Tuesday, May 27, 2008

To There And Back: Adventures In Urination, Liquor, And Reckless Golf Cart Driving



A large chunk of Girlfriend's family live in Scranton, The Electric City (as you can see from the sign; apparently living in "the electric city" means you get to waste electricity like a Las Vegas casino). They, being nice people, invited us to come down (up?) to their lovely, fancy, large, impressive, makes-the-joint-I-grew-up-in-look-like-a-trailer-out-by-the-dump, house for a sort of impromptu family reunion/80th birthday extravabonanza for their clan's patriarch, Grandpa Joe. We, being the sort whom enjoy the hospitality of others (meaning, we enjoy free food and booze), agreed to come and come, my friends, is exactly what we did.

That's what she said.

Now, the highlights of a trip gone mad!!!

NOTE: Actually, everything went pretty smoothly. In fact, despite some good conversation and an obscene bounty of cooked pork products, the trip was a tad on the dry side. Well, no matter... you kids don't come to ZFS! for the excitement and adventure. That's for other blogs where people, like, "do" stuff or whatever. You kids come here for bodily function-related humor and the cheap laughs provided by same. So in that respect, this trip has got you covered.

-We woke up Saturday morning at 5am and let me just say right now, for the record, that 5am on a Saturday can go fuck itself. With a broken Jack Daniels bottle behind a dumpster in the worst part of downtown Detroit. While crying. It's just sooooo early. Obscenely early. Early-birds look at 5am on a Saturday and go, "What the fuck is THAT? Hold me; I'm scared." But anyway we had to get up well before the buttcrack of dawn and shower and pack and shuffle like zombies down to the subway and ride it out to everyone's favorite bus station, Port Authority; the last place in Manhattan where a person is as likely to get stabbed as not. Shall I paint you a picture with my words? M'kay, here ya go... Port Authority, early on a Saturday morning, is a prison riot of junkies, college students, people who have made a lot of mistakes in life, the homeless, the toothless, the obviously crazy, the crazy but can keep it to themselves (unless provoked), the downtrodden, the sad, the sadder, the saddest, and you're probably going to see some transsexual prostitutes in the mix as well. And the whole place smells like a dirty shoe. And that's only the window dressing. What really makes Port Authority a special experience on par with getting hit by a runaway Fresh Direct truck is the fact that... for reasons unexplained and probably unknown... trying to figure out from which gate your bus departs is like calculus in French and backwards with a gun to your head on fire in a rocket ship pointed at the Sun. All the screens detailing departure times are out of order, all the Greyhound employees are surly and smell of bathtub gin, all your fellow passengers are... well, we discussed them above. Your only recourse is to ask EVERY SINGLE PERSON that crosses your path if they happen to know where the 8:30 bus to Scranton is, then you take the collected data and look for anything that corresponds and then you use the Scientific Method to form a hypothesis about where your gate might actually be located. It's the only travel option available that appears to operate solely by word of mouth and it's enough to make your brain melt and blast out your ears like a busted water main, but hey, it beats airline prices.

-Oh, and the experience of riding on a Greyhound bus: Say you've got a really rippin' head cold and you've been sick for three days and you're not really giving a shit about much of anything and consequently you've got a found-object sculpture of the Rocky Mountains done in used, nasty tissues all around your bed. Suddenly, a friend shows up with hot soup and a couple of new paperbacks for you to read and you're soooo grateful because, OBVIOUSLY, but you're none to keen on having someone see your room look like a snot bomb just went off, killing innocent people with green grossness. So you grab an empty Kleenex box and you stuff and squish and cram every single ick-wad into it as fast as you can, until it's bulging in a way that screams "I Got Ya Health Hazard Right Here, Pal," but that's okay because at least your environment doesn't look scary like a one-bedroom Hot Zone. My point is... That Kleenex box? That's what a Greyhound bus is like. But on the bus, the diseases will talk to you and ask you if they can borrow your cellphone and have no issues with farting while snoring and drooling and getting insaneness all over your new shirt.

-One thing that I like about upper-middle class, Republican-leaning families out in the Pennsylvania 'burbs: Liquor. Lots of liquor. And beer and wine and I think I was offered some high-quality Thai heroin at one point (it's all kind of a blur), but it's mostly all about the liquor. And here's the hilarious part... the whiskey was a particular brand called Old Grand Dad. Which isn't exactly what you'd expect the country club swells to be mixing into Manhattans and guzzling like frat house heroes. This is the brand of cheap, laughable booze that I used to get gooned on after nights of video store labor during the early days of my NYC residence. This is poor-people hooch, a step up from Cabin Still, sure, but not quite the Knob Creek or even the Jack Daniels for which the situation would seemingly call. But anyway when I saw that familiar, ugly, orange label, I felt like I was home. And in case you're wondering... I totally behaved. Paced myself like a motherfucker and thus kept up a steady, charming buzz without tumbling over the edge and vomiting on the dog.

-The dog! They have a four month old golden retriever puppy. How cute? SOOOO cute. Like, to a ridiculous degree. It wouldn't fit in my suitcase, otherwise Girlfriend and I'd have had ourselves a new dog and a whole bunch of family pressing charges.

