Monday, January 7, 2013
Sunday, October 28, 2012
after defying the odds all day long, I just lost power. Shutting it down till the am. Be safe all
Tuesday 10/30/12 1:57 am
a lot has happened since losing Internet and tv around 10 pm. Have seen a transformer explode just a block over and now this:
Monday 10/29/12 9:58 pm
Water rescues underway in Union Beach, NJ. And now two separate incidents in NJ where trees fell and killed 4 people in 2 different cars.
Reports of 20 houses on fire in Brick, NJ. Godspeed Blob and Heather.
Monday 10/29/12 9:47 pm
News 12 Anchor: "The Raritan Bay has flooded behind our parking lot and has flooded. We did not expect it because it has never happened before. There is at least 4 or 5 feet of water and all of our cars are ruined. We called it, all of the experts called it, they all knew the bay would flood. This happened just as we called it." Sooooooo you did not expect something to happen that you were predicting? Sigh...
Monday 10/29/12 9:34 pm
Just as a heads up, I have heard that they may be cutting the power at 8pm tonight to keep from any surges. I am not 100% sure it will happen, but please be prepared.
In general please do not use the elevator unless you absolutely have to. There have been power outages throughout town, and you do not want to be stuck in the elevator if one occurs. Otis will not be coming until the storm passes, so you will be stuck.
Time to resume drinking like a homeless man.
Monday 10/29/12 9:19 pm
It's absolutely not safe in Hoboken right now, at least not 6 floors up on a balcony. Look like power is out from Garden Street all the way east to the river so about 6 or 7 blocks. I'd imagine it's extremely flooded from there west as well. I can notice from where I was standing that the water is halfway up a compact cars front left tire.There are emergency vehicle sirens and building fire alarms blaring every and the wind is relentlessly strong. I also saw 2 huge bright green/blue-ish flashes which I learned earlier are transformers exploding. They exploded simultaneously I'd say 4-5 blocks north of here. Can't imagine we'll have power much longer.
Monday 10/29/12 9:06 pm
News 12 reporting 2 fatalities in Mendham. Lights keep on flicking in Hoboken and storm is just flat raging outside. Entire building is humming. Power looks to be out in downtown Manhattan as all skysrapers are dark. Wild stuff going on right now.
Monday 10/29/12 7:44 pm
If this Hurricane takes me out, then I'm going out as a well fed man. Not well fed in a healthy sense, per se, but nonetheless not hungry. That makes me feel bad for the homeless. I hope they've all taken cover or sought shelter.
This guy just called into the NJ 101.5 "Ask the Governor" segment and shamelessly plugged his cleaning service company by asking Christie how he could donate his services to those who can't afford it. Christie ate it up as shining example of American selflessness to help the less fortunate and the guy tried to say the name of his company and number again before being rushed off the air. Nice gesture, obviously, but do you really need to ask the Governor how to do that by calling into a radio show? Slick move, nonetheless. Got me talking about but no shot I'm repeating the company name.
Power flashed on and off but is back on. Nightly news reporting that flood waters have exceeded levels required to flood the NYC subway. More than 225,000 without power in Connecticut, but who care about people in Connecticut? 145,000 without power in Maryland, 200,000 without power in Long Island on and on and on...
Monday 10/29/12 6:54 pm
The storm is absolutely at its strongest and most consistent point right now. Sustained winds of 40-50 mph and gusts of at least 75 are rocking the entire building making it sound and feel like we're in a washer and dryer. Mandatory evacuation ordered for Piscataway affecting Birchview Garden apartments, and Rivercrest and Mayflower apartments. Storm is really picking up in Hoboken, can barely put my head outside the door. Seems like 60-70 mph winds and driving rain.
Monday 10/29/12 6:02 pm
It is now illegal for me to go outside.
Monday 10/29/12 5:59 pm
Must say, I've never believed as strongly with Chris Christie as I do right now. Has been very decisive, well-spoken, and rightfully stern towards those who weren't following his evacuation orders. The Mayor of Atlantic City told a large group of residents stay in a shelter instead of evacuate the island because several of the residents were unhappy with the request to evacuate. Now with the storm making landfall in the next hour, Christie announced that they are stranded until 7 am tomorrow morning. Saying of the mayor of Atlantic City, "that's not leadership, people". State government sent NJ Transit buses to Atlantic City on Saturday to bus people off the island and had "very few takers".
