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From the Vault: 1, These Aren’t the Drunks You’re Looking For

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It’s about time for my phone to be upgraded. That may not seem like much, but when you consider it, this is a pretty sizable milestone all things considered. I remember getting this phone, an iPhone 3GS, at the very end of junior year for my 21st birthday. Since I’ve gotten it, it’s become an extension of me- despite the fact I never thought I’d use it. Well, I did use it- and I used it a fair amount. It’s captured a lot of moments- graduation, girls, bonfires out in the country, lonely walks in downtown, everything. Our phones have become our little worry stones- Generation Y’s baby blankets. So, as I thumbed through these pictures, I decided to blog one of them every few days until my new phone comes in. So here’s the first installment of “From the Vault.”


These aren’t the drunks you’re looking for…

Here’s the third ever photo I took on my iPhone. I figured it’s a good one to start with. It’s one of those pictures you’re really proud of simply because you captured a rare moment, something that you probably won’t see again. It’s not often you see a fucking storm trooper walking around downtown after all.

To understand this photo, you have to go back to the night before.

It was my 21st birthday- the day the government deems you mature enough to drink alcohol and the day you prove to them by your actions that you really aren’t. I came back to Raleigh to get my first legal drink at the Raleigh Times with some friends- something I said I’d do since I first got to State. I don’t remember much about getting to the Times (not because I was drunk, but because I’m a space cadet and can barely remember someone’s name), but I recollect getting a bottle of Christian Brothers brandy from the liquor store because I thought brandy was classy. Somehow we end up at the bar- a renovated newspaper building that has since become the hipster mecca of the Southeast. I look at the menu and it becomes obvious what my first legal beer is going to be- Lucifer. I don’t care what it tastes like or who makes it or what sort of food you pair it with- this beer is called Lucifer and I have to drink it just because of that.

It’s strange the clarity you gain from a few pints- despite the fact that your physical coordination sags, often times your mind focuses a bit more on reality, as hazy as it may become. This is prime time for talks about politics, religion, and how people really feel about each other. A fifth of whiskey absolves sins and affirms lovers like few things in this world do. It’s strange that these discussions have to come under the influence of the booze or the bong (I’m guilty of both from time to time), but perhaps that’s the only time we feel safe to truly express ourselves- when we feel everyone else is off guard. We’re so selfish with our true emotions.

Acquaintances drink coffee. Friends drink beer.

Anyways, back to the insight you get from putting on the beer goggles. I noticed things differently after these first few beers. This was my first time getting drunk after all, despite my assertion that I was seasoned from glasses of dinner wine and an Irish heritage. I noticed lots of things I didn’t like. I noticed the way one of my then friends was flirting with my then girlfriend and realized that this was going to be the last birthday we’d celebrate together. I noticed half of the people around me I didn’t even really like all that much. I noticed that my mustache looked a little creepy after all. I noticed that more drinks made me forget all those things.

Somehow I end up in a parking lot later that night to be driven home. I spot a parking barricade and, in my state, know that I simply must vault over it. I remember hearing my friend Kieran’s voice telling me not to do it, but when you’re hammered, voices of reason sound like car alarms- you hear them in the distance, but you never check to see if it actually is meant for you. I fall like a sack of bricks onto my hand. I don’t feel a thing though and I could care less about the pain this is going to bring me later in the morning. Caring about fair weather friends, a cheating girlfriend, and sprained wrists stops somewhere around seven beers for me.

I spend the night in my friend Mel’s room because my then girlfriend doesn’t want to sleep with me- something “three beers Drew” would find odd but “seven beers Drew” just sees as more room to sprawl out on the bed. This is by far one of the most hellish nights I’ve had. Mel has this sort of hippie chic to her room, so there’s a million Indian and Arab inspired pillows and rugs around the room and all of them itch. The AC is out too- because why the fuck not, you know? I take off everything but my boxers to stay cool (I figured having my balls on Mel’s bedspread would just make it awkward), but that doesn’t help. I lay staring at the ceiling fan spin, in a hot itchy room and I realize Dante’s Inferno has been updated to fit modern life.

I get no sleep and am woken up by the girls wanting to get donuts and coffee. I stomach a few cream-filled’s and sip a white chocolate mocha as we drive back to the house. Then I spot it. I can’t believe my eyes. Has sleep deprivation and alcohol fucked with my senses enough to cause me to hallucinate? No. For one of the few times in life, it isn’t too good to be true- there’s a fucking storm trooper standing on the corner of Fayetteville Street across from a souvlaki stand. This is the cosmos’s way of telling me it has a sense of humor. I found a glitch in the matrix.

And there you have it.

Two years later I’m writing about this photo. Two years later that storm trooper has unwittingly made themself a book end in one of the most pivotal periods of my life. Two years later I’m smiling more at this photo than when I took it.


Check back often for new installments in “From the Vault.”


Written by dstclaire

June 3, 2012 at 10:44 pm

Posted in Non-Fiction

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