So the morning of the missing wallet fiasco, I not only woke up to excruciating pain and a dizzying headache, but also to the steady beat of club music and my cousin’s boisterous voice, which resonated through the walls as he sang along. (Note–he was a house away and down hill.I think maybe he should think about trying out for American Idol)
“Ugh.” I moaned to myself, as I tried to drown out the noise by hiding my head beneath the pillow. “This is supposed to be a relaxing vacation, not camp!” Falling back to sleep was fruitless so I got out of bed and began my morning. Not long after the onset of the missing wallet fiasco, curiosity got the best of me. The music next door was still playing, but the raucous had quieted down–a sure sign that something was going on.
I walked over to find my cousin and uncle bent over the “Caja China,” (a wooden box for roasting pig). They were sowing the traditional “Lechon” (pig) to the grill. My cousin had a wire and pliers in his hand, and my uncle was “managing,” I suppose. Each of them had a can of beer at the ready. “Really?” I thought, a bit amused, “It’s not even 10 yet!” I couldn’t help but smile at the scene in front of me though. Here were two men–an obvious father and son team–laboring over the roasting of a pig, with cans of beer in hand, and an majestic country view in the background. It would have been a perfect cover image for some men’s BBQ Magazine. The pigs carcass was a bit too much for me, so I walked around and took some pictures of the scenery, then went back to home. (My aunt and uncle’s place).
Back at my aunt and uncle’s house, the older adults were mucking about on their computers and jabbering away about things I had no interest in. So, I opted for showering and preparing myself for the party, but my hung-over self was feeling a bit anti-social, so I “cocooned” myself into a hammock and settled down to read a book instead of heading over. I was so deeply engrossed in the narritive that it wasn’t until a couple of hours later, when one of my cousin’s arrived with her children, that I noticed that the party next door was in full swing. Surprised, I flipped out of the hammock and headed over.
I was delighted, when I got there, to see my great-aunt sitting in the middle of the festivities–her vibrant energy radiating a unique spiritedness and vitality that is only true to her. I couldn’t help but smiled, and after giving her a warm greeting, I took a minute to observe the party.
A large canopy was set up at the entrance, providing protection from the sun as well as the rain that threatened to make an unwelcome appearance. Along the left hand side, near the entrace were two six-foot tables. One was stacked with snack foods and the other was covered completely with hard liquor and mixers. Between the two tables were three or four large coolers full of beer. Against the opposite wall was the “entertainment system,” which consisted of a small home stereo system. My cousin’s was standing there, i-pod in hand, searching for what I suspect was The Black Eyed Pease’s Tonights Gonna Be a Good Night–his chosen theme song for the weekend. (much to my sister’s dismay). One of my uncles had just walked in with a bubble making machine. I followed after him to the back corner where he jubilantly set it up while explaining to me how it worked. Humored by his child-like excitement, I wondered, as I often do, why he’d never had kids.
I left him and focused back on the party only to realize that I knew almost no one. I couldn’t tell family from friends, and wished my sister and Lion of Macedon where there to keep me company. Oh, well, they weren’t there, so I walked over to greet another uncle that had just walked in. I had just finished speaking to him and was hobbling over to get some food, when I saw him walk in. Or rather, them walk in. A group of the most beautiful people I’d ever met, but more specifically one of the most handsome men I had ever laid my eyes on. My first thought was, “Oh God, I hope I’m not realated to him.” Then just as quickly, “I hope he’s not Gay,” and lastely, “Is he wearing a ring?”
My uncle called me over and introduced me to them, and it turns out that, no, we weren’t related, they were my cousin’s friends. (Go figure that my self-proclaimed “hot cousin” would have incredibly hot friends.) As we were being introduced, I dared glance at “hot guy’s” hand. (based on the previous night’s conversation with Lion of Macedon, we’ll name him Gustavo) No. No ring, but is he with one of those girls? Ugh! I couldn’t tell! And as luck would have it, I never found out.
