Twentysomething Brigadoon

As we roll into Pittsburgh, it’s as though a Shankha trumpet announces our arrival from Mount Washington, awakening my friends out of their moderate, thirtysomething lives and regressing them to their wild twenties for a weekend. Simultaneously, local pubs are warned to ready their booze-slinging A-team for the coming onslaught.

Shortly after, we arrive at my favorite pub and before I sit down at the bar there is a quadruple shot of Rumpleminz placed in front of my projected seating arrangement. Collin gives me a terrified, ‘please mommy don’t let the bad man hurt me,’ look and I respond by saying to the bartender, “Give him a Jamesons.”

Collin shoots me another, far less cuddly, glance.

I feel a trite guilty and look back at the bartender, Turner, and say, “Make it a double.”

Collin’s face goes from confused, to angry, to the look a guy gives in a slasher film right before he realizes that he should have called the police and not gone down into the incredibly creepy basement with a butterknife.

Like that man, Collin shall pay for his crimes.

If you’re familiar with the story of Brigadoon, the mythical Scottish village that awakens for one day every hundred years, then you might have some inkling of what it’s like when I return to Pittsburgh. I lived there for ten years, went to university there, bartended there, caroused there, forgot loads of important facts there, damaged my liver there, damaged others’ livers there and left.

And now, I go back once a year, and by doing so, I evoke some sort of revelous Brigadoon. 

We drink with people in their early twenties who, early on, regard us with condescending humor and later with slurred awe. We tease them with parental love and torture them with no mercy. We overrun the pub, laughing and being wittier than our prefrontal lobes should allow after this much acute damage. At one point, I purchase a waitress for $16.95, plus tax.

I lose track of Collin, who’s busy having 21-year-old girls fling themselves at him like linebackers into a tackle pad. The bartender Turner dutifully pours him enough liquor to render him as sexually useful as a dinner napkin. Even though Collin is on the Over 30 Roadtrip, he is not over 30, and you pay a price for being under 30 at this bar, this night.

Hints of our age do sneak in, on occasion. There are tales of births, pictures of kids, mortgage complaints, career goals, honeymoons, bragging of report cards. There are aching backs stretched and heartburn pills taken. There is an entire hour devoted to woe of the hemorrhoid. 

Nevertheless, we laugh and tell old, finely-tuned tales of drinking benders, near arrests and glorious debauchery. For this weekend, we have stopped being teachers and doctors, writers and managers.

On Monday morning, Jason goes back to teach summer school, Amie goes back to her marketing firm, Meghan finishes an article for a magazine, Glenn goes back to the Clinic, Jake is up at four a.m. for a delivery, Jimmie becomes a restaurant manager again.  

Twentysomething Brigadoon is asleep for another year.

As if to augment this fact, I am tortured with a five-hour rainstorm on my journey back home and back to the real world.

Your favorite Brigadoon weekend?

  1. #1 by Jenna on July 28, 2011 - 3:59 pm

    I miss Fuel. you taught me how to get drunk before night class there.

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