In honor of the day, I thought I would share the events of my 21st birthday.
My oldest sister and my sister-in-law were taking me out for a “night on the town” in celebration of my reaching the legal drinking age. (In reality they were just excited to get away from their kids for a night, as was I. Although they probably were excited for me too.) But the three of us were looking forward to having a girl’s night out and all bets were off. We had arranged for us all to meet at my brother and sister-in-law’s house where the kids and the men (my brother and my brother-in-law) were going to be staying while us ladies got our grooves on. We opened a bottle of champagne and toasted to a fun night out, then made sure the kids were starting to eat and doing okay before we set out for the night. My brother was our designated driver and he delivered us to our first stop for the night, a restaurant and bar that we all enjoyed. We were like three school girls being dropped off by a parent the way we giggled and rushed to get inside. Even the warning from my brother to behave ourselves was reminiscent of childhood.
We went inside and were seated and ordered our drinks. Beers all around! My sister-in-law, who worked part-time as a bartender at this bar, made sure our waitress knew that it was my birthday and that I got carded. Every. Time. They hooted and hollered because they thought it was the funniest thing ever to have happened. After our meals were eaten, a number of beers consumed and after we verified that the guy I was hoping to run into was at work and would not be coming in that night, it was decided we should move on to our next stop for the night. My brother was called and a short time later he was outside waiting for us.
I was already getting pretty buzzed so coming down the flight of stairs to get outside to the parking lot seemed to be very tricky. I went reeaally slooow and kept my hands on the wall on either side of me to help me reach the bottom. (Who puts an entire flight of stairs in a bar? Don’t they know someone could hurt themselves trying to reach the bottom after drinking?) Anyway, my brother was waiting and we all piled in. The plan was to go across the river and go to a cool, happening bar in the bigger town. (Which coincidently is the town I now live in.) Apparently my sister-in-law had been there at some point, while my sister and I had never been there. Or even heard of it. But we figured she was the expert since she lived in the area.
It was a bar on the fourth floor of a building and we had to ride an elevator to the top. For some reason that still doesn’t quite make sense to me, there was an elevator attendant for this building. Now, this is not a fancy town, and it definitely was not a fancy building. It was actually pretty crappy and run-down looking. But we didn’t question it and just continued acting like the silly women we were. We reach the floor and open the door to the bar. I was expecting a room full of twenty-somethings and cool music with lots of dancing going on. In actuality there were only about eight other people there and they were all like 40. (And I know 40 isn’t old, but when you’re expecting a hip young dance club, 40 is ancient.) Even worse, there was only one couple on the dance floor and they were both, well, huge. And they were grinding against each other like a floor-buffer on hard wood. Okaaay. Turns out the last time my sister-in-law had been there was roughly 10 years prior. We sat down at the bar and my sister starts badgering the bartender asking if he knew how to make cosmos. He says he does not. (Good rule of thumb, if the bartender doesn’t know how to make something, order something else.) She gives him a quick lesson in the art of cosmo mixing and he delivers our drinks. (More beers for me and my sister-in-law.) They tell him that it’s my birthday and that he should card me. He does (while my sisters shrieked and laughed like hyenas) and then gives me a free shot. I drink it not knowing what the hell it was. It must have been something girly because it tasted yummy. My sister says her cosmo isn’t as good as she’s had before, but she continues to suck it down. And then orders another. By now, she’s raring to go and she wants to dance. Like Really. Wants. To. Dance. Dancing was not high on my list of priorities because the placed sort of creeped me out. And the other couple were still on the dance floor. Finally I relent and we go shake it on the dance floor. I was so self-conscious because some of the few people in the bar stood along the edges watching us. Great. Not long later, we sit back down and order more drinks. This time my sister decides she can’t drink any more of the inadequate cosmos and orders beer. But then she wants to dance again. Worse than before. She grabs the back of my bar stool and starts jerking it back, trying to shake me loose from my seat I guess. Suddenly, there is a bouncer standing behind us and he tells her she needs to calm down or he’s going to kick her out. Oh my god, the humiliation. She stops yanking on my stool, but the bouncer doesn’t leave. He just stands behind me with his big arms crossed across his chest.
I’m completely freaked out at this point and my sister-in-law and I decide now would be a good time to call my brother and have him pick us up. We finish our drinks and walk to the elevator. Once inside the elevator, my sister starts digging into her purse for money because she wants to tip the elevator attendant. My sister-in-law and I both keep shoving her money back into her purse and finally hold her hands so she’ll stop. We had to continuing telling her to keep her money in her purse. Over and over again. She’s totally hammered. We get outside and my brother is there waiting. We help my sister up into his truck and he starts laughing, telling her, “I thought we were going to have to help Hannah into the truck, not you!” We roll the windows down (even though it’s early March and cold) to make sure she doesn’t get sick in the truck.
We get home and my brother half lifts her out of the truck and practically carries her inside his house. Her husband is waiting inside and when he sees her, the only thing he can say is, “Oh boy. I thought it was Hannah.” (Why is it that everyone thinks I’m going to be the one who gets out of control and won’t know when to stop?! I was a responsible adult even at the age of 21!) He takes her down to the bathroom to change her clothes. My sister-in-law and I sit there for a minute or two. She says to me, “It’s not even midnight yet. Do you want to head to another bar?” Not ready to have the evening end, I say yes and we leave again.
It wasn’t nearly as much fun as when it was all three of us (partly because we kept thinking about how sick my sister probably was back at the house.) We only had one more drink each before coming back. The last thing I remember from that night was my sister sitting on the bathroom floor while her husband tried to prop her up. It was definitely not a night we care to remember, but one we’ll never forget. Oh my poor sister. It was not one of her finest moments. But I still love her.