Sunday, September 25, 2011

Of discoveries and vomit and sombreros.

My iPhone was stolen in Argentina. It made me sad, it made me grope at the pockets of those dancing near me while demanding they prove they didn't take it, it ruined my night, it prompted the adorable Argentino I'd been amusing myself with to apologise repeatedly on behalf of every one of his countrymen. The next day I spent hours in line attempting to purchase a replacement phone. The fruit of my labours and limited pesos was a phone with a shitness rating of such magnitude that a few days later when I was pickpocketed again - at the SAME CLUB, justsoyouknow - the thief in question rummaged through my bag and left it there for me. That's how woeful a phone it was.

Upon returning to Australia I dug around within the junk I possess and for once thanked my inability to throw anything out, ever. Behold, an old phone. I thought it had died a grizzly death at the hands of an esky a few summers ago, but apparently the old girl's made of tougher stuff than that. I inserted my newly acquired SIM card and oh joy, it worked! Moreover, it very quickly became clear that this particular phone happens to be nothing less than a veritable time capsule, an official deliverer of nostalgia. I found ALL of my contacts, photos, ring tones and a shit-tonne of messages from early 2009 intact. My lord. The infamous "BURWOOD HIGHWAY" recording, pictures of a drunken uni night at the Oxford Scholar, messages regarding Vicki Christina Barcelona, a picture of a seagull with the head of a shark as the background.

What made me delightedly laugh out loud however, was two photos in particular. The memories of a night I hadn't thought about in an incredibly long time came rushing back, and immediately rang Mitch. Unfortunately, I soon remembered Mitch changed his phone number somewhere between early 2009 and the present day. Small hurdle. I've since informed him of the photos' existence and he implored me to send them over. Well, the afternoon is lovely and I've spent the day being a functional adult person and I'm rewarding myself with a tasty beer beverage so I'll do you one better; I think it's time for a bit of a reminisce. 

It was a nice night. The boys were all still living together at that stage, being that it was early 2009. The house was called The Glebe. It's still there, now inhabited by people ranging from good friends to slight acquaintances. But it was 2009 then and Mitch, Jackson, Toby and Ben all resided within its walls and high ceilings.

I can't remember what the day leading up to the night had consisted of, but some bright spark had realised that it was a Monday, and on Mondays at Taco Bill the main dishes are half price. One would be a chump not to capitalise on that particular tidbit of information, no? The four of us trouped over.

We were starving, so everyone immediately decided to get a Very Large Entree as well as the half-price mains mentioned earlier. Why the hell not? It was Mexican, after all. Mexican is delicious. Someone (doesn't matter who) then informed the table that if one bought a fish-bowl margarita, one would then receive a sombrero. This particular suggestion was met with roars of approval. Giant margarita and a sombrero? Well, shit. This was turning out to be the dinner suggestion of the century!

I gazed at the menu sadly. I was probably already pushing it with the two servings of Mexican delights both wallet- and appetite-wise. A giant margarita would be excessive. I'd get a little margarita. That was met with roars of disapproval.

"Come on! It's a giant margarita!"
"Fishbowl margarita!"
"With a hat!"

The drinks arrived and so did the hats.
I sat there, with my little margarita, without a sombrero.

"Aw. I want a hat." 
"You can't have a hat. These are hats for men. You need a man's drink for a man's hat."
"I can be a man!"
"No. You can't. Where's your man drink?"
"It'll take more than words for you to be a man, son!"
"You can't be part of a man club without a man's hat." 

My margarita looked so small and inadequate.

"Fuck it!" I announced. 

So I ordered a giant margarita, with a "YOU'LL SEE!" attitude. It arrived. So did my stupid sombrero. I placed it on my head proudly and took a giant gulp out of the giant glass in front of me, full of triumph. 
The image was met with thunderous accolades. 
"Well done, Rebby!" said Mitch proudly. "You're a man now."

Sitting in a triumphant circle with our triumphant hats, the five of us turned our attention to the veritable mountain range of food in front of us. Good thing we were hungry. Burritos, rice, chicken things, more burritos, tacos, the works. And our giant drinks. Shit, it was a good thing we had the hats to help us on our way to plate completion. 

We ate, we barreled our way through the excessive amount of food piled on the table. We made a toast to the Glebe, and the apartment that preceded it. We ate with the gusto of starving dinosaurs (I assume they enjoyed eating). Then we began to slow down. The margaritas were consumed. We slowed down even more. 

In hindsight, it was inevitable that things would take a turn for the worse. We were destined for disaster, even after the glorious sombrero and alcohol-filled victory that came first. Dare I say it, disaster was a direct result of the glory that was our table a mere half hour beforehand. 

At any rate, the five of us sorted out the bill with dispositions a few notches more subdued than was the case earlier. The mood was tired, full, deteriorating. Toby stood and hurried to the bathroom. Bad sign. We filed outside in silence, still wearing our sombreros. Happy Mexicans we were not. 

Jackson staggered over to the wall next to Taco Bill and leaned against it on his forearm, resting his head. Ben sat down in the gutter, with his head in his hands. I didn't feel great, I'll tell you that much for free. I too sat down to wait for Mitch and Toby. We'd played it badly. We'd been drunk on the heady sense of power that comes with giant margaritas and complimentary sombreros. Mitch soon emerged, looking unenthusiastic with the goings-on.

"Where's Toby?" he asked. He was met with queasy silence. 
"Dunno. Inside." Someone replied. 

We waited in silence. 

Soon enough Toby rejoined us and we battered soldiers of cheap Mexican cuisine began the long march back to The Glebe. As we were crossing the road I heard my phone go off. I tried to get into my pocket, but got tangled up in my excessively large girl-bag. 

"Toby, could you do me a favour and hold my bag for a second?"

I kept walking, retrieved my phone and turned around to relieve Toby of my bag. I was met with this image:

Artist's rendition.

From Toby's mouth came forth perhaps the most violent spray of vom I have ever seen. It splashed off the ground, it just kept coming, it was awful.
"Ohmygod! Toby! Are you okay???"
"Yeah..." replied Tobias, wiping his mouth. 
We finished crossing the road. He vommed again. 

The reaction wasn't one of a chorus of disgust. Everyone felt somewhat the same. Toby was just articulating it a little better than anyone else. 
"You guys go on ahead." said Ben in a dire tone. "I need to do this on my own."

The walk home seemed twice as long as the walk there. We staggered back, still sombrero'd. As we rounded the corner to the lane behind the Glebe, Jackson sped ahead of Mitch and I. At the back gate of the house, he acquiesced. In a shower of vom, he too surrendered his two meals and margarita. But not his sombrero. As we entered the house, he made himself a sandwich. 
"The fuck?"
"I'm hungry again!"

You know what? I got almost all the way back home (my home, not theirs) before I realised my sombrero was still slung around my neck. I suppose that's the mark of a man. That even in the throes of an upset stomach, one doesn't admit defeat. Defeat, neither of the nauseous nor the sombrero-less variety. I'm pretty sure I still have the sombrero. For the record, the food was completely adequate. I think it was more a matter of an over-ambitious consumption goal. 

Speaking to Mitch about the discovery of the photos, he laughed. 
"I remember that night! That was a Good Night." He paused. "That was the night you became a man!"

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