Someone mentioned a puking-while-drunk event in the comment section of "Wooster" over on WOW's blog, which reminds Flat Stanley of the last -- the LAST -- time FS made the mistake of ignoring her self-imposed limit of one beer for pleasure, two for celebrations, three, let's-really-tie-one-on.
FS isn't a big drinker -- never has been -- but when in Rome. Which is where FS was, along with 20 other college juniors and seniors of the normal college age. The occasion was a three-week trip through Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium with travel through Luxembourg and France, all part of a class called "Origins of Democracy." FS knows. Awesome, right? Si, Oui, Yah, it was.
We started out in Siena, where the punks were in Shock and Awe at the sight of the ol' lady with her very own bottle of wine at midnight on the campo just two hours after we'd left the travel bus and treated the town to the sound of a mob of suitcases thumping across six blocks of cobblestone. That very night, the Mr. Popular of the group blessed FS with the blessing of acceptance by throwing his arm around her and inviting her to pose for a photo.
Not bad, eh? Watch this guy. Future state governor, without a doubt.
In Rome, a group of classmates invited FS to go with them to a great little Italian restaurant they'd discovered. From there we went to a bar scrunched into the side of a building built when Charlegmagne was a boy. They bought FS a shot of Jaeger. Yummy. Tastes like cough syrup. FS likes cough syrup. Mildy disappointed, but encouraged, they bought FS an Irish car bomb. More yummy. FS declined more that evening, but no worries. There were two weeks to go and the best, though unknown, was yet to come.
A few nights later, FS was invited to a hookah bar by another great young guy named Eric. FS wasn't sure what hookah bars included, plus tobacco makes her too sick to have fun, plus she was out with the professors that night at an unpolitically correct restaurant enjoying the best steak-frites in Geneva. This photo was taken in Trier, Germany. What, you say, no women? Well, sure, there were lots of women on the trip. In fact, one of them turned out to be very kind to FS in her time of need. FS hung out with them a lot. Give FS a break, though: Given a choice between clinking drinks with a handsome fella or any woman, FS will pick the guy every time.
Woops! Where did HE come from? Venice was fun, too.
On to Trier, a quiet, touristy, town with a great historic district and an Irish pub which the students sniffed out before you can say "Where's the party tonight?" By this time, FS and Beth had hooked up as buddies. Beth was 20 and desparate for an "experience" that didn't inlcude her almost-fiance. Early in the evening, FS stopped by their room and discovered Beth was already half-way through a bottle of Strongbow. Beth said, "I'm desparate for an experience that doesn't inlcude my boyfriend. Take me out. Show me how to have a good time."
Which tells you how desparate Beth was -- asking a 50-year-old piece of cardboard to show her a good time.
Our first stop was a local pub right across the street. It held about a dozen patrons, max. The regular crowd of five perked right up when fresh meat walked in. We ordered a shot of Jaeger each. The skuz-man next to Beth started a conversation with her. FS kept a wary eye on it. Skuzzy bought Beth her second shot. She turned to FS, big baby blues on fire and said, "Someone actually bought me a drink!" FS smiled. We tossed back our second shots. The crowd started paying more attention. Skuz man moved closer. FS reached for her side arm. Damn. Wrong story. FS doesn't carry a side arm. But she would have checked for it if she did.
Beth was enjoying her moment. Skuz man was getting warmer, probably even starting to look good to her. They chatted; FS watched. After about 10 minutes, Skuz man offered to buy a third shot. Beth said yes. FS said no. Skuz man hesitated. Looked at the hard-ass bartender. He winked. She winked back. FS saw trouble. "C'mon Beth, we're leaving."
"But I wanna stay!"
"No. We're leaving now. C'mon."
FS pulled her from her chair and we ran out of the bar, laughing like loonies and stumbling on the cobblestone.
"Oh my gosh, what just happened in there?" Beth wanted to know.
FS said, "Not sure, but it wasn't good. Keep running."
Like magnets, we were drawn to the Irish pub, where FS spent the next several hours being plied with Jaeger shots and Irish car bombs. How many? No way to tell. FS is greatful that she was old enough to stay put on her stool and spend the night telling Austin how he had a radio announcer's voice.
FS is directionally impaired. Drunk. In a strange town. At 2 am. In a different country. Doesn't speak the language. Erin found her, took pity, and walked her back to the hotel. Where she found Beth, safe and sound and not quite as intoxicated as FS. Close, but not quite.
Beth and FS laughed and giggled and woke up the hausfrau next door, who started talking loudly. Some messages don't need a language translator toe be understood.
FS fell off the bed and broke her toe. This was funny. We laughed louder. The hausfrau complained more. We laughed harder. Then FS noticed that she didn't feel so good. This was funny, too, so we laughed some more. Then, FS realized what kind of not-feeling-so-good she was feeling and stumbled to the toilet.
Acoustically speaking, FS barfs at high volume under the best of circumstances. These not being the best of circumstances, it was loud and voluminous in all senses of the word. Beth patted FS's back and handed her a warm, wet washcloth. We laughed some more, then wound down. The hausfrau settled down.
The next day, FS did not have a hangover. This is unheard of in FS's world, who is subject to a hangover with the over consumption of being in the proximity of alcohol.
A week later, FS's toe was still twice as big as normal and sporting brilliant reds and blues and greens. Despite the discomfort, FS smiled with every painful step. It's been two years. FS is still smiling at the memory.