From a friend of a friend in Beach Haven, NJ. Says when high tide hits the entire house will be under water. This photo is from 10 this morning.
Monday 10/29/12 5:19 pm
Looks like NYC might be spared somewhat as the storm is now expected to make land fall in Cape May instead of AC. Seaside Heights and Point Pleasant are taking the beatdown of a lifetime. Very sad to see this happen to the shore. We'll certainly rebuild but it will never look the same again.
It will be interesting to see how this crane situation plays out now that visibility is getting worse and it's getting darker. Eventually I doubt they'll be able to see the crane and will just have to hope to see it break the visibility line if it were to fall.
ABC anchor at Rockaway Beach was just explaining how a man had made his way down to a large patch of rocks at the edge of the water and was almost swallowed up by a wave that "seemed to come out of nowhere." Or it came from the massive thrashing ocean of water behind you. Either one of those is probably where it came from.
View from my balcony. The Hudsown is definitely swelling. Just kidding. That's a massive wave in Cape May. Credit to Brian Gelson on the link.
Monday 10/29/12 3:53 pm
Tappan Zee Bridge to close at 4 pm. Would be absolutely terrified driving on that thing right now. Driscoll Bridge too.
This guy Phil Lipof on Channel 7 News is currently getting obliterated on the Seaside Heights boardwalk. This is flat out unbelievable what this guy is putting up with to report on the Hurricane. Massive walls of water keep pounding the boardwalk and sea foam is covering everything. 70 mph sustained winds and the storm still isn't here. I sure hope people evacuated.
Monday 10/29/12 3:31 pm
Lucy Yang broadcasting from Hoboken with the Mayor! Now this is what I call a storm.
Hoboken has issued full curfew. There have been 2 down wires, 2 down trees.
All vehicles off the street by 4 pm. All people off the street completely by 6 pm. "All Hoboken residents need to get to wherever they're going to be."
Monday 10/29/12 3:18 pm
Wind speed increases dramatically with height. When winds are 75 mph at the ground floor of a skyscraper, speeds increase to 95-100 mph at the 30th floor and up to 125 mph at the 60th floor. The Freedom Tower currently stands at approximately 1,200 feet.
2-3 hours away from landfall. 2 high tides to deal with. 65 miles off the coast of Atlantic City.
Monday 10/29/12 2:58 pm
Got this flag for free from Homeless Flag Lady a couple weeks ago and tied it to the balcony with some twine. Now it stands tall as a beacon of American resolve in the face of natural disaster
The crane on Channel 7 is at the top of the Park Hyatt Hotel at 57th and 7th. Top floor penthouses are allegedly on the market for $85 million dollars a piece. Crane almost certainly is coming down at some point. Gets me back to my original concern for the 2 cranes extending out of the middle of the Freedom Tower. Has to be a legitimate threat at this point.
Monday 10/29/12 2:53 pm
Wind gusts on the balcony are way too strong to stand in. Channel 7 is broadcasting from Seaside Heights boardwalk and it's nearly all about to be swallowed by the ocean.
A crane at 157 west 57th and 9th avenue in NYC is being tossed in the wind and police are blocking the streets underneath. N.J, Burkett is in Long Beach, Long Island and looks to be choking back tears as wind nearly sucks him away into the eternal abyss. Unreal.
Tough to stay in a comedic at this point, but it's incredible how hungry you get for chocolate chip cookies and candy when a storm hits.
Monday 10/29/12 2:35 pm
The wind tunnel effect will have a significant impact on the buildings and streets in Manhattan. The wind gusts get funneled in between the buildings and on some major avenues, the gusts will be 40 mph faster.
Monday 10/29/12 2:28 pm
The meteorologist on News 12, our hero from yesterday, just said "I don't want to get meteorological on you..." What a line.
And all the way from San Francisco, SFGate.com has chimed in on the local flooding in Hoboken:
By midday Monday, the Hudson River had overflowed into Hoboken and has flooded the area around the city's train station. Gawkers gathered to take pictures of the whitecaps on the river Monday morning before being chased away from the water's edge by police
Monday 10/29/12 2:02 pm
The forward speed of the storm is accelerating towards the Jersey coast at 28 mph which is 10 miles an hour faster than it was last reported. Expected landfall is now between 9 and 11 pm tonight coinciding perfectly with high tide and making it the absolute worst possible time for the eye to make landfall. Meteorologist really just said something about "milibars" which only makes me want to eat one of my candy bars. Hurricane force winds (75-90 mph) extending 175 miles out from the eye of the storm. Tropical Storm force winds extending 485 miles from the eye. Over 80% of the state will be without power at some point tonight. A "fast-moving, deepening heavy rain maker for New Jersey" or as you may more accurately recall, Albert Gelson circa 1996.
