501 The Hangover

It has been a few days since my bachelor party. My absolute worst fear did not materialize. I am not suffering from a prolonged bout of alcohol withdrawal. It may be that after so many years there is some sense to slight moderation. It was about having fun and enjoying each other’s company.

My day started at six in the morning. I had gotten in late the night before. My plane was delayed. I always wake up early. I made a coffee and then breakfast for my sis and I. It was a nice way to wake up. It’s a bit trippy being here. It’s all happening so fast. A lot faster than I can type.

Ania gave me a ride to Danny’s house. It’s old familiar territory. At this point with rent controls it’s too economical to move. Vancouver real estate prices are astronomical. The hustle and bustle isn’t felt early in the morning in Saturday. People need to wake up and get on with the day like we have.

I don’t really know what is in store for me this day. In the morning my brother, the best man, added me to a WhatsApp group that was created in March. This made it seem ominous. What have these guys been up to? What is in store for me?

We got into East Van and I learned that we were going to go go-karting. This actually sounded like a great idea. We were going to go and pick up Zach and meet his newborn daughter. We haven’t seen each other in a long time. Over five years.

The streets were still quiet as Danny and I drove to the West Side of Vancouver. Everything is so much greener here even though it has hardly rained over the past few months. It was beginning to warm up too. Clouds hung ominously in the early morning but the closer we got the nicer it got.

We couldn’t find Zach’s place and drove in circles until we got the precise address. He rolled up soon after returning from some baby related task. It felt like our days of youth when we tried to get up to no good. We went inside to meet his baby. She’s a beautiful girl and it’s nice to see Zach happy. Cracked my first drink of the day at ten-thirty.

My oracles voice is British and her guidance directed us to our destination. Jarek, Jensen, Abby, and Ivan were already there waiting. James and Mark were there too but hidden somewhere and we greeted soonafter. It was a surprise to see them and their presence added to the festivities. We had a crew of people who would all be racing trying to get the better of each other on the track.

There were forms to sign and tickets to buy. That took some maths! We then had to wait in a proper queue for our ten minute or so ride. That wait gave us time to catch up on our lives and it gave Jonny time to make it for our ride. He made it! We picked our carts and put on our helmets and listened to the young feller give us a safety speech. People were not behaving on the track occasionally and there is potential to get kicked out.

My first ride was kind of slow. I haven’t driven since Canada Day and was a bit tentative. Once I got a taste for it I just wanted to drive fast but my cart was under powered and I was lapped a bunch of times. Still it was fun and we got to do it all over again after we had some air in the parking lot.

As we waited for our second turn we were concerned that we wouldn’t all get on the track at the same time. We called one of the attendants there and chatted with him to determine if we would get on all together. We wouldn’t and we asked if they could get another cart onto the track for us and they did! The second cart I got was much faster. I didn’t know that yet sitting there along with everyone. As soon as I hit the gas I knew. The second ride was a lot better than the first. I drove as fast as I could safely. The cart had enough speed to pass others on straightaways and on the inside around turns. I spun out a few times causing traffic congestion. Fun times!

Zach had to go to do a shift and Danny and I dropped him off. He was going to meet us later on at night. After we dropped him off we drove close to where they were having an anti racism rally at city hall. It looked like there were a lot of people there.

The next thing the boyz had in store for me was a brewery crawl on bicycles. In Vancouver there has been a proliferation of microbreweries in the old industrial part of the city. A convenient way of visiting all of those places is to rent some bicycles and cruise to as many as we can. We were waiting for Jarek to show up but we were joined by Zee and Ali. This brought our number up to twelve people. When my brother showed up he was holding a package…

The package contained one of the failed bridesmaids dresses. He wanted me to put it on and wear it for the rest of the night. I am not a big fan of these kinds of rituals especially since this is my second one of such celebrations. The dress itself was supposed to be satin but it felt really thick and it was pretty loose on me. There was now way in hell I was going to wear it. I mulled it over in my head and decided to humor the guys by putting it on. It is kind of funny to be standing there with it on. They certainly got a huge laugh out of it. I ripped the dress off to make sure that I would never have to put it on again.

The first place we went to was pretty big and we took advantage of their food options to nourish ourselves and parch our thirst. The place was fairly large and it was a mixture of industrial and rustic design. This place along with many of the others have sprung into existence recently. All of the beers in my sampler pour were good and surprisingly distinctive.