-The men of the family (a group in which I am inexplicably included; I don't think my children's theater past has come up yet) all went to the golf course to hit a few balls and drink a few beers and drive tiny, motorized cars that balanced on the razor-thin line between twisted-metal destruction and getting us from one hole to another only mildly scarred by the experience. Of course, they let me... the guy who lives in New York and has driven an actual, real-life car only about five times in the last five years... be the guy behind the wheel. More to the terrifying point, they let me drive the cart that also contained the aforementioned Grandpa Joe; an Awesome Old Man who's a bounty of great stories from baseball's golden age, quick with a joke, and is in extremely poor health... like, 90 pounds soaking wet with a heart condition and in a state of physical being that brings to mind eggshells and expensive porcelain and stained glass windows from the 16th century. So we're out in one of the most beautiful, natural (sorta, considering it's a man-made golf course and all) environments I've seen in quite some time... I'll tell you, that Mother Nature can be a real showy bitch when she wants to be, throwing around every shade of green all over the place like so much ticker-tape in the Canyon of Heroes... and I'm driving the world's most fragile man up and down steep inclines and over rocky terrain, all in a vehicle that the Jackass-guys think is none too safe and, well, I think it's safe to say that the stress took at least five good years off my life. Because, make no mistake, the subtext inherent in me driving Grampa Joe was this: You break it, you bought it. And the "it" to which they referenced was unquestionably his funeral.

-And when we got back from said trip, heady from the fact that I hadn't inadvertently killed an old man and unfortunately a bit careless due to the amount of Michelob Ultra coursing in my blood stream, I went into the bathroom and pissed myself. Yep. No way around it. I mean, it was an accident... I didn't think it would be a lively conversation starter or anything like that. What happened was this: I was peeing in the normal fashion (standing, fly undone, wang out, etc) and I was swaying a bit from the beer and not really in total control of my equipment, if you follow me, and then... like the spark that ignited the Hindenburg... I sneezed. And when this sneeze happened, I pitched forward a bit and Lil' C-dog somehow managed to retreat back inside my pants midstream. The flow hit the bang-on dead center of the crotch of my khakis, then it broke into two separate rivers that traced exactly the inseam of both legs. So we're talking a big, dark wet spot, followed by two dark lines winding down the inside of my legs... the familiar topography of shame. And of course, I had no other pair of pants. Because why would I ever need two pairs of pants on a weekend trip? Pass the beer, I'm not drunk yet! Anyway, I cleaned up as best I could with the toilet paper available and then I made a decision. Fortune favors the bold, after all, and so I marched out of the bathroom and headed into the kitchen where the family had gathered for some pre-dinner drinking and good-natured horseplay. I strode in and I sat down immediately in the nearest empty seat, hoping to fuck that I didn't reek of pee. And I didn't move until I was POSITIVE everything was bone dry down there. And no one was ever the wiser. Except for now, of course.

8 Comments:

Blogger Bill From Gainesville said...

Clinton- Ahh, the sneeze while in mid-pee. That is a much more acceptable pee in your pants causation, then the basic, I thought I was done, and didn't shake it off like I should have, because I was in to much of a damn hurry to get back to the drinking, type of peeing accident that may or may not sometimes be my bain.

9:16 AM  
Blogger Lioux said...

This post almost makes ME want to go out and get a Girlfriend! It seems far more interesting than just sleeping in and doing whatever the hell I want all weekend.

Did you get to see Girlfriend's Uncle's Father (the one who is a dead ringer for Lloyd Bridges®™©™)?!

10:35 AM  
Blogger Clinton said...

Bill... Oh, I've been there too. Never pissed myself while passed out, though! It's sad, the things I'm proud of.

Lioux... Girlfriend's Uncle's Father IS Grampa Joe. Sorry, I'd forgotten that he had been previously mentioned. You, Lioux, are now officially the ZFS! Historian. There is no pay.

10:47 AM  
Blogger brookLyn gaL said...

I just almost peed MY pants laughing. I am in tears though, that was an awesome story!

But you should have a warning before telling stories that might result in outrageous laughter in the workplace.

11:33 AM  
Anonymous Scott H. said...

Great post and all... but one minor issue.

How do you do an entire post about Scranton, PA and not make one reference to The Office?

Would it have been too much to ask to go to Poor Richards Pub for a drink?

I know... I'm a tool.

11:42 AM  
Blogger jason quinones said...

i only pissed myself one time...

but it was in my hospital bed in the emergency room due to me being a stupid ass dumb shit damn near drinking myself into oblivion!

11:43 AM  
Blogger Clinton said...

Brooklyn... Ah, where's the fun in that? I like to think of ZFS! as a teetering balance between workplace enjoyment and wet-pantsed shame. But glad you liked!

Scott... Um, I did say "that's what she said." But, no, driving through downtown Scranton, you see signs for Dunder-Mifflin everywhere. Scranton is ALL ABOUT The Office. It's funny and kind of sad. JUST like The Office.

Jason... Alcohol poisoning is a rite of passage. Been there, done that, remember very little of the experience. Except for "the shakes" the next day. They weren't much fun.

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Scott H. said...

Ahh... I missed the TWSS... subtle humor is sometimes lost on me... sorry!

12:55 PM  

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