Monday 10/29/12 1:43 pm
The major U.S. Stock and Bond markets will be closed tomorrow It will be the first time since a blizzard in 1888 that the New York Stock Exchange will be closed for 2 consecutive days due to bad weather. Now that's what I call a dedication to capitalism. Only in the United States.
Areas around the NYC financial district were part of a mandatory evacuation and the storm surge is already pushing water over the sea walls in the southern tip of Manhattan. Battery Park stands no chance. The FDR drive is already flooded and it's only a matter of time until sea water floods the subway system.
Monday 10/29/12 1:26 pm
As if the rain wasn't enough...
Three feet of snow possible in places, blizzard warning expanded in W.Va.
"The National Weather Service changed an earlier forecast that had said up to 2 feet of snow was possible. Forecasters also expanded a blizzard warning Monday to at least 14 counties as the massive storm bringing high winds and heavy, wet snow moves through the state."
Monday 10/29/12 1:19 pm
Delaware River Crossings all closing to truck, bus, motorcycle traffic as of 2 pm. Port Authority has ordered evacuation of all maritime facilities of all marine terminals. Atlantic City now under curfew from 6 pm to 6 am. They are getting blasted. Sea Bright already almost entirely under water.
Hoboken officials banning all vehicle traffic as of 4 pm and are concerned with 9 pm high tide:
WEEHAWKEN -- Government officials in Hoboken and North Hudson monitoring Hurricane Sandy say high tide at 9 p.m. Monday will be "critical" time for waterfront homeowners and warn sightseers to stay away from the Hudson River.
Monday 10/29/12 12:47 pm
Pictures on News 12 NJ are straight up crazy. Surf Club has been totally demolished and the ocean is already pushing it's way significantly inland. Going to be a long 36 hours for New Jersey. Heartbreaking seeing the shore get wiped away.
And here's the definition of real men:
Soldiers of the 3rd Inf Reg continue to stand guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, despite the worsening weather conditions surrounding Hurricane Sandy. The tomb has been guarded continuously since 1948.
Monday 10/29/12 12:32 pm
Once the power goes, obviously the first thing you have to do is drink all of your beer, right? I think the last thing that I want to spoil first is the cold beer. I can eat warm chicken cutlet and melted snickers, but there's relatively little chance that I'll drink warm beer. As soon as the TV goes black and the Internet disconnects, your immediate focus shifts to drinking all of the beer as fast as possible as to ensure that the final beer that you consume is no more than 10 degrees warmer than it was when the lights went out. That's StormRidin 101.
I also taped my bedroom windows and am thinking of whether or not I should tape my roommate's windows since he went to the tropics and left me to defend our castle on my own. As terrified as I'd be if the wind was to break my windows, I'd almost like to see it happen just to find out what purpose the tape actually serves. Like, is there any documentation of this tactic working in the history of hurricanes? It looks like if the window were to break, it'd shatter regardless. Have always wondered how that worked.
Monday 10/29/12 12:18 pm
The National Weather Service has dropped the hammer:
Monday 10/29/12 12:03 pm
It's starting to rain in Hoboken and I think we're off and running. Gonna get a lot worse before it gets any better.
From Atlantic City (AP):
"The city's basically flooded," said Willie Glass, the city's public safety director. "Most of the city is under water."
Just spoke with a beautiful blonde that had to evacuate Wildwood 2 days ago. She said that in 1962, Hurricane Daisy wiped out the entire Cape May beach so the Army Corp of Engineers built a sea wall that hasn't been breached since, until today. Also said that the ocean should meet the bay in Wildwood sometime later tonight.
I think it's DiGiorno's time.
Monday 10/29/12 11:23 am
Things are getting real in a hurry. It's inevitable that massive amounts of salt water will get into the NYC subway system, rendering major parts of it useless for months. Flood levels in many places are already approaching and exceeding Irene levels and the storm is still 9 hours away from making landfall. The hybrid monster. The worst weather event of our lifetimes. Frankenstorm.
