Drinking Round the World

 

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This is what Epcot looks like when you pass out in the parking lot

Epcot is one of the few Disney establishments I like. It’s got nothing to do with what they offer. Nope, when you pay the $100 cover charge to get into Epcot, you’re mainly paying to get into a bunch of gift shops with equally overpriced crap. It’s not their rides. The one I did go on managed to combine my two most hated things; Martin Short and Canada.

It was like the “It’s a small world” ride at Disney, only far more boring and twice as annoying.

So despite the annoying merchandizing, shitty rides and foreign tourists, I still manage to like Epcot. Know why?

Drinking around the world, motherfuckers.

See Epcot has cashed in on the one thing adults like when they’re forced to go to a Disney Park. Alcohol. No joke, I will tolerate endless amounts of Jasmine and Nemo, provided I’m allowed to get loaded in the process. And in Epcot, they offer something amazing.

The ability to drink in every last country that they’ve created based on an Americanized stereotype.

japan epcot

So the opportunity to both get super wasted and be offensive to foreigners in one fell swoop? Consider me in. Well played Epcot. Well played.

Anywho, we started off in Canada. As I’d been drinking heavily the night before, my brother became concerned as I developed the sweats while chugging a very heavy Moosehead Ale. But he had no idea. I was simply getting my early second wind.

See, me and my brother, we’re about as different as two people could be. He’s a republican. I’m a paranoid libertarian. He has a real job where he’s important and takes phone calls on the weekend. I would be both shocked and horrified if any one of my clients called me on the weekend. He’s a clean freak and I’m pretty sure I’ve grown a new form of bacteria in my toilet. He’s a health nut who regularly goes to the gym.

The last time I went to the gym was March of 2013. I needed to use their vitamin water machine to get something to mix with my booze.

So being the healthy, trim dude he is, it’s completely reasonable that he thought he’d be able to out drink me through 13 countries. What he didn’t get was 13 drinks isn’t really a challenge to me.

I call that Tuesday.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I treat my body like a temple. And by temple, I mean one of those wild, drunken orgy bathhouses in ancient Rome. I can’t remember the last time I actually ate solid food.   When I did, I assume it was some kind of fried meat. I don’t do vegetables. As far as I’m concerned, vegetables are nothing more than the product I use to lure my meat into a fryer.

As a result, my body adapts. My shriveled, probably green liver, isn’t even part of the process anymore. The booze goes right to my stomach, then slides its way into my bladder thanks to a heavy coating of cholesterol.

It’s important to have a system.

Anyway, we made it through all the countries in Epcot before passing out on the ground near the giant golf ball. At that point, I led him out to the parking lot to find our mom’s car.

You ever heard of the blind leading the blind? Well, this was the drunk leading the drunk. My brother passed out in a parking spot as I wandered like Mad Max leaving Thuderdome until I wound up in a Wet & Wild Parking lot about 4 miles away…where I led a small nation of people who had also lost their cars forever.

After about two hours of drunk wandering, I finally found our car…about 3 spaces from where my brother passed out in the first place.

So I did the reasonable thing. I loaded his ass into the back seat, peed behind the back tire, and called our mom to take us home.

Because drinking around the world is no joke. It’s hard. Going in there unprepared is a bit like attempting to run the Boston Marathon after one spinning class.

You can’t just jump into that shit. Your body needs practice. You need to know if you’re ready

Here’s a test to help you decide;

  1. Have you ever drunk mouthwash after you ran out of beer?
    1. Yes
    2. No
  2. Do you consume more than four drinks a week?
    1. Yes
    2. No
  3. After a heavy night of drinking, have you ever woken up and used more alcohol as any ‘eye opener”?
    1. Yes
    2. No

Ok, so those questions? Copied off of a “do you need AA” website. If you answered all yesses, I’ve got good news and bad news. Bad news first; you’re probably an alcoholic.

Good news? You can totally handle drinking around the world.

Rock on Epcot, rock on.

