The 25th Birthday Tailgate

It was 10am. It was raining, it was pouring, I would have been continued snoring. But I didn’t. I ditched my favorite purple, plaid dress in favor of jeans and wellies. I hiked to the liquor store, the rain falling down the crack between the rubber boots and my jeans, soaking my ankles.

“Well, aren’t you going to card me?” I asked the man behind the counter.

He shrugged. “You look old enough,” he said, and bagged my vodka. It was exactly 11am.

“But it’s my birthday.”

“Happy birthday. How old are you?”

“24,” I replied. Day one of my 25th year and I was already lying about my age. This time I went in reverse.

I hailed a cab and headed uptown. The plan was to tailgate at Peter’s for a bit and head to Yankee Stadium in time for the 1pm game. The plan sucked. My birthday felt ruined by the weather. I felt personally offended by the low pressure system. I wanted to kick something, so I nudged my foot against the taxi tv. It didn’t make me feel better. The rubber wellie boot sprang back, and my leg bone felt twinged.

Peter was already frying sausages when I got to his apartment. Jamie was on his third or fourth beer. Patrick was chain smoking. I immediately ate a birthday sausage. It was delicious. I began to feel better. Nothing cheers me up more than a pork product. Shaina arrived five minutes later with orange juice, bagels and cream cheese, and a few slices of birthday cake.

We made screwdrivers and continued to eat sausages. It was 11:30am.

coffee table beerBy noon we were drunk. It was raining hard. There were 12 of us, gathered around the couches, watching the YES network for signs of a rain-out. The Yankees were determined to play. I was determined to sit in Peter’s apartment and continue drinking and passing the smoke around the coffee table. It was just like college. We were wrecked; we were soft and glowing and giggling and terribly bored and happy and going on beer runs at noon on a Thursday.

Peter decided to make us all hot dogs. Ally threw a tantrum. Shaina did an interpretive dance.

At some point in the evening, someone arrived with a friend with a thick accent. He sang like Scandinavian David Bowie, belting out Happy Birthday whenever there was a quiet moment in the room. We had to turn the music on to drown him out. A dance party started, and a sing along, and a karaoke version of a Supertramp song.

We took photos of us next to the clock on the dvd player because we were so proud of how fucked up we were so early in the day.

We ate more sausage, smeared creamcheese on the bagels, and ate forkfuls of birthday cake frosting.

The Yankees refused to give up. We had been drinking since, what, 11am, and now Peter was hollering that we had to go. So we did. We packed up bottles of vodka and wiped down our boots, put our hats on, and surged out into Midtown en route to the subway. I slipped and cracked my knee. Everyone stopped and stared. I was like a little child who falls down, and everyone hushes to see if the kid will burst into tears or just keep going. I wiped the rain out of my eyes and limped to the subway.

Our $25 bleacher seat tickets were waved away. The new, shiny stadium was empty. It was 7pm. The rain had stopped and the Yankees were playing. We sat somewhere in the first ten or fifteen rows, all twelve of us together, drinking our lemonade vodka and eating seven dollar hotdogs and eight dollar garlic fries.

The Yankees were losing. It was the bottom of the eighth. It was 10pm. It was time to go home.

It was my favorite birthday.

yankee stadium

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One response to “The 25th Birthday Tailgate

  1. Pingback: The Party’s Crashing Us « Subway Philosophy

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