…. We met up with J’s Dad and sister at a little restaurant by the lake. It was late in the evening, and we were starving, and I looked like hell (still on the mend from my illness with a nasty, lingering cough that was oh-so-ladylike…), but I was excited to finally see in person at least two of the until-now fictitious characters in J’s stories. We arrived first, and ordered drinks, and as the two of them walked in, I felt this bizarre sense similar to what you might feel upon seeing Jude Law or Jennifer Aniston (or whoever) in your grocery store buying milk or kumquats (or whatever). I had seen them in so many pictures, and had such a crisp idea of them in my mind, and now, here they were, real-life people. And not at all scary. And, in fact, very much like myself and my family.
We had a great dinner, then headed home to pass out for a long night of much-needed sleep. It would be the last of its kind until we arrived back in Columbus.
There was much touring of the area, and the weather was unseasonably warm, so I fit in a run and we walked into town and around the local college campus. (It seems my campus-phobia is on the mend, and I may soon even be able to return to school, should I perhaps desire such things…) J’s older brother and mom flew in on New Year’s Eve, and his Dad decided we should all try this renowned soul food restaurant in Charlotte called LeWon’s. It was in a tiny little strip mall on a questionable side of town, and shared a parking lot with a gas station. The interior wasn’t much to talk about, but MY GOD. When they put that food down on our table, the smell was almost overwhelming, and everything we tried was phenomenal. We left stuffed and schooled. Never judge collard greens, mashed potatoes and candied yams by their cover.
From there, J’s parents took off for New Year’s in Charleston, SC, and the rest of us headed home to prepare for the festivities. The party began relatively early and wound down in the wee hours on New Year’s Day (actually, it even continued after that when, a few hours after some had finally gone to bed, others returned to make breakfast for everyone). What happened in between is hard to summarize, but the key moments were these:
-Evil Twin and In-Law return to join in the party.
-Massive, four-table beer pong tournament is organized
-At midnight, the hands-down biggest guy at the party pops the cork on a bottle of champagne, sends spray flying, splashes a bit on this weird, little guy that no one invited. Weird, little guy gets booted (by force) from the party. Peaceful merriment resumes.
-An hour later, flashlights are seen in the back and front yards. The local cops caught Weird, Little Guy who was underage and had an illegal blood-alcohol measurement. He sings like a canary and tells them where to find the party. They try to enter the house without a warrant, and we immediately usher the few underage guests (J’s little sister is only 18.) up to a little room upstairs. (Or, as one of the guest astutely put it, “We had to pull some Anne Frank sh#t on those underaged kids.”
-Cops try to search the house, but J reminds them that they have no right to do such things without a warrant, and appeases them, instead, by have all of us bring our I.D.’s to the cops. After ruining the mood for a good hour, cops let us off the hook, tell us to keep it down and finally get lost. Merriment resumes.
-We get a roaring bonfire going (by which I mean, Evil Twin and I use our pyromaniac tendencies to stoke the fire with empty beer boxes, random trash items and the occasional alcohol). Sparklers ensue.
Admittedly, I crashed early, but only because I knew very well that another night of partying would follow, and as my body is unaccustomed as of late to such hardcore debauchery, I knew I should rest up. The next night proved to be much of the same, with the addition of marshmallow-roasting and hot-tubbing. And this, my friends, is the origin of the newly-minted terms “brominizer” and “brominization.” Apparently the process of adding bromine to water is called brominization, but this also seemed the perfect descriptor for the excessive man-love that occurred as a natural effect of the joyous reunion of a large group of male friends and relatives. See below for examples.
And so it went, and there was plenty more I’m leaving out, I’m sure. But that’s a fairly accurate summation of how I went rogue for 11 days.
Thank you to all involved. We must do it again sometime.