 

 

 

 

 

So You’re Moving to Florida…

In about a month, I will be leaving Florida to take on the great, classy city of Las Vegas. I get the urge to change states every 4 years or so to outrun all my warrants take in new scenery.

Anyway, most of the people you will meet in Florida are transplants. In the years I have been living here, I have only met 1 or 2 ‘born and bred’ Floridians. Everyone else came from freezing cold states, and were lured here with the promise of eternal summer.

I have to agree that the weather is beautiful. As most of my friends are shoveling out their driveway, I sit here in flip flops and complain when the weather gets below 60.

But there are a few things that I wish someone had told me when I first moved, and now I’m going to share those things with you.

#1. Only hookers wear panty hose in the Sunshine State.

With weather that tops 100 on a daily basis, and an average 90% humidity rate, most people are practical enough to forgo an extra layer of nylon covering when they go out. The ones who don’t are the ladies who need to hide their varicose veins and track marks. Unless you’re looking to get solicited by a car full of college boys, leave the tights and pantyhose at home.

Seems weird that the people who wear the most pantyhose are also the ones who need to take it off the most.

Seems weird that the people who wear the most pantyhose are also the ones who need to take it off the most.

#2. Never trust the outside appearance of a neighborhood

As an apartment dweller, I’ve always been careful to avoid places with bars on the windows or mattresses in the yard. But Florida landlords are getting wise to that and now slap enough window dressing on any apartment complex to fool prospective tenants into moving into a ghetto neighborhood.

17 inch Kobe rims on a $900 car? Why the hell not...

17 inch Kobe rims on a $900 car? Why the hell not…

How to avoid it? When looking for a place to live, don’t look at the landscaping in the complex. Look at the cars in the parking lot. If you spot more than one 1998 Corolla with window tint, spinning rims and a stereo system that Blue Books for more than the car is worth, move on.

#3. There is no such thing as an ‘outdoor’ pet.

You won’t see a lot of stray cats roaming the neighborhoods in Florida. Here, stray cats are alligator food and they will not last very long. The only people who leave their animals outside in Florida are the meth dealers who need to leave their Rottweilers outside to protect their meth labs.

Believe it or not, this story has a happy ending.

Believe it or not, this story has a happy ending.

#4. Rudeness saves lives

Florida comes in at a hefty third place, right behind California and New York, for the most victims of serial killers. Remember these two words; Fuck ‘em.

But you only get the free candy if you help him find his lost puppy...

But you only get the free candy if you help him find his lost puppy…

A person broken down on the side of the road and they’re trying to flag you to stop? Fuck ‘em. A person knocking on your door looking for their lost dog? Fuck ‘em. A person in a cast wants help carrying their groceries? Fuck ‘em.

Yeah, I know it sounds terrible, but I don’t care. I’d rather a stranger think I’m rude than some Buffalo Bill nut job think I’m an easy target.

#5. ‘Palmetto bug’ is Floridian for ‘creepy assed flying cockroach’.

A Palmetto bug, aka the Periplaneta Americana, is a member of the arthropoda phylum and resembles a cockroach with the same approximate size as a small dog. While they do not bite, the first time you have one fly into your face in retaliation for spraying it with Raid, expect to be scarred for life. I’m not fucking around people. It will haunt you to your grave.

They can survive a nuclear holocaust…and they can fly. We are all fucked.

They can survive a nuclear holocaust…and they can fly. We are all fucked.

#6. Manatees do not exist

I think they are some kind of fake endangered species made up by a corrupt Florida official in order to get government funds for preservation. While I have no statistical proof, I can tell you that I have been to 3 manatee festivals and have yet to see one actual live manatee.

Essa hasn’t seen it = Doesn’t exist

Essa hasn’t seen it = Doesn’t exist

#7. All your neighbors will be nuts.

