Partying My Way Through My 20s

I’m at a party in Washington Heights for a girl’s birthday party whom I barely know. She’s in my Intermediate Fiction class and likes to write stories about suicidal girls and natural disasters. The party is hectic and I don’t really know anyone so I drink whisky very fast. At one point, I go to the bathroom and fall backwards into the bathtub, where I lay for two minutes because I’m too drunk to get up. Around 5 a.m., I take the subway back downtown with the birthday girl and listen to her recite poetry to me from her personal diary. By the time we hit 14th street, I think I hate her guts.

I’m at a party in Hollywood somewhere at someone’s dilapidated apartment. The boys here have long hair and wear eyeliner and I really just can’t believe people like this still exist. I run into a few people from my hometown randomly and talk awkwardly with them about WHAT A SMALL WORLD IT IS THAT WE RUN INTO EACH OTHER AT SOME NEW YORK DOLLS WANNABE’S APARTMENT IN HOLLYWOOD. I then run to the bathroom to take two pills and come out feeling like a new, high person.

I’m at my 23rd birthday party, which I’ve decided to throw at my studio apartment in the East Village. After not drinking all summer (I honestly forgot to), my tolerance for any booze is non-existent but I take shots of whisky anyway. As per usual, my friends show up fashionably late in a large group and at that point, I’m already slumped over in a corner hating my life. I start puking around midnight in a giant pot on my bed, while everyone around me continues to dance. All the while, I’m earnestly thinking, “Nobody likes you when you’re 23.”

I’m at a New Year’s Eve party in Westwood with all the kids I grew up with, all of the people who knew me with skinned knees and mismatched shoes. It’s making me feel so content being with all of them again and I know, deep down, that this will never happen again. I was right, of course.

I’m at a party in Pacific Heights with a giant group of people — some of whom I like and some of whom I don’t. It’s in a mansion and I’m shocked by the sheer scale of the house. Who did it belong to? How did my friend know about this? I’m 20 years old and there is an open bar so that means I’m blotto in 2.5 seconds. I’m drinking like it’s all going to be taken away from me, which it probably was, and I get to a point in my drunkenness where I start to feel close to everyone I’m with, like I’m on coke or something, even though I’m not. That night was fun, that night ended well. Or maybe it was terrible and I was too drunk to notice? Either way, the night will always hold significance for me because three days later I was hit by a car and everything changed. There were no more parties for me for a long time, unless you count crying in your bed alone as a party — which I guess some people do.

I’m at my first party EVER. (You know, with drugs and alcohol.) It’s at a girl named Rashonda’s house and everyone is getting high and drunk in her backyard. I take two sips of vodka — my first ever taste of hard alcohol — and pretend that I’m wasted. Meanwhile, my best friend, who claimed she was straightedge, gets offered a pot brownie and eats it immediately. So much for peer pressure.

I’m throwing my first party ever, since my mom is going out of town. People end up tracking mud into my house and a girl in a pink wig passes out on my bed. Another girl locks herself in my bathroom and has delusions that she’s on a battlefield in World War II.

I’m at a party in Downtown Los Angeles. It’s a rave or something. As I’m getting ready to leave, a boy grabs my arm and starts making out with me. Before I even get a chance to look at his face, I kiss him back. We end up making out against a fence and I have a feeling that he’s gross but I don’t care because it’s summer. Afterwards, he asks me to go back with him to his house in Van Nuys and I’m like, “No.’ I find out that his name is Pedro and I spend the next four months ignoring his text messages.

I’m at a book launch party and Susan Sarandon shows up carrying two small dogs in her arms. Everyone pretends this is normal because she is Susan Sarandon.

I’m at a website launch party and Courtney Love is five feet away from me talking to Michael Stipe. She’s smoking furiously and looks surprisingly chic.

I’m in the bathroom of a party watching someone shotgun a beer and that’s when I think, perhaps for the first time, that I’m getting too old for these types of parties and that it might be time for me to go home. TC Mark

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.

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