Hi again! I am traveling around the US and writing about it, and there seems to be no end in sight.
US Tour Day 18: Tailgating
This will be the third time I have tried to write about Day 18. Both other times my computer crashed and I lost everything. At this point I am starting to hate the thought of Day 18, as it seems to only bring with it memories of my computer misbehaving. This will be my final attempt to describe what happened that day.
I got a late start today, as we were up late last night making buttons in Brandi's kitchen. We had quite an assembly line going—one person cut out the circles from the printed sheets, another loaded the button machine and pressed the blanks into buttons, and finally someone else would snap in the pinbacks. At 5 AM I finally decided it was time to fall asleep. But, the others stayed up until there were no more buttons to make—relentless little human button making machines.
After waking up bright and not especially early, we started drinking. I have never lived on a college campus, but this was exactly how I expected it to be—lots and lots of drinking, starting early in the mornings and ending only when you either fell asleep or ran out of intoxicating liquids.
We needed to get an early start—we had a big day ahead of us. Today we would be going tailgating. Now, until that day, I always thought that tailgating that the front your car was too close to the behind of another car, like a dog sniffing another dog's ass. But, my hosts—clearly authorities on college life—explained to me that this wouldn't be that sort of tailgating.
Tailgating in college–ese describes the drunken orgy of frat–monkeys and giggly, empty–headed college girls in tight sweaters that happens in the parking lot outside a sports stadium. There may or may not be something of interest happening concurrently inside said arena—possibly involving "sports" and "balls" and "tight ends" and other things which would seem to me to be slightly more appropriate at a gay pride celebration than in a stadium. But, tailgaters wouldn't really have any idea what was going on inside, as they're too busy getting shithammered, which is college–speak for too drunk to fuck or fight, but stupid enough to try doing both anyways. Yes, today I would be experiencing my very first tailgating party.
We started drinking early to pre–load—it's so much more efficient to show up to wherever you're going and already be drunk. Then, you don't have to worry about how you will get drunk once you get there—you only have to worry about pissing your pants and falling down before you even arrive. But, we made it a point to pee before leaving the apartment, and we had one another to lean on in case gravity started to overtake our inebriated asses and legs. So, we were good to go. And I was excited—I was about to experience what I guessed would be the pinnacle of American education culture!
I'm constantly amazed at how stereotypical many of my experiences have been on this trip. For example, parties in Los Angeles had cocaine and porn stars and people who talked about who they know. Californians were flaky and late a lot. The saguaro cacti in the desert looked exactly like they always did in cartoons.
I had the most wonderful and stereotypical experience at the tailgating party. Now, it wasn't long before I had definitely crossed the line between merely drunk and full–fledged shithammeredness. I was having the time of my life. There were beautiful young college girls everywhere, stretching out and carpeting the landscape, like a fleshy pink cobblestone held together by tight sweaters. I felt like I had stumbled into a peach orchard—sweet, succulent fruits hanging like the plump, tight breasts that filled my eyes and brushed against my arm in passing.
There was one girl who especially caught my fancy. She was thin and tattooed and pierced and had a scratchy voice and an excited smile. She was dressed the same as me, with tight, low slung girl pants and a shirt that exposed a sliver of her midriff—so perhaps there was some bit of narcissism on both of our parts that added charge to the electric attraction between us. Or maybe it was the alcohol. Or maybe both.
All I knew was that I wanted to bite and drink her lips and feel her sweet, sticky peach sugar fill my mouth and spill out onto my chin and neck. Granted, it may have been the drunk talking. But, it was sure talking loud and I was in no state to ignore it.
I took a break from peddling my offensive buttons for a dollar a piece to my drunk co–tailgaters long enough to grab her hand and run with her behind a little, green metal structure—probably the housing for the area's electrical systems. It was time to break the tension of the last few hours. With my hand on her chest, I pushed her back up against the metal box and breathed in her hot breath. I took the first bite of her lower lip.
And we kissed. Or, I seem to remember that we kissed. That's the problem with being drunk—you do all these fun things yet can't remember them. What a waste of two wet mouths, locked in a dance, drinking each other like wine? There wasn't really time to enjoy the moment, anyway—the incredibly stereotypical part was ready to start.
A very drunk and very agitated Frat Bro rounded the bend. Apparently I was kissing the girl that he liked! She had pointed him out to me a few hours earlier, describing him as "this annoying guy that liked her but she didn't like at all and she wished he would leave her alone". He had not gotten this memo, though. And, he was very intent on making sure that the only drunk fool that would be spending intimate time with "his woman" would be him.
He was ten years younger than me, shorter than me, and dressed in khaki shorts with a shirt bearing the name of the university he got drunk and date raped girls at. And, he was all hopped up to prove to somebody that the vagina and accompanying woman that I was hanging around belonged to him. Then, supporting all stereotypes I ever had about drunk frat guys, he started to get violent. From the vibe I got, he was probably an expert in the fields of pushing, shoving, and punching. I mean, clearly the only way to prove this to the world was with acts of physical violence, right?
It got better, though: He started to call me a "fag". Now, I've observed the word "fag" no longer carries any sexual connotations outside of the homosexual community. Instead, it's a general Americanism that means "you have something that I wish I had." Think about it. Every time you hear someone calling someone a fag, they are simply threatened and jealous because the "fag" has something they want—perhaps it is a truckload of cock, a better car, fine clothing, or the lips of the girl he wants.
I was pretty drunk, but not too drunk to recognize that this was truly a great moment. First of all, I was so happy that he was calling me a fag, as it verified the accuracy of my new, more refined definition of the word. And, I felt honored to have been blessed with such a stereotypical American moment. What luck! It was as if I just got cast as the co–star in an 80's college movie! I would've actually laughed out loud, but self–preservation reminded me that there were more pressing issues at hand than the comedy of the moment. I needed to focus my attention on avoiding fisticuffs.
The girl took her cue and ran off. Brandi and Jenaca walked up just in time to each grab one of my arms and usher me away. Stumbling away from me at an angle, the Drunk Bro kept hurling threats and insults my way—of course making sure to pepper each one with the word fag. Stay away from my woman, fag. I'm going to kick your fucking ass, fag. What the fuck are you looking at, fag? What, you want to fight, fucking faggot? A beautiful young lady on each arm, we walked at the most leisurely of paces out of the line of anti–faggot fire—unscathed, amused, dressed up with cheery, drunk smiles.
I felt bad for Drunk Bro. When you have a world view based on scarcity—as opposed to one based on abundance—you really think there isn't enough of anything to go around. In his reality, I really was the "fag"—I had something he wanted. And, if I had it that would mean that he didn't have it. This threatened the daylights out of him. He didn't know how to react, so he picked the only thing that made sense at the time—anger, violence.
I bowed my head in deference to him, as if to assure him silently that there was plenty of everything he might ever imagine out there in the big, crazy world—and all of it was waiting like a wallflower for him to notice and carry it out onto life's dance floor.
I walked off, amazed by what had just happened, amazed at how stereotypical it was, amazed at how being chased by bullies every day after school earlier made me a serious expert at avoiding fights. He'll never know who I am. I'll never know who he is. And, I'll never know that girl. But, hopefully he'll start knowing a reality where there is plenty, a reality where he realizes where everyone can get what they want and there will still be plenty to go around. Then nobody will have to call anybody a "fag", and nobody will have to write about how stereotypical drunk frat guys are ever again—even if it is funny.
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