Again, something about the heat drives people nuts here. In my short time in my middle class apartment I’ve seen;

  • A guy try to light his girlfriend’s place on fire…while completely nude
  • A high speed chase, ending in a police standoff in my neighborhood, where the man claimed to be receiving secret messages from the children’s show “Yo Gabba Gabba.”
  • An invitation to join a cult
  • Another note telling me I’m going to hell for not joining said cult
  • A bronies convention (Google it)
  • A six foot red headed Asian woman with 6 toes on her right foot, who will gladly show the mutation to anyone for $1

If you don’t have any crazy neighbors in your Florida neighborhood, guess what? You are the crazy neighbor.

Florida has been fun, and it’s given me a lot of material, but its time to move on. For anyone about to move to “The Penis of America” (<- slogan is copyright of Essa Alroc) , I hope my guide will prepare you for what is sure to be a memorable stay.

Essa’s Adventures – “Bienvenue” is French for “Trees Outnumber People 500 to 1”

Whenever you cross a border into New Hampshire, you’ll usually see a “Bienvenue” welcome sign. Those welcome signs will probably be the most exotic things you will see in New Hampshire.

"Live Free or Die"...because "Famous Potatoes" was already taken.

“Live Free or Die”…because “Famous Potatoes” was already taken.

I’ve been living the simple life for 12 hours so far and I have another 12 to go. Here’s a listing of things I’ve learned about the simple life.

  • Simple involves walking a quarter mile to the bathroom, because the septic system only gets pumped once a month at the camp.
  • Simple involves repeatedly stabbing myself with a fish hook, to catch a meal that I could usually buy  pre-gutted and pre-breaded at the supermarket
  • Simple involves spending all day chopping wood to heat your home, rather than just flicking a switch on a thermostat.
  • Simple involves traveling 5 miles to a local Dunkin Donuts, so I can latch onto the one hotspot in town, so my clients don’t fire my simple ass.

In short, the simple life is a fuckload of complicated.

I spend my day in town, shopping at ‘general stores’ that only sell specialty items and ‘5 and Dimes” where everything costs 29.99. During my time out, I’m treated with a level of politeness usually only reserved for foreign dignitaries.

A jeeps full of hippies, decked out in Grateful Dead bears, tries to pick me up as I’m sitting at a picturesque picnic table, chain smoking.  They’re surprisingly cute and I realize they wouldn’t be bothered by my stretch marks. In fact, they’d probably be impressed that I had all my original teeth.

In the kingdom of the fours, the ‘sober 6, drunk 7’ is Queen.

I return to my mom’s place. Tomorrow, I’m flying out of Manchester airport. I’m arriving about 2 hours early, so the security goat will have time to decide if I’m evil or not.

I don’t mind New England. It’s not a terrible place. The people are friendly, most of the guys are taller than me, and apparently, they love smokers here. Both nicotine smokers and anything else. But this is not the place for me.

I need a loud city, where its too damn hot all the time, and occasionally, a naked man holds up a convenience store. I miss uninterrupted wi-fi, 24 hour delivery, buying my oranges from an off-ramp and buying my hair from India.

I miss black people.

I know Florida isn’t the safest place, I know that the people can be crazy, the crime rate is high, and the economy is shit but I can’t help but love it. Florida gives me more inspiration than any other place ever has.  The laid back lifestyle of the north could never offer me that, unless I was into writing stories about Moose.

Most of my books are over the top fiction. I have people who take advice from Gary Busey hallucinations. I have diamond smuggling and alpaca theft. I even have rats with radio transmitters in their heads. Sometimes, I get called out for being too ‘over the top’ or ‘unrealistic’, but people, where the hell do you think I’m getting this shit from? I might have a vivid imagination, but I also have eyes that open.

Where else but a city could I,

  • See a drag queen steal a wheel chair. She was racing down the street, looking behind her. I remember wondering why, as I was pretty sure the person she stole it from couldn’t pursue her.
  • Get invited to become part of a three way couple at a gays only leather bar.
  • Be involved in a car accident with a drunken clown.
  • Get offered a job as a drug mule at an unemployment office.

