I can’t be certain, but I’m fairly sure I’m stumbling down Blake Street in downtown Denver. I have to pee. Terribly. The blurry-faced man I’m wandering around town with is not from Denver and I know for a fact I’m relying on him for directional knowledge of our destination. We discuss important things like what Beastie Boys songs we know and how familiar I am with “Paul Revere.” I assure my comrade that I know it well enough to read the lyrics off a karaoke screen and spit them into a microphone. My pee is reaching critical mass, and I have no idea how much longer I can hold it.
I pee. In an alley. On a fence. It was everything I hoped peeing could be and more; the exhilaration of trying not to get caught adds shots of adrenaline to the whole experience. Free range peeing. Now we can focus on the task at hand: Karaoke. It’s the true sport of the hammered drunk, and my new friend and I declared ourselves some of it’s finest athletes. I can’t explain the appeal. I can’t sing, and I’m not comfortable being the center of attention. Yet, something deep inside comes screeching out my vocal chords when I’ve had an extraordinary amount to drink.
I need to back this story up. There’s no context. Is there ever, though, on nights like this? Context is a condition of the sober, and there is little doubt that I lack context tonight. I just spent four hours or so drinking one ounce shots of beer at the Great American Beer Festival. Once the Colorado Convention Center cleared out and I was left stalking the tables for the last samplings of beer like a vulture, I found my way to the Left Hand Brewing tent. Like a moth to a light in a bar window.
Most of these faces were blurry ones around me less than 18 hours before at the Left Hand 20th Anniversary Party (Read that story here). I’m at that point where I know I’m drunk, but I think I’m still holding my shit together. I had a solid base of Jimmy John’s before the festival. The bread definitely soaked up at LEAST half of the booze. How bad could it be? Next thing I know, I’m walking the streets with four or possibly five people from the brewery. I play it cool and try to discuss things I know vast amounts of information about. Shoes? Yeah ok, Brain, shoes it is.
After I exhaust my shoe knowledge in about 13 syllables, I’m bailed out as we reach our first post GABF destination: The Beerliner. If you haven’t heard about this thing, look it up because I’m not doing the fucking work for you. In summary, it’s a mobile beer-serving tour bus from Texas. The magic? This is the ONLY place in the city where you can drink a beer on the sidewalk. I know this primarily because as we asked the question ourselves, two of Denver’s finest walk right past us. I’m talking to some guy and I’m suddenly engorged with piss. Just bloated. Turns out the Beerliner doesn’t have a bathroom and outdoor peeing is not recommended by the guys who run it. Just a few tips for any future patrons.
I find a place to pee. We move on. We go to Falling Rock Taphouse and the line is around the entire fucking county. The outside area is fenced off and packed to the gills with tons more people who lack context, just like me. We get in and merge with the waves of beer guzzling bodies. I buy something I don’t remember. Not even checking into Untappt at this point. Why bother? Live in the moment or get the fuck out of it. I decide I’m renouncing technology. How social is drinking when you’re staring at your goddamn phone typing your witty reviews or taking pictures of every glass you take a sip of to share with the rest of the drooling masses online?
Then I accidentally photo bomb a news interview and forget about everything I was thinking. The haze is thick over my eyes now. The faces of all the Left Hand folks look much fuzzier and familiar than they did earlier. I still think I’m in control, but it’s mostly motor functions. I can stand, I can move my hand to my mouth for more context killer. Contextually speaking, I am so far out of it that Karaoke sounds like a great idea. A man to my left says that magic K-word, and we bond instantly. There’s one place we both know to contain a machine that will deliver us to our bloodsport. The Star Bar. It’s a mecca for Karaoke-forward individuals such as ourselves.
So now we come full circle to me looking for a safe alley to relieve my bladder and give some sobriety to a story that kicked context in the balls and ran away laughing. How does the story end? Well, there was no fucking Karaoke that night and I ended up walking home. Sometimes, I guess, things are more exciting left ending with no context.
An open mind and a few beers can make anywhere an adventure.