I took a stroll down to the Hudson river seeing as how the conditions were perfect for testing out a healing broken foot. The wind gets crazy once you're a block from water to the point where you can lean forward and be held up. The chop is coming from north to south because of the spin of the storm and is something that you don't see everyday with the breeze almost always coming from the south or west. Birds just post up about 20 or 30 feet off the ground facing north and straight coast. Kind of reminds me of the wave pool at Typhoon Lagoon. It's also pretty remarkable to see that all air traffic is shut down in the area considering how many helicopters and planes constantly clog the airspace.
The Erie-Lackawanna Park and Sam Sloan Statue area near the train station is all flooded and people were flocking to it like a memorial for a slain hero. You can't blame everyone for wanting to be a photographer these days, but for me it really came down to deciding which kind of person I wanted to be today. Do I want to try and be an ama-teur photojournalist and provide updates to mankind or do I want to be one of those people that wake up on the day of the largest storm in modern history by getting one last workout in before end times? Like really. Why exercise today?
Just about every store that I saw on a 4 block stretch of Washington is closed with their windows taped or boarded up and sandbags at the base of the doors. I thought it just may be because it was only about 10:30 but then I saw that Dunkin Donuts was closed and knew shit was for real. Dunkin Donuts NEVER closes. But perhaps the biggest tragedy thus far is the shutdown of Basile's pizza on the corner of Newark and Washington right downtown. A lot of people can get mad but you can't blame the guy for protecting his franchise player for the possibility of selling a few extra slices and getting your glass doors blown to shit. Plus, look at how awesome that sign is.
Well the storm is getting stronger and moving faster. Astronomical tide cycle is waiting in the wings ready to get involved. State highways closing by sundown. The Holland and Brooklyn Battery tunnel closed at 2 pm. Church bells are ringing from a block over. The wind is whipping. No trains in, no trains out.
Monday 10/29/12 9:12 am
"TERRIFYING MEGASTORM CRIPPLES EAST COAST" -The Weather Channel
"EAST COAST BRACING FOR 11 FOOT WALL OF WATER AS SANDY NEARS" FoxNews
"SUPERSTORM EXPECTED TO HOOK INLAND SOMETIME MONDAY AS CITIES BRACE FOR IMPACT IN MOST HEAVILY POPULATED CORRIDOR IN NATION" Cbsnews.com
Zone A in Manhattan evacuated anticipating an 11 foot wall of water that's going to flood downtown. All airports and mass transit closed. Low lying coastal areas expected to be completely submerged. Children crying, women panicking; the new guys in the corner pukin' his guts out. Trying to sleep and it sounds like the wind is going to reduce my building to rubble at any second. This is what we've prepared our whole lives for. Hurricane Bob, Hurricane Floyd, Hurricane Irene...childs play compared to what Sandy is going to bring our way. At the end of the day you just have to focus on your assignment and trust your teammates. The rest is in God's hands.
Monday 10/29/12 2:12 am
Using Facebook statuses as sources, the area near PATH in Hoboken is already starting to flood and it hasn't even started raining yet.
Monday 10/29/12 1:45 am
The wind is pretty constant now and you can hear the roar of water or wind or whatever out towards lower Manhattan and beyond. Check out this really non-ominous sounding quote from FEMA:
"The time for preparing and talking is about over," Federal Emergency Management Administrator Craig Fugate said as Hurricane Sandy made its way up the Atlantic on a collision course with two other weather systems that could turn it into one of the most fearsome storms on record in the U.S. "People need to be acting now."
Monday 10/29/12 12:00 am
My very own brother has chimed in on the situation in Hoboken by Facebook messaging me "How's the bath tub of drinking water holding up? I hope you have to drink from it." Thanks brother.
So it's pretty much looking like all of New Jersey, New York City, and Long Island are going to get absolutely dominated. Channel 7 news had a story about a 20 foot gap in a seawall in Far Rockaway Beach. The town didn't finish it over the summer and then made a patchwork fill this week when the storm started to head our way. They're all worrying about being stranded like those in New Orleans, yet none of them will evacuate. Port Monmouth also at risk of being washed away and someone earlier mentioned that the storm could significantly redraw the New Jersey coastline. Pretty wild stuff.
Storm surge is all the rage right now but I feel like the reverse name Surge Storm could be a great name for an American Gladiator. Or a porn star. But no matter how you slice it, it's going to fuck us up.