I’ve only been in New Hampshire one day, but that one day is enough to tell me that I just don’t belong anymore. Yeah, the crime rates are lower and it’s fun being the hottest girl in town, but that kind of fun wears off.

There’s a problem with small towns that people just don’t see unless they live there. The only way to explain it is to give some advice from a magician I met once.

“Never sit in the front row. You’ll be able to see the smoke and mirrors and it will ruin the illusion. If you truly want to be amazed, then the back seats are actually the best seats.”

From the outside looking in, you see the quaintness of it all. It always looks a little like a Rockwell painting.  But on the inside, you see the seedy underbelly that is a small town. You see the bigotry and the meth labs. You see the lack of opportunity and the big business monopolies. A small town is a lot like a person who says one thing, but does another.

At least cities are honest. My neighbors don’t give a shit about me and I don’t give a shit about them. Just a few days ago, I found out the guy I’ve been calling Todd for the past year is actually named Tom.  I didn’t apologize and he didn’t care. We don’t need to fake it because we’re city people and we don’t care what strangers think about us.

As I board a plane back to Florida, there’s a small part of me that is taken in by the romantic notion of living as a solitary writer in a little mountain shack. Then I shake my head. Who the fuck do I think I am? Thoreau?

Hell no. I’m Essa Alroc and I write stories, not literature. And those stories are often loosely based on real life events that I’ve witnessed.

And only in the city can I get a front row seat.

***Updated to add a welcome back gift from my friend and fellow comedic blogger, Mr. Tom Nardone***

tom nardone

 

Essa’s Adventures – The Road Virus Heads North

You know those fish-out-of water stories? The city girl who returns to her roots, has some wackyness and shenanigans ensue, and comes out of it all wiser and forgiving? By returning to her roots, she learns to be a better person and eventually decides to move back home to make the world a better place. You know, that super inspirational, ‘small town girl makes good’ stuff?

Yeah, this isn’t going to be one of those stories.

I’m at approximately thirty thousand feet in the air and I’m watching a group of women with headscarves suspiciously. I’m trying not to look like I’m suspicious of them. I’m trying to be all cool an PC, but I can’t help but being a little freaked out.

What can I say? I’m a little bit of a racial profiler. Especially at airports.

They turn around and I’m a little relieved that they’re white, but now I’m confused. Are they Amish? Are Amish people allowed to ride on airplanes? I start to Google that, then I realize the random dude behind me is trying to read over my shoulder. I decide to bump my font size to help him out.

Shit, I hope that guy behind me with the weirdly small mustache, in the striped shirt, doesn’t know about the coke in my rectum. I might have to kill this dude in the bathroom. I’m going to try and see if I can make a shank out of these nail clippers that they let me bring on the plane. I’ll turn around to flirt with him, then try to lure him to the bathroom with me so I can stab him in his jugular.

I turn around to wink at the guy. He immediately looks down and learns to mind his business.

Ok, good, now that that guy is gone, let me get back to the story. I’m going to pick up my son. He went to visit his grandma for a week in New Hampshire. This is where I was born. I was brought up in a small little town of around 9000. Everyone in the town was French Canadian and most of the kids learned how to swear in French earlier on, from their parents.

The area that I’m from is very blue collar. Everyone works in the woods, and all there is is friggen woods. And it was always fucking cold. Seriously, even as I’m looking outside in June, I can see snow.

This is where I sent my son for a week. I don’t know why, maybe I was mad at him.

I arrive at the Manchester airport and it’s one of the smallest airports I’ve even seen. I literally walk down a short hallway, down one flight of stairs and I’m out of the airport. Security is a card table and a goat chewing on a plastic bottle. The townspeople say that he can tell if someone is evil just by looking at them. That’s why they hired him.

Ok, so it’s not that bad, but you get my drift.

Everyone nods and smiles at me as I walk out of the airport, and people keep starting conversations.

I’m not used to this. In Florida, everyone avoids eye contact and niceness is treated with suspicion. Why? Because serial killers always start out by being nice. We have no shortage of those in Florida.

