But still your room is all a mess

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Young vices

Wye Oak – I Don’t Feel Young

I have blacked out twice in my life. The first time was at a bachelor party. I drank Sailor Jerry and apparently spent half of the night naked, trying to cuddle with other men. The second time was in Tijuana. I coasted down for a friend’s farewell party. They kept feeding me “scarfs” — double shots of half Hpnotiq and half Jäger. I kept saying “uno, dos, tres — viva Mexico!” and then I woke up with my boots still on and a pile of vomit next to my head.

I cleaned up around 9 a.m. and napped through the rest day. My friend groggily, grumpily dropped me off at the border around 5 p.m. I stumbled backward along the queue as it snaked around, full of Sunday traffic. At the end, I scooted into line ahead of some others, who started chatting. One was an alcoholic who had been sober 25 years. He worked as a contractor and visited his son, who married a Mexican, over weekends to get cheaper dental work. He was a Republican (“so Obama care basically boils down to . . .”) and was bald. The couple behind him were gentle, pleasant. They talked in thick accents about raising their children in Chicago, of their medical practices, of Bulgarian food. They genuinely enjoyed the foreignness of everything in the line: a mangy xolo; the lard used to make churros; a child, roughly nine, dancing nimbly under the drape of his colorful poncho, a boombox and upturned hat at his feet; lucha libre masks and other knickknacks.

We chatted for the three hours we inched forward in line. Conversation turned to travel. Somewhere along that zigzag it dawned on me that I had been or held legitimate opinions about everywhere they mentioned: Chicago’s bone-cold winds during winter, the Pike in Seattle, the socioeconomics of South Africa, Shanghai’s public transportation, where to visit in Indonesia, hurricane season in the Caribbean, Dimitar Berbatov.

I realized, as I picked crusted vomit off the sleeve of my shirt, that this was the first time in my life I had ever felt like an adult, or at least like I had accrued an adult amount of experiences.

[If Children.]

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