Boozin’ and Losin’ (though not in the way you’re thinking)

The thirteenth installment of my abandoned Granadino memoir, Flawed Abroad: Useless editorializing from an ignorant, close-minded American on his semester overseas.

Sábado, 22 Ene., ’05, 3.15 (Saturday, January 22, 2005, 3:15 am)

Well, I just got back from another night of unbridled debauchery, but the results of my indiscretions still weren’t quite up to snuff in my estimation. (Although if they were up to snuff, I’d have to punish them for violating my “Absolutely No Snuff” rule. I’m tough, but handsome.)

I began the night with an old standby at our old standby—a piña con vodka at La Marisma. I followed that up with a tubo de tinto verano filched from Jess’s 1.5 liter bottle before we moved on to a nearby tapas establishment, where the girls had more wine and some fine free finger foods (free because, unlike the rest of the world, Granada still serves its tapas gratis—just as Dios intended).

After our snack we headed next door to El Refugio, a surprisingly respectable shot bar located in the sketchiest dead-end alley imaginable. After my fifth chupito, I decided to shoot (no pun intended) for double digits, finally downing my tenth shot a little after 2.00. That was supposed to be it for the night, but a few minutes later I found myself shouting ¡Uno más! To my immediate chagrin, John H. heard my pleas and, for some unfathomable reason, suggested we cap off our imbibings with a shot of straight Absinthe. For some different unfathomable reason I agreed, and we proceeded to order dos chupitos de Absinthe.

Oh. Your. God.

It’s true that some of my earlier adventures in alcoholery had been face-meltingly awful, but even their powers combined couldn’t rival the unchecked ferocity that is pure Absinthe. For almost an entire minute I was doubled over on Amanda’s shoulder, clutching her arm like it was my last refugio (now I know where the name comes from) in a rampant tsunami of gasoline mixed with pickle brine. After finally recovering enough to stand up straight, I physically located my numb tongue with both hands and a flashlight and asked John what the fuck he’d been smoking to suggest such a drink. He said “weed” and asked how I liked it. I stared at him belligerently and very slowly explained to him that we were never doing that again. At least until next week. He wholeheartedly agreed and I left soon afterward to walk Amanda home.

Flash forward to this very minute.

[Slowest flash forward of my life. Are we there yet? Great.]

Now, objectively speaking, considering the amount of booze I’ve consumed over the last few hours, I suppose I must be slightly drunk. And yet my thought processes—as hopefully indicated by this journal entry—are perfectly lucid. Nor have my balance or penchant for polysyllabic intonation suffered much, as proven by the multiple gran plieés I pulled off during my walk home while reciting the first half of Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” soliloquy. More disappointingly, however, is the fact that my inhibitions remain as un-lost as ever, as indicated by my reluctance to follow John’s suggestion and pee in El Refugio’s alley before leaving. Is a little public urination really too much to ask for?.

Final tally: 1 mixed drink, 1 tinto verano, 11 shots imbibed, 14 € frittered away, and zero acts of hilarious embarassment committed. ¡Arriba!

Miscellaneous Observation: The following blurb really doesn’t merit the lofty status of “miscellaneous observation,” but I forgot to write about it after it happened and I figure somebody out there might find it amusing. Or at least less depressing than real life. So here it goes…

I would conjecture that at some point or another in our troglodytic pasts, most of us have had a tape eaten by the VCR (outside of those readers currently residing in developing third-world nations, I mean). However, I’d put good money—i.e., the pound—on my assumption that few if any of you have had a DVD eaten by your DVD player. You could say argue that I deserved it since I was knowingly attempting to play NTSC-encoded DVDs on a European system but, personally, I blame Allah.

In any case, here’s how it went down: I was trying movies at random in my señora’s DVD player, hoping that one of them might be recognized and thus provide me with a few blessed minutes of genuinely American entertainment, but the machine was refusing everything I threw at it. My last attempt—with the movie Heist, ironically—began like all the others, except this time, after placing the DVD in the tray, I went to the kitchen to get a drink. When I returned, the anticipated “unrecognizable format” message (or whatever the hell their Spanish variation is) was on the screen, so I pressed the eject button on the remote to retrieve my movie. To my complete and unmitigated disbelief, when the tray slid from its door, there was no longer a DVD in it!

Can you picture how bizarre this situation seemed to me? I was home alone. I placed a DVD into the DVD player. The disc was resting sedately in the tray before it slid into the machine. And yet, after leaving the room for less than a minute and then pressing the eject button upon my return, the tray slid back out minus the DVD. It was such an unexpected sight that, for a good 60 seconds, the only plausible explanation my short-circuited neural synapses could come up with for this event was something relating to invisible Spanish dwarves. Only after I had discounted this theory as cocaine-induced did it occur to me that my DVD must have somehow gotten stuck in the back of the DVD player. Sure enough, one Leatherman Squirt and ten screws later, I had the cover off and Heist was safely back in my binder. (Turns out a degraded sticker on top of the disc had caused it to stick to some implement inside the DVD player during the ejection process — hence the Houdini routine.)

Luckily, the experience left no permanent psychological damage, and even taught me one very important lesson: namely, that invisible Spanish dwarves are people too, and no amount of whistling while they work can truly mask the pain they feel in their role as the invisible fantasy world’s proverbial doormat. Poor poor invisible Spanish dwarves—truly a non-sight for sore eyes.

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