"Sunday, NOAA’s hurricane research division rated the “destruction potential” of Sandy’s surge and wave at 5.8 on a 0-to-6 scale."
Sunday 10/28/12 8:56 pm
At first, I wasn't a believer. It seems like every time a big storm heads our way these days, it's deemed a "once in a lifetime event" and "the worst storm to ever hit New Jersey". It's easy to get swept up in all of the pre-storm hoopla especially with every major news outlet pumping us full of fear with constant broadcasts and fake thunder and lightning backdrops behind the anchor desks.
But, alas, I was converted into a Hurricane Sandy believer just shortly after 8:55 this evening, when the first confirmed usage of the word "bodacious" was documented since Episode 38 of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon in April of '91:
And from the mayor about dwindling water supplies and anticipated power outages:
"Widespread power outages are expected, Mayor Zimmer said, which could affect our area for up to a week. "Water is running out in the stores," Zimmer said. People should be ready to "stay inside for the next couple of days."
Sunday 10/28/12 7:20 pm
BREAKING NEWS: Just received word that my office is closed tomorrow. With that development, my top concerns for Hurricane Sandy immediately shift from fire and flood to trying to avoid drinking like a homeless person between now and when the office reopens. My current stockpile include 12 Bud Lights, 3 Sierra Nevadas (sorry, Matt), a small amount of red wine, and enough Svedka to power a Euclid ave Saturday afternoon.
I have wanted to avoid mentioning it all day, but it's been hard to not gain a bit of respect for Chris Christie for how he's conducted his 2 press conferences today. "If you're still on the Barrier Islands and you still have power and you're watching this, you're an idiot." Although the sound of him breathing heavily into the microphone while someone from the press asks a questions makes me want to puke, you can't help but summon images of that scene in Sandlot where the Beast is sleeping in his dog house and breathing dirt clouds out the front door. Now go get yourself a couple plates of lasagna, Guv'na.
WINDS ARE PICKIN UP!!!!!!!!!!!!! But the spritzing has stopped.
Sunday 10/28/12 6:15 pm
The News12 NJ meteorologist is putting in a career defining performance right now. Really taking advantage of the situation and elevating his game to uncharted territory. #HardworkDedication
Sunday 10/28/12 5:47 pm
From the weather desk, the spritzing has intensified.
Sunday 10/28/12 5:29 pm
It's starting to spritz. That's journalism, folks.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
For just over 7 months now, the ability to write and publish this entry has relentlessly escaped me.
It hasn't been for a total lack of effort, however, as there are a half-dozen or so files saved to my computer filled with pathetic and incomplete introspection as to why I a) fell off the sobriety wagon and b) didn't have the courage, time, and/or appropriate enough reasons to write about it. I've internalized every possible excuse for why there was no real point in continuing to publish my thoughts, or in the least, for why I shouldn’t explain to everyone in detail the magnificent, fateful night in which I fell back into partying: I had failed my mission, work was busier than ever, I was moving, the summer got underway and was more ridiculous than I could ever really put into words, I grew tired of making everyone laugh at the expense of my embarrassing hangover adventures, on and on and on and on.
And as each day passed by after I had started drinking again, the opportunity to make excuses for not writing became far more desirable than exerting the necessary thought and energy it would take for me to publicly and appropriately admit my failure. Whereas in my everyday life I’m much more inclined to face the music upfront and admit defeat before someone can call me on it, once I fell off the wagon I became really good at playing dumb and living in the moment. But at the core, I was deeply embarrassed that I had gone so public with my sobriety and then out of nowhere, started drinking again and stopped writing about it 7 months in. I pretty much left everyone to wonder or just assume that I either no longer existed or that I was blacked out in the tub of some hotel bathroom again. Actually, the truth is that I was indeed blacked out a lot of the time, it just so happened to be in Belmar during various tapings of Live at 5 and not in a bathtub at the Hyatt in Boston.
To be fair though, I realize that this ship has long since sailed and that no one should care about what I have to say anymore. For those of you who were regular readers of my blog and looked forward to my random musings or the monthly hangover stories, I left you out in the dark with no explanation as to what happened or why the Big Adventure ceased to exist. And now, as November comes storming in and summer is far in the rearview, here I come crawling back to you with a long-winded explanation of why I left so abruptly without saying goodbye and didn’t come home for the past 185 days. But at this point it's better if you don't care. What was so flawed not only about my sobriety challenge in the first place, but also about a piece my personal character in general is that I too often aim to please everyone else first and worry about myself last, if at all. There are obviously far worse personality traits that one could admit to on the Internet, but this sort of personal disposition has led me down more than my fair share of hollow paths for which there has been little recourse.
