonder why?), I ordered a Big N Nasty, McNuggets, and fries. I ate the sandwich on the way home, then fell asleep with the rest of my order on my nightstand. Creature comforts. At least, I didn't have to go to bed alone.

Oh, I'm supposed to go to brunch the next morning? I am supposed to work that evening? Because let me tell you, I am in great shape and my head is not hurting at all. I shower and put some semblance of clothing, then make my way for the train. Brunch is nice, as I try to pretend I have an ounce of class, sipping my coffee and nibbling at my brussel sprout caesar salad, when all I really want to do is guzzle down copious amounts of water and coffee and eat the greasiest thing in sight. Correction, all I really want to do is be in bed. We make through brunch, I only have to use the bathroom once, then head out to do some shopping and city wandering. After walking around a few designer stores, I decided this hangover is not going away, and I need a drink. We head to Rose Mexicana where I have two Buena Vidas (grapefruit vodka muddled with cucumber - delish!), and my friends have a Diet Coke and cup of coffee respectively. Clearly, one of us has a problem. We depart ways and make our separate goodbyes, me running for the train, realizing I should have left half an hour ago. I arrive to work just a little late, with no uniform, no apron, and lots of bad excuses. I run home and change clothes real quick, jogging back over to work with all my sad apologies. With half the staff hungover or on a double, we are one hot mess. Luckily, it seems all of our customers were in a similarly somber state, relaxed by their weekend of fun, savoring the last bits of recreation before returning to work on Monday.

So there it is, the holidays. Finally fucking over. It's back to work, back to the grind, back to clarity and normalcy (or let us hope). Hope you all had a happy and safe New Year and hope to see you in 2011.

Currently Listening to: Rihanna Loud, Far East Movement "Like a G6"

Currently Watching: Blue Valentine, 127 Hours

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