Here, no one is nice to me because they hope to trick me into getting into their car so they can turn me into a skin suit. They seem to genuinely care if I’m ‘having a nice day’. A man attempts to help me with my bag and I rip it out of his hands, nearly hissing as I do. He smiles, apologizes, and wishes me a nice day.

This place is weird. I immediately head to the smoking enclosure and it is the most beautiful smoking section I’ve seen in a long time. Hell, not since I was in France.

It’s heated. Its the only heated enclosure out here and I’m amazed. Apparently, they love smokers in New Hampshire. People start conversations with me as I wait for my ride. I’m not sure how to respond so I chain smoke and make comments about the weather. Finally, my mom’s car pulls up.

I see my son in the passenger seat…and yes, my son rides in the passenger seat of most vehicles. He’s 11, but he’s also 5’4 and 110 pounds. My Northcountry genes pulled through on that one. I gave birth to a giant.

He hugs me. “I miss technology” he hisses in my ear.

“Soon son, soon….” The drive to where I’m going is about an hour and a half from the airport. Manchester is actually a major metropolitan area in NH. I still have quite a while to go before I reach my destination…in the damn woods. All the houses are tiny and everyone’s nearest neighbor is 10 minutes away. It’s about 60 degrees, but I’m shivering like it’s 20 below. People should not be forced to live like this.

The car pulls onto a two lane highway, and I steel myself for the adventure that is sure to lie ahead.

To be continued…

Fuck it, I’ll Walk

Airlines are getting away with way too much in the country. They continuously treat their customers like shit, expose people to invasive exams, get bailed out from the government, and time and time again, they get away with it.

Why? Because people say, ‘well, if you’re going to fly, you need to deal with it.’ Fuck that. I’m calling bullshit.

Why? Because running an airline is a business, people. They need your money. Correct me if I’m wrong,  but is there not a single ‘not-for-profit’ airline. They’re not flying people around out of the goodness of their hearts. They’re doing it to make money…YOUR MONEY. And if they are going to do it, the least they could do it treat it like a business and not the fucking DMV.

It’s not ok that they drag disabled 12 year olds through exams and make them cry. It’s not ok that they yank someone’s fucking colostomy back out in front of 200 strangers. It’s not ok that they lock a plane full of passengers down for fucking 18 hours with overflowing toilets. But they seem to think its ok.

You know why they think its ok? Because we tolerate it. And that is just not ok.

In March of 2012, a federal court overturned a New York law that required airlines to provide adequate food, water and clean bathrooms to passengers stuck on planes for over three hours before takeoff.

You know what Essa Alroc does if someone holds her on a plane with no food, no water, and no bathroom, for three hours? She doesn’t take her problem to federal court. She lights a cigarette and punches a stewardess in the fucking throat. Instant arrest and instant release from said plane. Done.

Federal court, you don’t get to tell me that a company that I paid to provide me with a service gets to instead hold me against my will and refuse me water and food. You wanna play that game? Let me break out another game for you. It’s called civil disobedience and I am incredibly good at it.

Best part? Come my court case, I’m walking.  Why? Because a jury of my peers, in an Orlando court, is guaran-fucking-teed to hate every airline with a hub in this area.

I’m pissed off tonight because my mother just got back from a week long trip to Illinois. She flew on American Airlines*. Guess how good they did on a scale of one to ten? If you’re answer was negative four, you might be in the ball park.

I know they don’t have any control over acts of god. Yes, weather will turn bad, planes will get damaged. They might not have control over the weather and over unfortunate set backs.

They do have control over how they react to it. To date, their reaction has been piss poor.

When my mom’s plane hit turbulence and was damaged, they were forced to divert from Orlando to Tampa for repairs. Understandable. What isn’t understandable is how they handled it. First, they lied.

“Sorry folks, we just need to gas up in the Tampa hub but we’ll be on our way in minutes.”