In the beginning, the idea of going sober for an entire year sounded foolish and miserable. It was evident that the trip would be a lonely and solemn one, but I knew that if there was a community of vested subscribers to my cause, I wouldn't want to let them down. The idea of appealing and staying true to the masses, combined with an absolute need to at least take a break from partying gave me a platform to turn around a part of my personal life and to get back to doing something that I actually enjoy: writing. Translating my experiences through writing and seeing everyone read my work and comment on it really helped me get through a lot of the early conflicts to imbibe more than anyone will ever know. As I plowed through life event after life event without anything more than caffeine and an open mind, I started to realize that I was staying sober more so for the people who I was afraid of letting down far more than for the one person that stood to actually benefit (or suffer) from the experience: myself.
Now someone with a far more advanced understanding of psychology and self-evaluation will most likely tell you that the above reasoning is flawed, and I wouldn’t say they’re wrong. I’m no expert in how the human mind works, I just like to put forth my best retrospective interpretation of how I seem to rationalize the decisions I make. What I do know, however, is that this conscious acknowledgement of my sobriety existing merely for the amusement of others crashed head-on with a week-long trip to South Carolina for work; a week where these forces of nature culminated with various other life situations for which I had committed to, but no longer had any control over the outcome of. The burning desire to take back a big part of my life which was so readily accessible at my fingertips at all times became too much to fight off. The idea of forging ahead without drinking had been reduced to a hindrance as opposed to the positive change that I had sought out in the first place. I was no longer in it for myself, partly because I truly believed that I had already accomplished something very difficult and partly because the burden of not failing took precedence over the potential joy and satisfaction of making it a full year without a drink. And as the sun set over the Atlantic Ocean on April 13, 2011, on the next to last day of our trip, I succumbed to the bottle (of red wine) and everything it was about to bring my way.
Ultimately, I failed at what I set out to do and I’m ok with that. I learned a lot in my 6 months and 29 days of sobriety and to be perfectly honest, I stood no chance at staying sober through a summer of living in a house with an in ground pool less than a mile from the ocean anyway. Like most things in life, some things just sound better on paper. But that first night back on scene while in South Carolina is most likely better left undocumented for the time being, at least until no one can tie me back to any specific employer or hotel property. After all, it’s not like I was sexually assaulted not even 2 hours after my first drink and then somehow ended up in my bedroom with a German girl that barely spoke any English, only to wake up the next morning still dressed a mere 3 minutes before our first general session of the day was about to start. I do hope to write and share the final 5 hangover stories and any other thoughts or essays that I’d rather publish for whoever feels like reading them as opposed to leaving them in my head to fester and fade away. It should be easier for me to do without the expectation of them coming at a specific time.
Finally, between April 13th and sometime in mid-July, a good friend would every so often remind me with a wag of his finger and a stern look in his eye that, "You owe us at least one last blog..." Each time I'd drop and shake my head, only to say "I know", but then never actually follow through with putting words to a screen. I wasn’t ready to write the piece and I didn’t want it to be my “last”. It was more than obvious that I had some explaining to do, but I was hiding in a seaside abyss of Red Bull Vodkas, cannonballs, and air horns. Telling girls that I was 22 years old, staying awake until the sun came up, and spending every single last penny that I was earning. After 7 months of not touching a single drop of alcohol, I was reacquainting myself with the wild and conducting thorough hands-on research to see if it still had a place for me.
But when all is said and done, and the horns stop blaring and leaves fall from the trees and you're left to face the cold winds alone, you can’t hide from the past if you want to shine on into the future.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
For those of you who have been reading this blog since the beginning, you may recall that before the adventure had legs, it had exceptions. In the very first entry, my declaration of sobriety was asterisked to a statement about me addressing said asterisk in an upcoming post. Needless to say, I never got around to writing that post.
But if I were to finally expand upon the thought today, I’d explain how that prior to swearing off alcohol and other miscellaneous vices for a year, various members of my lead strategic counsel recommended that I allocate a day or 2 of leniency. A couple of “Get out of jail free” cards, if you will. At the time, it was an interesting concept to announce publicly and I was unsure if that’s the route I wanted to take. But in a more general sense, it was the underlying and ongoing uncertainty surrounding the entire endeavor.