You see, I have this sort of social anxiety problem where I get really quiet and loose my ability to think, let alone speak, when I’m in a high-stress situation. And believe me, being at a party where I didn’t really know anyone, and didn’t feel confident enough in my ability to speak Spanish, was one of these situations. Not to mention, that I was meeting like a billion of my mother’s cousins for the first time, and that in itself was a bit overwhelming. (Not in a bad way. They are great! It was just a lot to take in.) So, as always happens, I clammed up. “F***” I though to myself in frustration, “not again!” (This happens to me a lot, and it always pisses me off).
To cope, I walked over to the liquor table and fixed myself a hurricane, and at either my cousin or my uncle’s urging, took a couple of pitorro shots (YUCK!) and fixed myself a screw driver. I hung around the food table for a while, then fixed myself another hurricane before I finally felt relaxed enough to start socializing again. (I’d only been at the party for maybe two hours and was already way beyond my drinking limit–especially when you consider I was still hung over from the night before).
I spent the rest of the afternoon back a forth between the two houses. Drinking like crazy when I got anxious, then going to the quiet house to recoup when I got dizzy. The strategy was working fine until just before nightfall. I was at the party thinking about taking another break, when I looked up to see super hot guy “Gustavo” giving my great aunt a mini lap dance. My uncle and a few other’s had been pressuring him to strip for her all afternoon. Obviously, he’d finally caved in to some of the pressure and compromised with a lap dance. The whole ordeal lasted less than a minute but had me laughing so hard that I had tears running down my cheeks. I don’t know what I enjoyed more. The sight of someone so young giving an old lady in a wheelchair a lap dance, or the fact that she enjoyed it and egged him on for more. At that moment I made the decision to stop taking breaks. I couldn’t risk missing anything else.
Eventually things settled down, and not long after nightfall one of my other cousins and his friends put on a quick firework show that was continually interrupted by the passing cars. It was nice though. The lights glowed more brightly in the darkness of the country than I’d ever seen in the city, but the more entertaining part for me was watching how excited the boys were about lighting their fireworks. They reminded me a lot of my older brother during his annual 4th of July firework show,and I couldn’t help but to think that there must be an active pyromaniac gene on the Diaz side of the family. Sadly, hot guy “Gustavo” and the rest of his group left as soon as the show was over. (Sigh. . . Buh, bye eye-candy).
Sometime during the night, my cousin and his buddies decided to build a fire out of wet wood. It had rained earlier that afternoon and there wasn’t a dry piece of kindling in sight. They must have used an entire can of lighter fluid and a half a bag of charcoal just to get the thing going. Once it was burning steadily, a bunch of the kids and I sat around it roasting marshmallows. The outdoorsy side of me loved this part of the night the most. My 12-year-old cousin sat next to me and asked me all sorts of questions about snow. Have you ever tried to describe snow to anyone who hasn’t seen it? It’s not as easy as you might think. The conversation soon turned to music and video games (that I knew nothing about). In the end, we decided that next year, someone should bring a projector and hook it up to a Nintendo Wii so that we have Wii Sport or Rock Band competitions between the kids and the adults. Eventually he went home and my cousin and his friends settled around the fire.
This is where things start getting kind of blurry. One of my cousin’s friends sat at one end of the fire with a speaker, and played a nice mix of Salsa music, while a couple danced to it. My cousin took the seat next to me and noticed that I had no drink in hand. After balking at me like a chicken I requested that he make me a tasty drink, to which he graciously complied.
He introduced me to more of his friends, and they began to sing some Paranda songs, I think. It was like a sort of game where everyone came up with a rhyme, but when it was my turn, I couldn’t think of anything so I had them skip over me and soon fell into conversation with one of his friends. As the night progressed, and the drinks continued, my cousin suggested that I have one of his pilot friends strip for me. The first time, I sort of ignored the suggestion, but 5 drinks later, as I was dancing around the fire, it didn’t seem like such a bad idea.
