We all have at least one friend who will ride on our crazy life journey with us to the grave. Oftentimes, this is someone you’ve know for years – in my case, I’ve known Lynn for almost 28 years – almost 3/4 of my life. On the surface, we’re pretty different, but our kinship is on a deeper kinda level: the kind where it just clicks, sorta thing.
Where I lack deep faith, her beliefs have grounded me throughout our friendship, reminding me of His presence and prayer. In college, her family made me feel rooted in a place far from home, showing me marriages weren’t always made of convenience and guilt, and family was something to rely on. Honestly, her level-headedness was some of the reason I didn’t go to jail some nights in college; even though we rarely partied together, she just made me think better. I had put her on a pedestal as someone whom I aspired to be more like. I still do.
Fast forward 25 years, and she had a convention to attend in Boston, a quick hop and jump for me, so we planned to spend the weekend together. That Friday night, there was a closing dinner and a private concert given by a very well-known band. She told me less than 600 people were still in attendance at the convention! How cool! I know, right! Like a good 20-something (plus a few), I asked, “What does one wear to a medical convention private concert given by a very popular band?”
Dinner was a cheesy rendition of Boston food favorites and cheap wine served in small clear plastic cups. Classy, eh? Lynn introduced me to several of her extended colleagues, and we enjoyed a leisurely full meal. I tell you this because I want you all to understand we had full bellies.
The concert was great – we were able to get up to the front row, dancing and singing like we were 20 again. Afterwards, Lynn suggested we head to the hotel bar where some people were meeting up. We learned the tab was on the company or a vendor of the company, so alas we ate more and started drinking again – sweet martinis. Fail #1 on both our parts.
We sat with a colleague of Lynn’s who caught us on all the rampant office politics and gossip, much of which ran like a torrid late-night soap opera. It was delightful.
Two key lime martinis in, I was talking to a slightly tipsy teddy bear of a man who was the CFO of some company about our kids and their aspirations, and I turned to his CEO who had rudely interrupted our conversation, and told the CEO the reason that his company ran was because of men like this CFO. Yes, those brazen words escaped my key lime covered lips. Fail #2. As much as a powerful man within a company can look humbled in a moment like this with some whackjob female he doesn’t really know who just basically told his boss off, this CFO bowed his head with the faintest hint of a smile, like these were words he’d been wanting someone to acknowledge for some time. But, the CEO actually smiled at me – in the way that a man who doesn’t smile much does – then said, “I know. You’re right.” Well, shit, there went my insult. Said CEO walked away after getting his financial report. At 11:30 pm on a Friday night.
I was saying it, too. Get a life. Him. Not me. I was having the time of my life, like I was 20 again.
Do the intoxication indicator valves ever really work once you’re in thigh deep? This question should be utterly rhetorical at this point. In my ever so humble opinion, these valves should shut down much earlier, and knock on your brain’s door, screaming, “Hey, you, you fucking moron. STOP with this drinking shit, OK?!” Alas, it never works this way. Honestly, I knew I was tipsy, but I had no idea I was as far gone as I was at this moment.
Somewhere between then and my next drink, Lynn and I carried on a brilliant conversation with the members of this popular band, like we had both just discovered the fine art of conversation. We told them all how amazingly cool they were, and how beautiful the backup singers were. Perhaps it registered at some point that we sounded like groupies. Groupies who both had teenaged kids at home, just like some members of the band. However, the band members were amazingly cool people, and we knew how invincibly cool we were, thank you to the power of alcohol. We talked about our stellar kids and they told us about their stellar kids. Band members are people, too.
Enter my 3rd drink – I’m unclear what drink Lynn was on – and back in another conversation with teddy bear CFO, I excused myself to the restroom. If telling a CEO that I didn’t know that his CFO was the reason his company ran wasn’t indicator enough to quit drinking, then shattering my glass on the bar top before leaving to use the restroom was. Unlike a lady who sets her glass down, I used my newfound Rambo-like strength to slam the glass on the bar. The stem shattered, the top collapsed to the bar, and sticky key lime martini now seeped down my body from literal head to toe. Epic fail #3.
Said kind teddy bear CFO asks if I’m alright, and I believe I kissed him on the cheek, telling him I was fine, and then sauntered off to the bathroom like a lady. EPIC fail #4. It just keeps getting better, doesn’t it?
After attending to my stained attire and necessary body functions, I stand, and the world shifts from underneath me – you know, that awesome spinning feeling, yet you’re standing stark still. I make it to the bar area back to Lynn, who’s now engaged in polite conversation with Mr. I Get My Financial Reports in a Bar at 12am on Friday Nights, and it’s my turn to rudely interrupt. Grabbing her by both shoulders, I stare into Lynn’s eyes clearly and articulately saying, “We. Need. To. Leave.” Smiling, Lynn says, “OK,” and before she can get the K out, I say with dead-pan eyes, “NOW.” She understood.
We don’t make it across the parking lot before the last few hours come violently tumbling out of me. Epic fail #5. Like all good BFFs do at some point, she turned away. Who could blame her? We make it to a bench, and I burst into tears. She just laughs. I might have laughed, too, but I’m 43 and I realize this is humiliating. Then Lynn asks, “Why are you crying?” With my face buried in my hands, I sob out, “You’ve never, ever seen me this way.” Lynn throws her head back in laughter. Like I said, we rarely partied together in college, and then I moved 2,000 miles away. Of course she said it was OK, to which I belted out something like I respected her too much for her to ever see me this way in college. There was more laughter. As we walked around our hotel, I provided her with 2 more opportunities (fails #6 & #7) for laughter and more semi-coherent philosophical ranting about how deeply I loved her. After more of the last few hours came tumbling out.
And I meant every word.
Being smart women, we both knew to drink copious amounts of water with Tylenol before bed (perhaps one of the smartest successes that night, other than getting our drinks for free). We both managed to sleep upright in our clothes, awaking to that feeling zombies must have, like you’re one foot in the land of living, but closer to dead, and you smell more death looming on the horizon.
I’d love to say the events of the evening were lost to us both, but neither of us could hit the bathroom fast enough that morning, and I clearly remember enough to write this semi-shameful post. Being in the bathroom was when the proverbial clue phone rang for me. As I went to take my medication, I looked at the label: “Avoid alcohol consumption.” Hah. No wonder 3 drinks knocked me out. Dumbest fail of the last 24 hours. Not to mention, we’re not 20-something anymore. Maybe this qualifies as the dumbest fail, but we both firmly believe this is all in perspective.
A fresh squeezed carrot juice and homemade doughnut later, Lynn and I were both ready to conquer the world. Who knew that’s the actual cure for a hangover? Smart-ass 40-somethings do.
This night was a wee turning point in my mind for me with Lynn. In a sense, I’d never really let go in front of her because I never wanted her to think poorly of me. Yet, 25 years into our friendship, she’d witnessed – and taken part in – a night of insanely poor judgement. No matter my poor judgement, she would still love me, and I her. I was adult enough to realize how foolish I’d been so many years ago; I should have known her unconditional love given some of the losers she watched me date in college. Just like the realization that the band members were normal people, I realized my BFF was totally human. It’s a wonderful moment when you realize the person you’ve idolized is occasionally prone to foolishness and stupidity, just like you.
It solidified what I always knew – she will go to the grave with me. But I now know we’ll both have drinks, be sliding in sideways, cackling the whole way.
What are some priceless moments you’ve had with your BFF? Tell us in the comments!