You see, back when all of this started, I just wanted to do something drastic. I had no idea how it would all take shape or if I’d even be able to get through the weekend without a drink. My life, or at least my social life, had reached a crossroads. Well, in actuality, it had tried to hop a fence while wasted in Boston one Saturday night and woke up the next morning in the hotel bathtub with a bleeding leg and no recollection of how the night had ended. A relentless, decade-long pursuit of always trying to top the last time I got fucked up had run smack-dab into a burgeoning desire to set a seemingly impossible goal and embark on a documented journey of trying to achieve it. But despite all of that, the reality of the situation was that I am who I am and there are just some special moments in life that absolutely, positively, unequivocally, without a doubt require the consumption of alcohol.
And standing above them all?
Think about it for a second. Think about allll of the major and minor events and occasions and happenings and casual drinks and planned drinks and drinks that you have after a long week of work or the drinks that you have while you don’t even realize that you’re having them because the art of imbibing is so commonplace. If you had to pick just one of those events over the course of a calendar year as the only time you’d drink, which would you choose? Any way you cut it, there’s only a handful that make the final cut. And for me, the right wedding reception takes the cake.
And back in September, I knew that on February 19, 2011 I would be a groomsman in the wedding of 2 of my best friends from college (one’s a guy and one’s a girl so go easy, San Francisco). There would be dozens of college friends, 2 families that I had met a couple of times before, and a never-ending smorgasbord of overwhelming opportunities to get wasted with some of the very best people in the world. Needless to say that at the time, an asterisk on my adventure was appropriate, if not necessary. But as the weeks and months began to pass, I was able to get through life without alcohol and with progressively less temptation. The bachelor party for the groom back in January provided quite a challenge, but as the wedding weekend drew near, I was confident in my ability to abstain from the bottle.
But ya know, some things just have a way of getting out of control way too quickly. Take for example, the night of Friday, August 26, 2005. The scene for the 8th worst hangover of my life.
I had left work early that day in order to go home and prepare myself to accompany the one and only Jennaay to her cousins wedding down the shore. I had been working in NYC for 6 months as an advertising sales sweatshop slave, regularly attempting to verbally bludgeon innocent business owners into lighting a handful of their hard-earned money on fire. When I wasn’t at work, I was commuting to and from Dunellen via New Jersey Transit, catching the 6:18 am daily express into Newark. I was also trying to sell t-shirts on the Internet, I was also living at home, and I also still had a drinking problem. When this wedding rolled around, I was ready to cut loose. Really loose.
We arrived in the early afternoon and just happened to run into the bride at the hotel bar a couple of hours prior to the ceremony. Rounds of shots ensued as I probably settled in with a handful or two of Corona’s and encouraged the continual pouring of tequila for the bride and her new friends. At the rate we were going in such a short amount of time, that place was damn lucky me and Jennayy weren’t doing body shots off one another while laying on the bar. We drank for a couple of hours up until the start of the ceremony. A ceremony, mind you, that lasted all of 5 minutes. The hurried exchange of vows was immediately followed by an outdoor cocktail hour on a warm August evening on the doorstep of the ocean. I took in the scenery, made conversation with strangers, and set a county—and quite possibly a state record, for most Jack and cokes consumed in a 60 minute span. As the crowd made their way into the building and ballroom you could just sense epic in the night.
Once inside I went right to the bartender and broke him off with a fresh $20 and a flash of my chubby cheeks and pearly whites. Now that he was on my side, I saddle-up and double-fisted my way through the early part of the ceremony. Never satisfied by having one or even 2 drinks at a time, I also asked our waitress if she could keep my champagne flute topped off through dinner. Although it may seem like I was a raging drunk, I was merely planning ahead. That opening part of a reception can be the kiss of death to your drunkenness if the speeches and opening dances drag out. Ensuring that you maintain a full flute throughout the duration of the opening ceremonies will help pass those final 10-15 minutes before the dance floor opens up to the public.
And on that particular evening, once the dance floor opened it was all downhill.
