A friend of mine asked me to write this story. It’s not the sort of thing I usually record. But, I think we have all had moments like this. Moments when we have done something incredibly ridiculous. I have been putting off writing this because I am a bit embarrassed to be making fun of someone who did something silly. Thankfully my friend has the ability to laugh at himself. And, every time I’ve run into him for the past month, he’s said, “Have you written it yet?” We’ll call him G.
A decade or so back, I used to hold this get-together at my house occasionally. It was called a bardic. It involved singing, music and storytelling. Some people drank a little, some people drank not at all. Some people chose to drink a bit more than they should. We took their keys and found them a safe way home. Bardic was often… well… inappropriate for young children. Theoretically it was supposed to be songs from the Renaissance and Middle Ages. Or filks about those times. But… Songs like Chastity Belt and Dos, A Beer, A Mexican Beer would spring up as people started getting into their groove. My personal favorite is a story that involves the whole crowd in sounds effects and hand gestures, but I digress…
Now, as I’ve said, it is not my usual way to laugh at someone who drinks. Drinking is something I had some issues with back in college, and had some family issues with as well. It is extremely rare for me therefore to have more than one or two of something before switching to water, soda or juice. But I’m okay with my friends unwinding as long as everyone is safe. I kind of keep an eye on things at my parties to make sure no one is getting out of control. My friend G that night, for whatever reason, chose that night to drink. Not his usual choice, but his knees were really bothering him, so he got a glass to sip upon and a place to sit and settled in.
What I didn’t realize was, that as that night had progressed, G had managed to get himself extremely drunk. Pissed. Wasted. Beyond inebriated. He’s a big guy. A really big guy. And there really wasn’t a visible sign. He was cheerful, happy, loud and relaxed. All normal things. All was good in his world!
G was one of the last to leave. He was also walking home from my place, and it was dark and icy out, so I asked him to give me a call when he reached his apartment. “OK!” He said merrily as he negotiated his way down our stairs, waving goodbye.
My husband and I cleaned up the very few odds and ends. (I’m lucky in that my friends generally clean up after themselves.) Then, we started the nightly routine of getting ready for bed. I was just starting to get worried about G when the phone rang, “HEY! I’M HOME! I FELL UP THE STAIRS!!” “Are you okay?” “UMM, LET ME CALL YOU BACK.” He hung up on me.
I looked at my husband, who said, “What was that all about?” “G says he fell up the stairs.” “Which stairs?” “I have no idea.” “Is he okay?” “I don’t know.” “Do we need to go check on him?” “I don’t know that either – he hung up on me.” My husband huffed and climbed into bed. I climbed in next to him, holding the phone, a bit mystified.
Phone rings again. “I’M INSIDE!” “Are you okay?” “WHAT?” “Are – you – oh – kay?” “YEAH! I FELL UP THE STAIRS!!” “You said that. Which stairs?” “HOLD ON!” A tremendous crashing noise happened and the phone disconnected again. I looked at my husband, “Did you get all that this time?” “Oh yeah.” I set the phone down and started helplessly giggling. Not unusual for me when I’m embarrassed for someone else. When I got myself under control, I tried to call back – busy signal.
Finally, the phone rings again. “HEY! I MADE IT UP TO MY ROOM!!” “How are your legs?” “MY LEGS?” “Yes. Where they hit the stairs?” “I FELL UP THE STAIRS!” I very slowly beat my head against the phone. I could feel my husband laughing at me. “Hey G?” “YEAH?” “Do me a favor?” “OKAY!” “Are your shins bleeding?” “NOPE!” “How about your hands?” “NOPE!” “And you’re in your room?” “YEP!” “Sleep well then.” “OKAY!” After I hung up, I took one look at my husband and we both burst into laughter.
To this day I have no idea what stairs G fell up. The little concrete walkway in front of his apartment door might have been the culprit of the three boisterous conversations. He wasn’t really sure when I asked him the next time I saw him. And honestly, all these years later I’m not positively sure this is exactly how it all happened. But it’s close enough. I do know there were three phone calls conducted at stentorian volumes from his end. I know by the end of the third my husband and I collapsed laughing in bed together. And I know that falling up the stairs was the centerpiece of the whole show.
So, when I ran into G a few nights ago and we started telling this story to a friend of mine, I decided, OK I just need to write this down. Even if it isn’t perfect or exact – it’s a STORY! And it is funny, and he’s asking me to write it down. And not everything I write HAS to be some great lesson about life. But this is a great lesson about life. Knowing that not everyone, who occasionally drinks to excess, has alcohol problems is a good thing to remember. It’s something I’ve really struggled to learn and understand. It’s okay to relax and let loose once in a while. And to laugh at ourselves really is a good lesson too. So, once again, I’ve managed to take an everyday story from my life, meander on about it for almost too long, and turn it into something that might have some wisdom. Cool. Hope it helps someone. Or makes you smile. Both are good.