Only, I wasn’t so sure about his pilot friend to doing it, because. . . well, you all know how I feel about pilots after the whole Santiago incident last fall. . .but oh well. There was only one cute friend left so I said he should do it. Only he, or one of his buddies stipulated that it wouldn’t be fair if he showed me his unless I showed him mine. Really? It was like first grade all over again. Now, typically I might have said something along the lines that it’s a man’s job to attract the lady, and not the other way around, but these were extenuating circumstances. I was clearly unknowingly drunk, and determined to get this guy for strip for me, or at the very least, to take off his shirt. So, I flashed him, for less that a couple of seconds, but I flashed him nonetheless. He in return, showed some skin, while my cousin rattled off the brand of my Bra and attempted to estimate the cup size. Fascinating, show of knowledge, to say the least.
Cute boy, however, never stripped. TEAR! Unfortunately, I think that particular friend was also the only sober person there and as such, refused to give in to peer pressure. Lame! He did, however hesitantly agree to fix me my last drink for the night. A request I think he would have refused if he’d known just how much I’d had to drink in that last couple of hours. (I’m not kidding when I say he hesitate. My cousin had to tell him exactly what to put in the drinks.)
You see, my cousin had fixed me two drinks, and this would have appeared to be my third, only what he didn’t know is that every time I had gotten up to use the rest room, I had fixed myself a screw driver, and finished it by the time I sad down. Oops!
The thing is, that other than feeling slightly out of character and asking people to strip, I felt fine. Physically. That was until I turned over to look at my cousin and all of a sudden saw three of him, while the background moved in slow motion. “Uhm, I see three of you,” I muttered.
To which he laughed, “you see three of me.” It was a statement not a question.
“Ugh, It think I’m going to throw up,” I moaned. It hit just like that. Like a brick. I wanted to go to the bathroom to vomit, as is customary, but they (he and my uncle) insisted I do it over the railing, so that the rain could just wash it away. I didn’t want to. I mean, it’s not very lady like, but it looked to be the only viable option. My uncle helped me up and walked me over. He held my hair back and rubbed my back as I spewed what felt like my life, out into the darkness of the night. When I was done, I felt worse than I did before I started. The world hadn’t been spinning before, but it was spinning now, and as many drunk people have done before, I begged God not to let me die.
Meanwhile, my cousin thought this was the funniest thing ever, and he decided it would be even funnier to phone my sister and tell her what was going on. I remember giving him her phone number, but not knowing why he was asking for it, just hoping beyond hope that she would come to save me. She was not amused by the 2 am phone call.
The feeling of staring out into the abyss, then watching it swirl around in the dizzying haze that comes with being drunk, was a bit too much for my mind to handle at the time. While my rational side knew that I was standing on the patio, surrounded by people, and that this was a result of dehydration, my emotional mind was convinced that I was looking strait into a black hole, and if I were to let go of the railing, I would drop into a bottomless pit and be lost in empty space forever.
I asked for water, knowing that I needed to hydrate myself. The boys obliged, bringing it to me after each request, but my aunt wasn’t having any of it. Being wiser and more experienced in the matter, she insisted that the water would just make me vomit more, which it did, and demanded that they get me to my house so I could sleep. The only problem was . . . well, there were several obstacles to overcome .
First, we were all drunk. Second I had a sprained ankle and would not manage to make it up the hill without the support of someone sober. (At this point I’d been throwing up for maybe 45 minutes and all friends who were not spending the night had gone home). Third, and most importantly, I refused to let go of the railing for fear of the “black hole” I was convinced was waiting to suck me in. I seriously thought I was going to die. If it wasn’t the black hole, it would be the spins that would have the end of me. At some point, I let my grip go for just a minute and fell into the pig grease. Ewe! Gross! I got back up, but realized at that point, that I could barely stand. So I quickly gripped the railing again. It was around this time that my aunt decided to take charge of the situation.
