I’m the only person at the Standard Cafe. The wireless won’t be working until at least next week, so I’m currently swiping WiFi from the Sunset Strip, trying to nurse my stomach back into working order.
It’s all my fault, this feeling. Well, it’s a little not my fault, but it’s mostly my fault.
There was a birthday party and it started at ten at night and it was at a sushi restaurant. That’s all I knew for sure. The party was for Rachel, a girl I don’t know very well, but for some reason I’ve seen quite a bit in the past week. Frank and Steph would be there. Other than that, it’d be a table full of strangers. I thought it’d be a polite, quiet evening with some raw fish and perhaps a semi-heated conversation about film, which is what happens when Frank and I get to talking.
But that’s not what happened, because we went to Tokyo Delve’s. Until last night, all I knew about this place was from watching MTV that one episode where Ashley Angel got totally plastered with Jacob.
Tokyo Delve’s looks like a jukebox from the street. Then you walk through the doors, and you’re inside a pinball machine. People are screaming at you. Lights are flashing everywhere. “U Can’t Touch This” is blasting so loudly your feet are humming. Everybody is shit-faced. The waiters have microphones and are yelling at you. It’s dark, but bright, and for a second you don’t recognize anybody or anything, and you’re sure there’s been some huge mistake.
We were seated at a large table and the shouting kept going on. Within the first ten minutes of arriving we had to pick a team name for our table, make a guess on the “Mystery Sushi” game so that we could win free sushi, and then watched kegs of beer and bottles of sake appear in front of us so that we could do…
You have a keg of Sapporo, and a little Sake cup. You pour the hot Sake into the little cup and balance it on your chopsticks on top of the glass with Sapporo.
“Have you done these before?” stee asked.
“How do you know how to do this?”
“I paid attention when Ashley Angel did them.”
The waiters start shouting and then they pound the table once and all the little cups fall into the glasses with a huge splash and then you slam the drink.
Ever since the Irish Car Bomb fiasco, I normally stay away from drinks that require ten gulps in a row. I am not in college. Also, I’m not supposed to eat or drink wheat.
I don’t know. I just looked over at the pregnant woman sitting at the end of the table who couldn’t drink nor eat anything at this party and it was dark and Rachel was so happy it was her birthday and I just figured, “What the fuck.”
I did the first Sake Bomb and realized that when you drink that much that quickly, your body’s natural reaction is to Woo. Because that’s exactly what I started shouting right afterwards. “Woo!” I’m sorry, Spring Break Girls. I didn’t know you couldn’t help the sounds coming out of your body. I had no idea that the body needs to Woo in order to get massive amounts of alcohol quickly and easily through your system. It makes sense, making your body vibrate with a girlish squeal. Now I get it.
The level of excitement these waiters have to have for their jobs is frightening. At one point they all have to dance to *NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye,” which made me instantly wonder two things:
1) Holy shit, have they been doing this routine nightly for the past seven years?
2) On nights when they just feel like shit, or are going through personal crap, how do they ever psyche themselves into this level of frenzy? Because if I had to act as jacked-up as a male stripper over clothed people eating raw fish, I don’t know if I could keep my eyes from bleeding.
So there’s dancing and shouting and fish and another round of sake bombs and Rachel keeps filling my sake cup, telling me she’s so glad I’m here and talking to her, and I’m meeting her friends who all seem to know stee and somehow even know me.
Then Frank and I move to the side and start talking about graphic novels. Jorge, who I haven’t seen in years, asks if he can intrude to eavesdrop. His words, not mine.
We’re about thirty seconds into the conversation when Jorge punches my arm. “See? This is the kind of stuff I’m talking about,” he says. “I would never know anything about graphic novels, because who reads those things? And you guys are talking about an entire subculture where there are no superheroes and it’s about like, real people?”
Frank gives him a few names, which Jorge asks Frank to email him later, as he won’t remember anything. Frank and I go back to discussing why Frank thinks it’s so important that I read Ghost World as soon as possible.
“Holy shit,” Jorge says to me. “Do you hear yourself? You’re a geek boy’s wet dream. Do you know that?”
“Jorge, you have no idea.”
Jorge starts looking around the empty, insanely loud, blinking restaurant for some kind of confirmation. “I mean, you just dropped like, six geek things in one sentence, and I — you’re the geek boy’s dream girl. Like, he’s out there, waiting for you.”
I know Jorge is complimenting me, but I don’t get the sense that he fancies himself a geek boy, so he’s basically saying, I’m totally awesome for a nerd who isn’t anywhere near this room.
“If you start talking Star Trek,” he says, “this is over.”
“I don’t know anything about Star Trek, Star Wars, or Lord of the Rings,” I tell him. “But I do have some Magic the Gathering cards somewhere.”
Jorge asks stee if he knows he married the geek boy’s geek girl.
stee nods, eyes closed. “Believe me,” he says. “I know. She will kick your ass in Street Fighter.”
Rachel hugged everyone a million times and really seemed to enjoy her birthday party. Frank, Steph, stee and I opted out of the after party, because we are still semi-responsible adults, kinda.
I got home and checked my face to see if the wheat had left a mark. Nope. Maybe that wheat allergy is all in my head.
I had dreams of being forced to watch Superman 2.
I had to get up early this morning for another meeting. Looked in the mirror.
My face wasn’t happy. My stomach wasn’t happy. My skin wasn’t happy. Ugh.
I got to the Standard and immediately explained my Sake Bomb evening, because it really wasn’t what I thought was going to happen with my night.
So, I sometimes forget that people read this website who actually see me on a near-daily basis. So when I write things like “I can’t stop crying,” it makes people call me, come visit, write, or sit near me and listen to me for hours. I’m very grateful for my friends and family, for the people who check up on me even when I don’t know about it, who worry about me when I’m nowhere near, and who love me no matter what.
All of this is to say that I spent some time with some of these people yesterday, and by the time I decided to skip my afternoon run because AB wasn’t letting me off the phone anytime soon, I should have known that my unpredictable day was going to become an unpredictable night.
I don’t think I’m going back to Tokyo Delve’s, unless I need the sensation of being trapped in a blender that’s making glitter margaritas.
[bonus story: Evany writes about the night she came to town and made me proud. Then she posts pictures of us.]