Last night, I made a deal. I was bored, I was not tired, and I was tired of being ignored by my two friends Tom and Ryan, who had settled down to play endless hours of the exclusively two-man game, chess. Chess is obviously a thinking game, and so they were not the best conversationalists, in spite of my attempt to be “social,” so I returned to my room and read for a while, not paying much attention to the reading and annoyed that I had nothing to do on a Saturday night while two of my alleged “good friends” were merely one room away from me.
After they had had their fill of chess, Ryan knocked on my door to enlist my company once again. This time, however, they were heading out to our common room to play another of my not-so-favorite pastimes: Double Dash. (For those of you more inclined toward traditional board games such as Scrabble or athletic games such basketball, Double Dash is a Mario Cart Nintendo GameCube video game; these two boys have played it religiously since freshman year of college.) Once again, my options were to sit there watching the two of them silently play a game, or return to my room. I chose the latter option.
”Where are you going?” Ryan wanted to know. “How often do you get to see me? You wouldn’t want to miss this chance.”
“I can see you just fine,” I told him. “It’s talking to you that’s going to be the problem.”
“I can talk fine while I’m playing,” he insisted. “I’ve had some of my best conversations while playing Double Dash.”
I highly doubted that.
“How about this?” Tom set the disk down on top of the GameCube console. “If you take shots with us, we won’t play Double Dash, and we’ll spend the night doing something that includes you.”
Now, what kind of an option is that? Basically my choices were 1) return to my room, stew in my boredom, and go to bed grumpy and dissatisfied, or 2) agree to the terms and see what would happen. I have drunk alcohol before, I knew exactly how much I was willing to drink, and I knew that they would not force me to drink more than that; I just didn’t really want to be drinking at all that night (or any night, really). It felt like an unfair request. In a way, Tom may as well have said, “Drink with us or we won’t be your friend.” I know he is my friend, and that’s not what he meant, but there simply is no other subtext.
So I took the shots, and we played three-handed Euchre and 500. I have found that once people are satisfied that you are drinking with them, they rarely monitor how much you drink. I got away with pouring myself a shot and letting it sit there for twenty minutes at a time before either Tom or Ryan noticed I hadn’t taken it yet. Total shots: 1 pineapple rum, 1 vanilla vodka, 2 99 oranges. The drinking spiel was over two hours, and I didn’t feel a single effect, although my face did grow increasingly flushed.
At least I got them to play cards with me. But I can’t help wondering: in the end, is that really worthwhile? Why do such important matters (i.e. spending time with someone and making them feel wanted) come down to such trivial ones (i.e. a shot of vodka)?