FROM THE ARCHIVES: Finding the Happiest Hour
We've published hundreds of stories from 100+ writers in the last three years, so we're highlighting some of these timeless posts in our new From the Archives series. Enjoy!
Found a deal for half off beers and cocktails. Half off nachos, though the guacamole is still full price, but you pay for it anyway because: guac. Gather with friends who also graduated college to talk for a few hours, reminisce, wander. Finish off my piña colada and round the tip because I avoided math classes like the plague. Polish off the last remaining sweet drops, feeling as though I too am on a seventy degree beach with crystal clear water. An eleven dollar bill never felt so divine.
Encounter a new restaurant, new deal. Cosmopolitan for half off, and more nachos to appease my wallowing stomach. Talk and talk, admire the doe-eyed baby who keeps throwing looks our way. Discuss life, the lack of jobs, the frustration, the laughs. Finish off the drink. Feel the buzz of such a fancy beverage and wonder if I’ll ever match the sophistication of this martini glass. Consider asking for a refill but a six dollar bill…you can’t beat that.
Forever researching the cheapest deals in town. Chase the feeling of ordering a full price deal for pocket change. Release anguish and stress from 4–6pm so the remaining 22 hours of the day feel distant and untouched.
Dislocated my right shoulder from my socket for the third time, dislocated from applying to jobs, dislocated from any clue as to where I’ll be in five years or next Monday. Recognizing the fact that this summer is not the summer I had imagined, that I am changing, that I am entering the most confusing period in my life with the fragility of two bare bones clanging together.
Handling the spare time by finally watching the entirety of Breaking Bad, writing stories, writing scripts, reading books that will keep my eyelids open, and job hunting. Finding some beacon of joy in Jesse Pinkman’s eyes and cultivating ideas for future screenplays, creating subjects filled with such sorrow I never had the courage to commit to paper.
Between stressing for Walter White’s father-of-the-year-campaign and my ambiguous job future, the happy hours continued. I have the utmost appreciation for these friends that took me out of my own darkness and enjoyed a beer or two. We treasured our three dollar drinks, our pita and chips, our half off cocktails, our half off wines, our chances to escape the pressures of “do you have a job yet?” and the looming student loan emails. The bitter hops of a summer ale washed away our problems, reminding us that if Emily Blunt and John Krasinksi found each other, we too can find jobs and futures that welcome us wholeheartedly.
I’m disappointed in myself for slipping into the darkest place I’ve ever fallen into, becoming bitter and cynical. Being told a hundred times that “I’m going to be okay” and listening to such words as a broken record of defeat. I guess it took some pita chips and a glass of wine to remind me that things can be half-full once again. Embracing time with my best friends from home to drink and share joy, laugh with my family on the deck, recognize our addiction to Baby Animals of Instagram, chat with friends from school near and far, and insist that my boyfriend and I can recite John Mulaney without any hesitation or stumbling of a word. Embrace that fact that a cappuccino stout and tacos can pull me out of my own head. Not to suggest that alcohol is the hero here (though it sure makes things a bit lighter), but perhaps it’s a peace offering. Some line to tread between reality and dreams, finding the happiest hour to be at ease, enjoy the sunset, enjoy the liquor and food, and remind myself that I have a choice. Either I can continue to watch the clock tick second by second, or set it aside for as long as necessary.
My summer was filled with three dollar beers, fries, and an understanding that we cannot diagnose a rhyme or reason for the way things happen, simply that they have happened, and now you make a choice (either $5 wine or beer).
[This post was originally published at September 18, 2016.]
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