Sober: A night to remember

My friends and I excitedly walk down the street from where I parked to the apartment building where we were told to go for an amazing, totally "college-y" party.

“Oh my God, guys! We’re going to our first party! We’re going to get so wasted!” She and my other friend laugh loudly. I just smile.

“Oh, but it’ll be fun for you, too, Nicole! So what if you’re not drinking?”bottle row

“Yeah, I’ll be fine.”

Drinking has never really interested me. A lot of people say it’s part of the “college experience” and that underage drinking is just a negative stigma and not a “real” crime. But I have never seen the appeal in getting so embarrassingly, fall-flat-on-your-face, pants-in-the-wind drunk that you can’t remember what you did the night before.

It's hard for me to pinpoint one particular reason why I don't drink. The legality definitely plays a part. However, I sympathize with the 18-year-old drinking age advocates.

I think the biggest reason for me is control.

It's not even that I dislike not being in control I demand myself to be in control, which might be a part of my trust issues, but I digress. Control is something I value above comfort or even convenience. I even hate it when anyone but my parents drives me. That probably is why I choose to be a designated driver. I trust myself enough to be responsible for myself and others because I know I will always be in control of my mind, body and judgements. That control is not something I'm willing to jeopardize.

Ok, here’s the address.

What do I do? Do I knock? Do people need to knock for these kinds of parties? Should I just go in? That’s rude, though. Plus what if they’re like, “Who are you? Did you knock?” That would be so awkward. But then what if I knock and then no one answers? Then I’ve resigned myself to wait for an answer. What if someone gave me the wrong address? What if this is some random person’s house and I’m about to walk in on the Johnsons having dinner? Then I’ll get the cops called on me and I’ll get in so much trouble.

Oh my God. I cannot have an arrest record.

No, that’s stupid. I can hear music and smell weed.

Ew, weed.

Just go in. Your friends are waiting for you. You’re the sober escort, after all. You take charge, girl. Just go.

Ok, the handle is turning. There’s a crack in the doorway now. I see people and the music just got so loud. No going back now. Crap. Was this a mistake?

Okay, we’re inside. Hey! I’m having a totally Hollywood college experience!

“WHOOOHOOOO! I love this song!” somebody screams.

It’s exactly like Chris D’Elia standup.

I look at the girl in the makeshift dance floor in the corner of this tiny apartment. She drops her red Solo cup on the floor, her drink splattering in a really dangerous-looking puddle.

Maybe I should clean that up. Someone could get hurt.

The aforementioned inebriated girl begins to… twerk, I think? This kind of looks like what Miley did. It’s awkward to watch and looks super uncomfortable.

Yeah, I’m just going to stay away from that.

My friends immediately head to the alcohol. OK, here we go. Let’s be responsible, everyone.

“HEY YOU!”

Ugh, no. Please don’t be looking at me. Don’t walk toward me, no, no, no!

“Have you had anything to drink yet?” a guy slurs to me while carrying a big bottle of Kirkland brand Vodka.

“No, I don’t drink.”

“Whaaat?”

Did I stutter?

“I’m driving tonight.”

The dude erupts into roaring laughter.

“That’s even more reason to drink!”

And this is why I stay sober. I need some fresh air.

I walk out onto the balcony where there are some glassy-eyed people sharing a joint, the air full of the sweet, skunky smell of marijuana. Another group is huddled around a hookah that smells like stale blueberries. There’s one lonely guy who’s leaning over the railing, looking out at the Tempe skyline.

He looks safe enough.

I stand beside him, looking at the sky.

“Nice night, huh?” I say. He doesn’t reply. “This party is crazy. It’s nice to find another loner like me.”

I look over at his face, still fixated on an infinite point in space. His face is pale and sweaty, and his eyes begin to drift.

“Oh… you’re going to throw up, aren’t you?”

His eyelids flutter in defeat as he upchucks over the railing, down three stories to the ground. I immediately step back, pinching my nose shut.

Ew. That smells like Taco Bell and Fireball.

He looks at me, his eyes a little clearer.

“What were you saying?” he mumbles.

“You’ve got a little…um…stuff on your face. I’ll get you a towel.”

“Nah, it’s good,” he laughs as he lifts his shirt to his mouth.

We both stand there, him looking at me with an awkward aloofness, me looking at him with a combination of concern and disgust.

“You’re pretty,” he says.

“Thank you,” I say, just a little bit flattered.

“But I’m also drunk, so…maybe you’re not pretty.”

“Oh.”

“You're very welcome. You have a good night now,” he says as he stumbles inside.

When he opens the sliding glass door, I hear a shriek.

“NICOLE!”

I see one of my friends inside waving her arms and falling all over the dancing crowd, who hardly seem to notice her intrusion. I run to her.

“What?! What’s wrong?”

“I tried tequila!”

What does that even mean? Is tequila, like, super strong or something?

“OK, maybe we should sit down.”

“No, then I’ll fall asleep!”

“Then maybe we should head home.”

“But we’re not done partying yet!”

I look over at my other friend who’s sitting on the couch looking like she’s that “coming off the booze high" grumpy.

“I think it’s time we head out.”

“Ugh, fine!”

We step out the front door into the cool evening air and head for the elevators. After tequila, I don’t think stairs are a good option.

The freeways are unsurprisingly empty at 3 a.m. We make it home pretty quickly and, thankfully, without vomit in my car. I put my friends to bed and set out a water bottle and two ibuprofen. I plop in my own bed, exhausted, but pull out my phone to look at all the embarrassing photos I now have of my drunk best friends.

This is why I go to parties, I think. I’m such a good friend.

Reach the writer at nicole.tyau@asu.edu or on Twitter @nicoletyau_asu.


Get the best of State Press delivered straight to your inbox.