The drinking continued all throughout the reception. Stints on the dance floor were broken up by chugging vodka drinks at the table and smoking cigarettes in front of the hotel. It got to a point where every time I’d leave the ballroom to use the bathroom or smoke a cigarette, I would sign a different one of my college friends name on the keepsake signature portrait that the bride and groom had on a table just outside the reception. I think every name that mattered on the 2nd Floor of Hamden Hall at Western New England College in 2000-2001 made it to that portrait. To all involved, I’m sorry.
But the evening, and that summer, and that year, and pretty much my entire life up until that point, culminated that night in perhaps one of the greatest last songs of a wedding in modern history. As the dance floor raged and I danced my way into the history books, the Mariano Rivera of wedding songs came on to bring things to a close.
“Wellllllllllllllllllllllllllll………….you know you make me wanna shout!”
As soon as the silence ended by the crack of that beautiful lyric, guests were sent into a tailspin of madness and I was up on my feet hopping around trying to touch the ceiling. Loaded up on well over a dozen cocktails, half a pack of nicotine, and god knows how many red bull and vodkas, I was a short-circuited out of control dancing machine looking to leave an indelible mark on the minds of people that had no idea who the hell I was and why I was at the wedding.
“Now wai-a-ait a minute!”
Another silence echoed through the humid room as small talk and laughter filled the air. The brief respite in song allowed me to clear the sweat from my brow and ensure that I was fully prepared for the artistic onslaught that was about to go down on the dance floor. Having acknowledged that the reception was coming to a close, I was fully committed to going hard for the rest of the song. I was a on a legitimate mission to dance as hard as I could to that song on that dance floor because I was wasted and the moment was awesome.
I jumped and I jumped and I shouted and shouted...
“Jump up and shout now!
And I jumped some more and I shouted some more and the music got louder and louder…
“Every body shout now!”
And at just the moment that I thought I probably shouldn’t try to be jumping anymore…
“Shout! Shout! Shout! Shout!”
SNAP. I came down awkwardly on my left foot and was forced to stumble back to my seat at our table. The very next thing I remember was waking up flat on my back in a bed, dressed head to toe in my suit (sans left sock and shoe). Next to me in the other bed was Jennaay, also laid out flat on her back and fully dressed from head to toe. My mouth was as dry as my pants, my body was aching like i had fallen down a flight of stairs, and i couldn't put any pressure on my left foot whatsoever. Any attempt at trying to do so sent a searing pain through my body. We drove home and I eventually made my way to see a doctor to get some x-rays. The pictures proved what I had already feared. I had broken the 5th metatarsal on my left foot.
Aside from the awesomeness of being able to say that I broke my foot while dancing at a wedding, that night changed my life forever as I embarked on a 2-month hangover of trying to pick up the pieces from what happened on that dance floor. I was soon fired from my job after taking a week off to rest my wound. As my foot healed, I visited a friend in Arizona and loved it so much that I immediately convinced my college roommate and a childhood best friend to move out there by the end of the month. And just like that, a mere 5 weeks after getting wasted at a wedding and breaking my foot, I was asleep on my friends basement floor in Tempe, Arizona with half of a car full of my life’s possessions out in the parking lot waiting for a fresh start. In many ways, September 2010 was my Arizona 2005. A full tank of heart and a burning desire to do something drastic.
I guess what it all boils down to is that getting black-out drunk at a wedding drastically changed the course of my life. And much like other things that I would get wasted for, I thought I HAD to drink in order to have a good time. In all honesty, I didn’t know any other way to get through something and I’m willing to bet that a lot of you would still say the same thing. But last month up in Massachusetts, I made it through 4 beautiful days of family, friends, and the culmination of a 10 year relationship between 2 amazing people without a sip of booze. I didn’t need a drink when we met up with the groom’s parents for lunch on Thursday afternoon and I didn’t need a drink on Friday at the rehearsal dinner (but I did hold a pint of Guinness right up to my lips with thoughts of “Fuck It” running through my head). I didn’t need a drink on the morning of the ceremony, or in the limo to the church, or on the bus ride after the ceremony. And by the time the reception rolled around, having a drink was the farthest thing from my mind. For the first time in a long while, I was content with the state of mind I was in despite being surrounded by temptation and circumstance.
The next day I had a long drive home and the fact that I was able to have a great time without alcohol really sank in. Maybe it's pathetic, maybe it's sad, or maybe it's just a realistic representation of how we've come to associate drinking and life. Or maybe drinking is life.
Either way, it’s a good feeling to know that if drinking ever left you, life would be ok.