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December 31, 2013

18 Till I Die

Text by Radhika Vaz. Illustration by Kunal Kundu

A body that knows that it is 40, while the mind remains in almost permanent denial. New York-based comedian, Radhika Vaz recounts a humorous narration of getting blitzed when she shifted from being a thinking adult to a teenager

While I love the sentiment of ‘18 till I die’, the truth is, at 40, I am now officially closer to ‘die’ than I am to 18. The problem however is that while my body is aware of this, my mind remains in blissful ignorance. I mean – ok – on a purely intellectual level I know I am not 18, but every now and again I tend to forget this.

A few months ago a friend celebrated her first pregnancy with a baby shower. Like all respectable baby showers the festivities would commence at the civilised hour of 4 p.m. Perfect! I could get blitzed and still get enough sleep to salvage the next day. This concern for a future time period is straight up old-fart behavior. An 18-year-old would never think like this. Eighteen-year-olds can party all night and then peacefully sleep all day. If I dare do that, I will end up being so wracked by exhaustion and guilt that I will 1. be unable to sleep until the following night and 2. will spend the entire day promising myself and anyone else willing to listen that I will never do something so stupid ever again. And so my whole life has centred around finding the right mix and pacing of substance abuse so that I can feel less shitty.

Anyhow – back to the baby shower. Because most of the guests had kids of their own and because it is customary to bring your own baby to a baby shower I expected the little buzz kills to keep us all in check – which was great – after all I had grown-up, 40 year-old stuff to do the next day.

When I rolled in at 5 p.m. the party was in full swing with not a single child in sight.

I have a baby sitter until 11, one of the women smugly informed me while handing me a glass of Champagne. I have to leave early – working tomorrow I explained as I sucked back the Champagne. Working on what? She inquired, pouring us both our second glass of alcohol in less than 10 minutes. I’m teaching a class. She didn’t seem impressed. You guys don’t have kids do you? She asked as she reached for the Champagne bottle. No we don’t. I said. Then what’s your problem? I don’t get you people with no kids, she said to no one in particular, you can do what you want and you want to go home early. Then she and the Champagne bottle went out on to the terrace to enjoy the next few childfree hours.

While I was slightly annoyed that she seemed to think her life was harder than mine just because she had kids, I was able to see past that to what she was really saying which was – if you have no children to take care of (even if it’s for a few hours) you owe it to yourself to have a really great time. On an empty stomach and two glasses of Champagne her idea sounded pretty damn good. What was I saving myself for! I could afford to stay out at least as long as a woman with a baby – I mean c’mon, if she was planning on getting wasted, that too with a cranky child to take care of the next day, what was my problem?

And this is where I swiftly shifted from being a thinking adult into a teenager. First, I located the other person who had brought weed to the baby shower. Then I secured the pregnant hostess’ permission to smoke it. Then we smoked it. Then I drank more Champagne. This last bit was a very stupid move that only an inexperienced rube would make; it is not something a woman who, in the past, has suffered the consequences of mixing substances would do. But I was past the stage of making smart decisions, I was instead chain-smoking a friend’s mother’s skinny mentholated fags, swilling champagne like it was water, and talking very loudly to a group of people I had never met before.

Unsurprisingly the more hammered I got the better I felt and at 7 p.m. (my original departure time) I made the executive decision to stay until 9. Clearly all the other drunk and stoned people were loving my company as much as I was enjoying theirs. The Champagne and weed supplies were still going strong, plus I didn’t have any responsibilities, as the drunk mother had pointed out. Per my calculations I was going to easily get eight hours of sleep no matter what I did. It was a win-win situation.

About 20 minutes after this happy realisation I had a second, less happy realisation. I was going to vomit. Suddenly I felt very much my age and the idea of throwing up at a baby shower was too much even by my generally low standards and so I belatedly began to try and act my age.

I excused myself from the group and went in search of a toilet. I had to move gingerly because by this time I was not in a New York City apartment but instead I was on the deck of the Titanic after it hit the iceberg and I had to fight tooth and nail just to keep my balance. Once safely in the loo I made a cold compress out of a guest towel and put it on my head and face. Instantly I started to feel better, so I sat there for a few more moments, pretend flushed, pretend washed my hands and then came back out, at which point unfortunately so did the nausea. There was no way to get away from this. I was going to have to bail, but first I had to find my husband.

We have to leave. I whispered rudely into his face, completely ignoring the fact that he was having a conversation with two other people. Why? He asked, backing away from me as politely as he could. Because if we don’t I will vomit here in front of everyone.

And with that I turned, grabbed a bottle of mineral water from the bar and staggered out of there. I didn’t say good-bye or thank you to the hosts. I just bolted. Once I was out on the street I began to feel remarkably better, I had stopped feeling like I was out at sea and this gave me the confidence to hail a cab. Yet another immature move because about 60 seconds after having fastened my seatbelt, I had my head hanging out the cab window while I unloaded about $100 worth of Champagne on to Sixth Avenue. It was still early evening and bright as day so my humiliation was there for all to see, and their disgust, unconcealed by darkness, was there for me to see, including the cab driver behind us, upon whose cab I almost puked.

The next day was awful and I spent it insisting that this would NEVER happen again because I am too old for it.

Or am I?

Radhika Vaz is a New York-based comedian and the co-creator of Shugs&Fats, a web-based comedy series for MTV Desi. Her one-woman comedy show Unladylike sold-out in New York, Los Angeles, Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru and Gurgaon and her new show Older. Angrier. Hairier. is currently running in NYC.

Tags: Comment, Humour

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