Gas up with a plane full of passengers on-board, at a takeoff gate? Really? Correct me if I’m wrong (really, correct me, I could be wrong. I didn’t research this), but are they allowed to fill a plane with highly flammable jet fuel with a plane full of passengers on board? Seems to me that it if I can’t bring a fucking bottle of water past security, they shouldn’t be able to spray down a plane with highly flammable fuel while my mother is on-board.

That’s just me though. I really like my mother and I would hate to see her exploded.

Next, American Airline’s flopped their shitcan of a plane on the ground and told everyone the plane was broken. Had my mother known that the plane was broken, and not just out of gas, she might have called the daughter that drove 45 minutes to pick her up and was waiting in a cell phone lot. No, instead, the ‘ten minutes’ turned into ‘we’re going to bus you all to Orlando, it will only take an hour’.

Another outright lie. Tampa to Orlando is a two hour minimum trip. How do I know? My weed connection is in Tampa. I make the trip on average every two weeks. Driving my standard 111 MPH, I’m lucky to make the trip in 2 hours.

How do I know it was an outright lie and not a mistake?

These people are in the travel business. They know that Tampa to Orlando is 105 miles. Unless they have a bus that is capable of traveling 105 MPH, they told an outright lie. They told an outright lie to passengers.

And then they ignored them.

Following the plane fiasco, everyone was told to go downstairs to wait for they’re bags so THEY could get them and load them on the bus. When the fuck did my barely 5 foot, less than 130 pound mother, get a job as a day laborer on American Airlines? She paid for them to handle her bags, not the other way around.

Unless my mother is a thundercloud, and I’m pretty sure she’s not, she didn’t break the plane. It was not her job to go get her bag and load it onto the shitty American Airline bus.

Also, not really buses. You ever seen an airport shuttle? One of them short buses that looks like a box truck? Apparently, my mother was supposed to ride one of those death traps for two hours on a road that was once labeled “America’s Bloodiest Highway.”

During this entire fiasco, not one representative showed up to explain what was going on.  Instead, a bunch of confused passengers were shuttled from room to room, being lied to, ignored, and outright treated like stupid sheep because apparently American Airlines owns the fucking sky and they can do that.

My mother was not offered a discount. She was not offered a voucher for a free meal. Instead, she took $50 out of her own pocket to get a rental car and drive home. I imagine right now, there are still a bunch of passengers who didn’t get rental cars waiting for some disembodied voice at a gate to tell them what’s going on.

Fuck you American Airlines. Would you treat someone you loved like that? Then how dare you treat my mother like that?

Enough is enough. These companies are in the business of making money. They are not flying people from place to place because they’re nice. They are a customer service business and they need to start acting like it. We don’t need to tolerate this shit because we have no choice. We do have a choice. It’s called civil disobedience.

I’m tired of rude ticket cashiers. I’m tired of rude security guards. “Oh, your job is hard. Life is fucking hard. Deal with it.” That’s what I say to people who bitch about working at the airport. Did Essa Alroc show up at your house and demand that you work at an airport? No? You elected to work at an airport? Then act like you care about your job, and not like you’re a fucking WalMart cashier.

I’m done behaving in airports. I have no fear of getting arrested. I’m pretty sure we all know that’s happened before. When I go to an airport, and plunk down $700 for a two hour trip, you will treat me with fucking respect. You will do the job that I paid you to do and if for some reason, you decide not to, I will scream. I will yell and I will fucking demand to be treated with respect. Have your air marshals walk me out if you want, but I’m hoping the passengers behind me get the message.

Fight back, because you tell people how they will treat you. Not the other way around.

I can tell you why you’re going bankrupt, American Airlines. Because you allow your employees to behave like assholes. They are in the business of customer service. That means serving customers. They don’t want to do that, fire them. Also, stop giving your executives bonuses. I think they’ve proven that they’re fucking morons. Hence the whole bankruptcy thing.

Until you all start remembering that the people who pay you outrageous fares are the people lining your pockets, fuck off American Airlines. I’d rather walk.

*Name not changed. Fuck you American Airlines