She began barking out orders. “Get the wheel chiar!” she commanded. Where they got a wheel chair from was beyond me, but they had it. “Sit her in it!”
“No!” I screamed, “I don’t want to sit on there.” But they forced me onto it, and I felt like a horrible invalid child. It was embarrassing! I was being wheeled up the hill, and it was pitch dark outside, I saw no faces, but heard voices, the dark swirls were moving faster, and I started crying all over again that I was going to die, but inside, I thought I was already dead. I remember thinking, “If I’m not dead, this must be what death feels like!”
Now, I have to hand it to my cousin and uncle who I’m assuming are the ones that wheeled me up the hill. They must be pretty strong because they somehow managed to get all 156 lbs of me not just up the hill, but also up the stairs to my uncle’s house, and then tuck me into bed. At some point, I remember someone cleaning the pigs grease off my leg, and me yelling “My cousin tried to kill me,” while my aunt, his mother, tried to calm me down and lull me to sleep. One of last thing I remember is opening up my eyes just long enough to see my cousin laugh at me and repeat in an humored tone, “I tried to kill you? I didn’t try to kill you, I brought you here and am putting you to bed.” Not long after, my other uncle kicked my aunt out of the room, and shut the door, and an hour or so later, I managed to have cried myself to sleep.
And that, was the end of that night. At least for me. What I wouldn’t find out until days later is that everyone in that house, except for one of my uncles, was sleeping when I was brought up. My screams woke them, and they jumped into action thinking something terrible had happened, only to find that I was simply drunk. The screams must have been pretty bad though, because my aunt (the one’s whose house I was staying at) was convinced that I’d been raped. And for that, I am sorry.
The next day, I woke up to my uncles mocking me, “I’m gong to die.” Still drunk, I ignored them and giggled. I got up and pranced around feeling great that I could walk again, but my uncles weren’t too happy with me. “Go apologize to your cousin for the awful things you said about him last night,” my one uncle told me. Of course I would, I felt bad about that. So I walked out onto the balcony, to a chorus of “I’m going to die” from the other house. When they were finished I called over, “Hey cousin, I take back everything I said last night.” OK, ok, so it wasn’t a full, sentimental apology, but I’m not the huggy, “I’m so sorry” type. So that apology will have to do.
I was fine for about an hour, but sometime during my shower, the hangover hit, and I knew then that I was going to die. I curled back up in bed, begging God for forgiveness, but not being foolish enough to promise that I would never drink again, because that would be a lie, and you shouldn’t lie to God. So, I just prayed that he’d help get me through the day.
I woke up a few hours later, and groaned when my uncle told me we’d be leaving soon. I was not looking forward to the winding drive down the mountainside, and to this day don’t know how I survived it. As if going down that steep mountain road with my motion sickness and hangover wasn’t bad enough, I had to endure lectures from my uncles on the dangers of letting people fix me drinks, how to properly order drinks from a bar, blah blah blah… all the way down. I couldn’t believe that I was 30 years old and receiving a lecture from two uncles, one who had only just met me, that I should have heard from my own father years ago. I felt like I was a stupid 15 year old all over again. (Then again, I’d acted like a stupid 15 year-old the night before, so the lecture was well earned.) The only upside to this whole thing being that they wouldn’t lecture me if they didn’t care. So, as annoying as it was, it also felt good to be loved.
Despite the fright that I gave my aunt, and the fact that she will probably never forgive me for what I put her through that night, if I had to do it all over again, I would. The reasons for this will be made known at a later time, when I’m ready to divulge my inner most secrets, but for now just take pleasure in knowing that I survived. Well, that we all survived my first, and most embarrassing Fiesta de Reyes Celebration, EVER!
And so ends the story of Me Voy a Morir-Jajome 2009