. . .
My little brother and his girlfriend invite/drag me to a party in Podunk, Maryland. It’s on a farm in the middle of nowhere. My little brother spins wrenches for a living and spends his weekends in West Virginia spinning wrenches, so a party on a remote farm is right up his alley. His girlfriend, whom I fondly refer to as Pizana, is a gorgeous college grad from an Italian family, is working on a master’s degree, and is therefore already more educated than me. However, she’s also already a lot more drunk than me. As we drive up, cold 24 pack and Gatorades in the back seat, I wonder what to expect. I don’t realize that I’m about to experience a bunch of Black Flag songs in motion.
”Thirsty and miserable, you drop to the floor. Thirsty and miserable, ya drink till ya can’t even see anymore!”
On exiting the car, I hear two things: 1) “House Owner bought a pool and has a slip and slide on the roof!” and 2) the sound of a pushrod V8 at full throttle, somewhere off in the fields, cloaked by the night. I immediately realize that this party has been going for a while, and that I’m by far the most sober human within a square mile. Our cold 24 pack is greeted with much aplomb, and somebody hurls an open can of Natty Boh across the patio at my brother by way of a greeting. Half of our case of beer disappears in 30 seconds, so I hide it in the tall grass by the gravel driveway and sagely pat myself on the back for my older brother wisdom.
”Gimme Gimme Gimme, I need some more! Gimme Gimme Gimme, DON’T ASK WHAT FOR!”
The source of the mechanical ruckus pulls up: it’s a muddy, beat to hell ‘70s Chevy truck with four wheel drive. The 350 is apparently protesting the treatment it has received, so the hood goes up and three mudcakes crawl into the engine bay to sort it out. I crack my first beer, unsure of whether I should drink until this all works out, or hold back in case I need my wits about me. A drunk girl walks up, pokes me in the chest, and demands to know my name. Her boyfriend (?) glares at me, and, fortunately, my Pizana introduces me. I quickly decide that I will not be getting drunk.
”Annihilate This Week…All Week, Long! Annihilate! Annihilate! All Week, Long!”
We talk about random topics for a half hour while randomly getting splashed by people flying off the roof into the pool. The gutter comes off with a crash, and the house’s owner protests loudly and futilely from inside the building. The Chevy that everyone thought was on its deathbed barks back into life, angrily bellowing that it will not go quietly into that good night. The exhaust is loose and is quickly ripped off. Somebody comments that the neighbors will call the police if we keep running the 350 all night. Nobody dignifies the comment with a response. Half a dozen people pile into the truck’s bed for another round of off-roading.
”We’re gonna be a white minority! We won’t listen to the majority! We’re gonna feel inferiority!”
Somebody yells that there’s a black girl at the party. Nobody knows who brought her…yet. Racial slurs start to pepper the half-dozen conversations around me. I’m worried for black girl’s safety.
”I was so nebbed out, I was so drunked out, I was so wasted I was out of my head!”
The owner of the house is a skinny, sleepy looking fellow with a Corona light perpetually in hand. He walks out onto the patio, and my brother introduces me. According to my brother, his wardrobe consists of 25 pairs of white Airwalks, 25 pairs of khaki shorts, 25 pairs of white undershirts, and a Stussy baseball cap. Right now, he is accordingly attired. He has just purchased a brand new Nismo 370Z, and it is sitting in the basement. I look at the freshly detailed car, and we lament the costliness of modifying German and Japanese iron. As he’s roughly my age, I make a comment about how the ‘90s were awesome. I also assume that his parents have money or that he has a lucrative job with security clearance or something like that. Later, I learn from my brother that House Owner is apparently an inveterate and talented Internet scam artist, but nobody knows exactly how he scams or makes his money.
Apparently House Owner must take medication when not drinking, or he could die from the effects of alcohol withdrawal. He routinely flies to Vegas with friends to lose several grand and pays for his friends’ tickets, food, and rooms. The newly acquired pool is apparently the reason for the party. I’m curious as to how he managed to obtain it, but I decide not to ask.
”Who’s got the 10 1/2?”
