Gas Station Bathrooms & Rebound Dates. Neither Are Pleasant.

It was a night to remember. I was going out with a group of friends, clubbing and hanging out. College wasn’t party central for me, I was a sort of in-between serious and silly. I took most of my classes seriously and wanted to do well, but I knew how to be silly or blow off steam like the average college student would.

This particular night I recall because of the outcome though. It aint pretty kids. And this is what happened:

All the girls got dressed up and spent way to much time primping and making ourselves pretty because by the middle of the night, almost everyone was so drunk that no one cared that she wore her very coolest red skirt or that the other girl wore her new funky shoes or that my lip gloss matched my blush and eye-shadow.

We ended up at a place that had one of those neon martini glass signs blinking on the outside. There was great music, lots of smiling and I recall a few Long Island Iced Teas around the table. We laughed a lot that night, a few couples going off to do their own thing. Now, I was not a big drinker so I didn’t know my limit and I was certainly not paying attention to how much I had been drinking. We were playing drinking games and it was all very innocent as far as I can remember. I did my best to bat my baby-blues in his direction. We’ll get to “him” in a second.

I knew all the girls and some of the guys and there were a few couples in the group. Or maybe it was just a couple of people wishing they were couples…it’s a bit foggy and this was not my core hangout group. I was asked to tag along since one of my friends said there was going to be this new cute guy coming and she thought we’d be great together. She was right. He was pretty good-looking, just my type (at the time). Blonde, next door type with freckles, a real cutie – not one of those tall-dark and handsome types. Just a nice sweet looking kid. He was a friend of a friend, not someone who went to school with us and after a few drinks everyone loosened up and there was no awkwardness about meeting someone new. He paid a lot of attention to me and I thought we were really hitting it off. But then, I needed to use the lady’s room. No one mentioned to me that once you go to the bathroom the flood-waters start to pour through. It was like I had to use the bathroom every 2 minutes. I lost all capability to flirt much less have a conversation without my bladder getting in the way!

We decided to leave because some people in the group were getting out of hand. The designated driver corralled us and we started walking to the car. There we were, silly 20-year-old half drunk students in NYC making a ruckus.  Pretty boy was calling out my name throughout the city and I was all giddy thinking he really likes me!

Until…he plopped down on the dirty ground crying. Eh? This was not how I imagined it to be. He kept repeating, over and over, “why me, why me? whats wrong with meeee?” So there I am, confused, not because of the alcohol, but because here I thought we were having a great time, connecting, flirting innocently when in reality… his fiance had just dumped him and I was being used as the rebound date.

Uch…Blech…Boo! I begged the designated driver to find the car and get us home. So we did. But I had to use the loo every 5 minutes. So we stopped at swanky hotels. We stopped on the side of the road (for the guys). And we stopped at a gas station. Surprisingly we found the ONE in Manhattan! Putting it delicately, had I been completely sober, I’d have opted for other accommodations.

I have never, ever, in my entire life been so grossed out. It permeated of urine, was covered in soot, grease, poop (probably) and had this oily look on the walls. There was not enough toilet paper, the situation was dire. I cried. I used the last square to open the door and ask if anyone around had toilet paper, tissues, napkins…I was desperate and took some crumpled tissues from a friends purse. There was just enough to get me by.

That was my first and only hangover. I hugged the bowl the next morning and learned many lessons about drinking, about friendships, and why grandmas always carry tissues in their sleeves. Later as adults this pretty boy became a neighbor. I never really brought it up and didn’t become good friends with him and his wife, he obviously found true love. I felt bad for him, but I also felt happy for him. He probably has no recollection of that evening, at least I hope he doesn’t. But me? That was a night I surely won’t forget.

Being dumped or duped is bad, feels bad. But these things have a way of turning out okay in the end. We grow up, we face obstacles and we grow from them and continue on. That’s what we need to do. Brush off the dirt, stand up and face the next day. Start over. Silver Lining.

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