Next we went to a brewery that was part of a revitalization project included in the development of a property at 8th and Main. I used to walk past this place when it was being built and moved away before it opened. We then had to go to meet up with the crew when they went to get some things. We were not coordinating things right and as we continued to drink this task was becoming harder and harder.

This other place had t-shirts with b33r on it and we were there not quite long enough to finish our drinks. We continued on to another brewery in the area for another quick pint. The next place we were going to go to was on Granville Island. The olde steakhouse has been there for a while and inside there I was handed a Cesar and yet another shot. I was hoping to make it through this night unscathed it wasn’t looking that way at this point. It was getting dark and after visiting all of these breweries it was starting to add up. Most of us were probably too inebriated to be riding bicycles. I was anyways.

We rode to Jensen’s place of employment where we could lock up our bicycles. Danny lives close to it and the two of us rode there to drop off his bikes. In retrospect we should have stayed with the group and locked up our bikes there but we didn’t and we rode to Danny’s place in the dark slightly inebriated and full of energy. We had to wait for a cab to show up to pick us up and this missed window cost us a trip to the strip joint. The rest of the guys waited for a bit outside of the joint and then moved on we got dropped off at the peeler bar and were met there by Zach who met us after finishing up his short shift. We walked through Gastown along Water St meeting everyone for pizza before continuing on to one of the clubs a lot of us used to work at together. It has changed since our time there both in layout and name.

We are old enough now to call them kids but we as well as they are just here to have some fun. As we descended down the stairs bypassing the lineup we heard the thumping of the bass as some exotic piece of electronic music blared from the speakers. As people danced to the rhythm their sweat evaporates creating a more humid atmosphere carrying along with it the scents people put on their bodies as part of their “getting ready rituals.” We all gravitated towards the bar where the shots were already being ordered. I was enjoying the music and the vibe of this place. There is nothing like dancing the night away enjoying the rhythm getting to that state late in the night where euphoria erupts inside. This isn’t the night when this will happen. It was getting late and some had to be getting home.

We went outside and went up the street to another club where Benito was working. He wanted to be a part of the day’s festivities but he had things to take care of that he told me about earlier in the day. I agreed with him that those were valid things to be focusing on and promised to stop in later. This place played a heavier mix of electronic music and our voices raised in volume accordingly. We proceeded to have a few more shots and I was feeling the toll that they were having on me. I stated to the guys that I didn’t want to end up completely mullered at the end of the night. Benito had to stay at work as they were had a hard time filling in all of the spots that night. These are the sacrifices that have to be done for the crew.

We were going to try to hit up the nudie bar after this place but when we got there we discovered that it was closing. We went to another club not to far away in Chinatown. Over the years it has become something of a musical cultural gem. Another one of my former colleagues was working the door and we quickly got ushered in. There were only four of us left at this point: Danny, Jerry, Danny and myself.  I haven’t seen Sam in a long time and when my bro talked with him and told him the story he had a great big smile on his face and welcomed us in bypassing the congregated group of people. This was a bit of a different vibe as hip hop blared loudly from the soundsystem. The champagne reached us soon enough and it was that bottle that I think brought me over the edge. We danced and laughed and checked out the scene. I must confess that I felt a bit out-of-place. The years spent abroad and my ever changing musical tastes have distanced me from what is happening these days. I was also beginning to get tired which means that fun is secondary to rest.

We left the club and caught a cab Danny’s place where we promptly passed out. Zach continued his adventure on his own on his way home. In the morning we assessed how we felt and we felt alright. It was a good night but we needed to have breakfast and luckily along Commercial drive there are plenty of places to acquire such nourishment. Jonny got there after we finished our meal and we watched him eat while we chatted about our exploits the day before. It was a really good day! I really enjoyed spending the day with my friends however brief the day was. Getting out and riding bikes made it feel like we were a bunch of carefree youth out enjoying the city. Just for a bit there we could forget about work, kids, significant others and whatever else and just enjoy each others company. I have and am now far away physically reducing the time that we could all spend time together. I miss my friends and we all live with the realizations that as we grow older these times spent together become more precious because life has hoisted other responsibilities on our time. I have to work harder at keeping in touch and I am thankful to have them and others as my friends.

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