The Bacchanal That Was 21

Yo diggity and welcome to day 29 of the #30daywritingchallenge! Yes, day 29 of 30. That means this challenge is almost done. Don’t be sad, though! The group of us – and several more writers/bloggers/authors – will be continuing this new tradition. We’re switching hashtags to #akwritingchallenge so be prepared to look for that on FaceBook and Twitter. I believe there are 6-7 of us participating in the current challenge, and it looks like we’ll have around 20 for the next. Amazing!

Similarly to how we were dreading the Family Member I Dislike posting – which you can see here: Sperm Donor – I’ve been looking forward to this topic. It’s about the night of my 21st birthday.

I have to say that 21 was one of my best birthdays to date. I’m not even sure how to describe everything that happened, but I’ll try.

I was in Michigan at the time. All of my best buds from the high school years were there. Ryan and Claire had flown in from out west and were celebrating their engagement. Jason and Jen had just had their first baby and this was their first time out and about since. The rest of the clan was always up for anything. I was one of the babies of the group so 21 was a big deal. We knew we had to make major plans.

We hired a car because who wants to be responsible for driving when we know we’re getting plastered? We went downtown and checked out all of the bars that I’d been wanting to go to and hadn’t been allowed in, or at least couldn’t legally drink in.

The first stop was the local club where our favorite bands played. We’d seen groups like The Verve Pipe and Daddy Long Legs there. It was awesome to go in and order my first legal drink. I can’t remember who played that night. It was probably Knee Deep Shag since it seems they were always on a stage somewhere.

We hung out for a bit, and then the scene got stale. It alway does. Besides, I was 21 and we had so many other bars to check out! The next stop was the dueling piano bar. My friends had to do the humiliation thing and told the guys it was my birthday. Before I knew it I was sitting on top of a piano and being serenaded with one of the dirtiest songs I have ever heard.

Next it was on to the bar that high school classmates owned. I had drank there before, using VIP cards my classmates had handed out like candy, but it was a completely different feeling to go in there and order a drink and have an actual ID out and ready. I loved it!

We had the best time. Until Claire decided some chick was eyeballing her man a little too closely. Drama ensued, but no violence, thank goodness. Ryan and Claire are still married today, so happy side note.

We hit a late dinner at the local college hangout where I gleefully ordered pitcher after pitcher of beer. We played some darts and then went on to the local pool hall. My vision was doubled at this point, and I can’t remember how the games went, but I’m sure it was fun.

That entire story is a lie, up to and including the mentioned friends. Gotta love authors, right?

I honestly don’t remember much about my 21st birthday – mostly because that was half of my lifetime ago. Yes, it was a milestone, but there have been so many others since. Hell, I’m staring down the barrel of 40 in 2 months.

Side note: pay special attention to my page come October. I’ll be doing a lot of random giveaways to celebrate, including signed paperbacks.

My Companion and I read this topic last night and both sat back, stymied. Neither of us could remember our 21st birthdays. Eventually he remembered that he was on a cruise. I had to sit there and do travel math.

“Okay, I went to Phoenix in blah blah blah …”

If I recall correctly, I actually was in Phoenix. The family flew me home to Michigan for a visit. It seems like coincidentally other friends had come back to visit at the same time. Most of them had moved out west to Colorado or Oregon to develop drug habits. I mean go exploring and live life.

I didn’t have a vehicle and don’t remember how I got to the Cafe, but I did. Everyone was there. I don’t know what I walked in on after having been out of town for most of the year, but I remember everything feeling awkward.

The Cafe was one of my favorite places. I’m sad it’s closed and been torn down, but I suppose it was time.

My high school friends were all older than me by a couple of years so when they turned 21, we all did. They weren’t real heavy on carding people at the local bars, and we all knew each other so why would they bother?

I remember one night, the bartender had to ask for ID because the owner was sitting right there. I showed him a library card. Another time they asked and I showed them my male friend’s ID. “Is this really you?” “Why yes, yes it is. Why do you ask? I’ve cut my hair since then …” and drinks were served.

I celebrated three 21st birthdays at the Cafe, so the real one was no big deal. I went in to the local beer store, all excited. I had never tried to buy alcohol there, only cigarettes. I excitedly told the clerk that I was 21 and asked what I should buy.

“A.K., I thought you were 21 three years ago. You’ve been wasting time.”

That quote … ugh! The young me was happy and annoyed. I could have been buying Bell’s beer this whole time?

Anyways, I met up with my friends and the whole night felt weird. I’m sure I had changed. Phoenix was completely different and the people I hung out with there wouldn’t have recognized me in Michigan.

Hippie in Michigan – I don’t know what in Phoenix but we listened to Techno and went to raves so, yeah.

It was my birthday and I was the most sober one. I cadged a ride home with a couple (who’s child just turned 23! What the hell!) and had the long, swervy ride home. I went to bed early, and decided 21 was no big deal.





8 thoughts on “The Bacchanal That Was 21

  1. I had a baby to take care of so it was no big deal to me either. The only thing I did was went to the liquor store and bought a bottle of some sort of booze and they didn’t even card me! What a disappointment! I have NEVER been carded. I could be your mother, my son turns the big 40 this year too LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL! 40 doesn’t feel like a big deal. My mom and I were talking about it yesterday. It will be when my little sister turns 40 that we’ll all cry more than a little. Ugh. Although no matter that I’ll be 47 then, my brother will be 50. HA!
      By the way, I appreciate your comments. Whenever I see the notification, I smile. 😘


  2. Pingback: No No No No!

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