There’s a black Subaru WRX sedan sitting in the gravel driveway. It is the source of much curiosity to the natives. The owner makes himself known by loudly proclaiming how awesome the car is. He starts talking shit about the exclusively American cars sitting in the extended driveway. “This shiznit is so tizzite, bro! It’s got like a Porch motor. 2.5 liters of turbo fury!” He does not seem to understand that a farm full of drunk rednecks who don’t understand why GM went bankrupt and who honestly mourn the passing of Pontiac will not be impressed by his new car. As I have the most experience and knowledge with them “furrin’ curs”, I am now designated shit-talker. I ask him if it has VTEC. I ask him why his Porsche motor is missing some cylinders. I ask him if he likes his new Toyota.
He understands precisely none of this, which is why I don’t get into a fistfight.
”Drink! Drink! Drink, don’t think! Drive! Kill!”
He attempts to impress us by off-roading his car. Somebody comments that it has only 800 miles on it. He returns some time later, runs over a tire jack sitting in the driveway, and proceeds to rev the motor at us for a minute or so. The car is covered in mud and the gap between the fender and the tires is noticeably larger in the front of the car than in the back. I’m worried for black car’s safety. We stare blankly at the black car’s owner, because what the hell else do you do in this situation?
”I’m…going…to…explode! I’ve had it!”
Somewhere out in the field, the dying 350 manages to sound both more dignified and more appropriate to the whole scene than the new-born Subaru’s Chihuahua barks.
”Say ya don’t want it? Ya don’t want it! Say ya don’t want it, then you slip it on in…”
Drunken chest-poker girl ambles up to me and demands to know if I like her hair. As she is utterly drunk and I am socially retarded and caught off guard, I blurt out the first thing that comes to mind, figuring either it will be funny or she won’t remember it: “I dunno, it looks kinda fucked up.”
As it turns out, her sister’s a hairdresser and does her hair. This comment is so egregious that I manage to piss off a drunk girl who wanted to jump my bones within five minutes of meeting me. My brother covers for me, asking if he can smell her hair, which normally would be impossibly awkward, but the gesture somehow placates her. Thus, I do not get into a fistfight.
”I’m confused! confused! Don’t wanta be abused!”
Apparently Subaru douche brought the black girl. 4WD truck off-roading around the farm? Cheap light beers? Roof-mount slip’n’slide into a pool? Standard redneck issue fun, all of it. Random black girl? Subaru douche? Illegally purchased and freshly polished Nismo 370Z in a hacker’s basement? I’m beginning to experience what is known as “cognitive dissonance”. Because Pizana is thoroughly drunk, I’m officially both the most sober human being withing a square mile as well as the only human within a square mile who understands what “cognitive dissonance” means. I text a colleague in Chicago about this, because what the hell else do you do in this situation?
”Sitting here, like a loaded gun, I’m waiting to go off! I got nothing to do, but, shoot my mouth off!”
Subaru douche’s transgressions have piqued the natives. Country justice must be served. While Ru-douche goes inside to find his girlfriend, somebody pees in his front passenger seat through the open window. Ru-douche returns, starts his car, and proceeds to make out with his girlfriend to 90’s jock metal. Apropos of nothing, he randomly attempts to execute a burnout on the gravel. The car hooks up and surges forward through the tall grass, destroying my brother’s 24 pack, and then nearly hits a cement wall which is overgrown with ivy. He leaves the car running and returns inside for another beer.
When he comes back out, he begins insulting my Pizana. He calls her a BBW and screws up her name intentionally by calling her the name of another girl who is much, much larger. She takes it in stride, but I don’t. I tell him he shouldn’t mess with Italians, because he’ll wake up with missing kidneys. He tells me he’s part Native American and that he will kick my ass. I inform him that I am duly terrified by this declaration and ask him where he’d like to me to send my peace offering of blankets.
Because he doesn’t get it, I don’t get into a fistfight.
”I said now, screw it, Louie! We gotta go”
Pizana is justifiably mad. There’s not enough beer to get my little brother drunk. There’s a spare toilet in the basement, not hooked up to any pipes, and somebody has done something monstrous in it. Drunken chest-poker girl is probably plotting my demise. In other words, there are no reasons to stay, and many to go. We exit quietly. My offer to drive home is turned down, and I consent, because what the hell else do you in this situation?
Yes, I can talk to rednecks about their built Monte Carlo with the 383 and nitrous. Yes, I can manage to avoid fistfights. Yes, I can tolerate cheap, light beer. Yes, I sort of fit in, but mostly everyone just ignored me. As strange as the party was, I felt like I was stranger still, with my big words and my fancy phone and my corporate job. And yes, I can’t help but use big words and Black Flag quotes when reflecting back on one of the strangest nights of my life.
. . .