August 26, 2007

Let's try that last one again, or, Why I May Never Drink In This Town After This.

Hold tight -- this one contains a lot of people you've never met and takes forever to get around to a point. Just do your best.

I mentioned in my last post that my renting roommate and I went out to a club last night. It was a well-attended lesbian club night at a relatively nifty place out in Southeast Portland. Just women, barring the few obviously uncomfortable dudes accompanying female friends. I went with my roommate; we met my co-worker and two of her friends there; my roommate's close friend Jen came and brought her girlfriend Debbie. Jen and Debbie are about to be important here. Just a moment.

There were something like seven of us there in a loosely-associated group, wandering onto and off of the dance floor and going back for more drinks. Some of us were burning up the dance floor, and some of us were dancing awkwardly and finding frequent excuses to stop dancing. Debbie more or less refused to dance at all and just roamed the club clutching various drinks. That was fine; we're all competent adults and can find our own thing to do in a club full of cute girls.

After a while we stopped seeing Debbie entirely, which was still fine, and then stopped seeing Jen too which seemed to make sense. It was when my roommate and I finally left that we bumped into Jen and found out where they'd gone: Debbie was sick in the parking lot and Jen was taking care of her. Weird that she'd gone outside alone and even Jen hadn't known where she was for a while, but still par for the course for a night of mixed drinks and dancing. We headed home; they headed home.

Today we found out: Debbie was sick all night. Debbie was sick all day. Debbie was taken to the hospital partway through the day, still sick, and a suspicious doctor ran some tests and found what was wrong with her: she'd taken GHB. GHB is not in Debbie's repertoire of things to consume, and that means that someone slipped it to her.

Can I say again that we were in a club full of women? My roommate and I both left drinks unattended because we couldn't imagine that anyone would try to tamper with them. Stupid, possibly, but all the paranoia to which we both tend couldn't conceive of a little lesbian club in Portland being the kind of threatening atmosphere in which you have to watch your back. Or your friends' backs. Or your friend's girlfriend's back as she's wandering around with her drink in her hand and not even putting it down to dance. I can't fathom how anyone could have managed to drug her, and that's not even touching the question of why they would. I haven't heard yet whether she's okay. I doubt very much that she would be even potentially okay if she hadn't been there with a partner who was prepared to go looking for her, take care of her, and take her home.

Before we knew about this, on our way home when all we figured was that Debbie'd had a drink too many, my roommate told me that her drinking is making her depressed and she's thinking about stopping. I thought it sounded like one of the best ideas I'd heard in a while; even my own, far-below-par for this town, drinking has been making me uncomfortable lately. Up too late at night, too tired in the morning, too little time seeing any part of Portland but the bars, not as clear-headed as I'd like to be to enjoy my friends' company. It's like an epiphany blowing through the little social group I've fallen in with -- my roommate's adorable and drunken bike-geek friend, who I've now met probably a dozen times but not once without alcohol, told me thoughtfully last week that he needs to stop drinking and reevaluate his life.

I tend to agree. When I stopped drinking the first time around, it didn't do my social life any favors but it did make the world feel a little calmer and more manageable. Also, not getting drugged and dragged home and assaulted on a Saturday night is a pretty good plan. Maybe what Portland really needs is a sober Californian to sweep into town and slap its Pabst-happy hipster kids back into their right minds. Turn the bars into cake counters, swill out the brewing tanks and start making enormous batches of hot chocolate, and we can still spend all night talking bikes and tattoos and local music but maybe get home in one fucking piece, hmm?

Posted by dianna at August 26, 2007 11:48 PM