Thursday, January 7, 2016

Dear America, Get it Together

What follows is an open letter to my own beloved country.

Dear America,

Long time no see, how have you been? That's a rhetorical question, of course, because I know things are pretty shitty right now. How do I know? Well, because I have access to the Internet, so I see every last bit of soul crushing news that you can fit on a Facebook timeline or a Foreign Policy article. Mass shootings seem to be a weekly event, cops can't seem to stop killing unarmed people of color, and, in case you haven't noticed, the leading candidate for president from one of our two political parties is an openly racist, misogynistic megalomaniac that looks like a condom full of orange juice. 

I tried to make an important point there; we only have TWO PARTIES. This guy isn't vying to represent some tiny, ultra-right wing party in a Bulgarian parliamentary election, he is trying to represent half of the party system of the ENTIRE UNITED STATES.

You know, all this wouldn't be so hard to bear, seeing as I don't live in the U.S. except for one month a year, but, as it turns out, much of the world has access to the same Internet that I mentioned earlier. You know what that means? It means they get to read the same stream of embarrassing, saddening shit that I do. It also means that, as an American, I inevitably have to answer for the all the insane things my country produces. 

In the past, I would run into the occasional anti-American classmate or stranger at a bar (usually European, go figure). They would greet my nationality as an invitation to take me (remember, to them, I am "America", not "an American") to task on whatever facet of America they most despised. Usually, it revolved around US foreign policy, or the fact that we are fat, or the fact that we produce a constant stream of mediocre media. 

Much to their surprise, I do not rip off my shirt to reveal the bald eagle tattooed on my chest, while simultaneously punching them in the face and screaming our national anthem. Instead, I calmly reply that, on the whole, I agree with them. America is not the shining beacon of light that many believe it to be. It is flawed in ways that, as a non-American, they will never understand like Americans do, much the way I will never understand China the way Chinese people do. Then we go on to discuss how things might be improved. I once spent an hour describing the inherent racism of America's justice system to a Sudanese guy, an Afghan guy and a Vietnamese guy. I am not sure how to feel about the fact that I have been told on more than one occasion that I am "not like other Americans". The implicit meaning being that "other Americans" are loud, ignorant and arrogant.

Thing is though, that interaction is changing in both frequency and tone. I am getting less "Oh, America is great!" or "I would love to go there some day!" and more "Why do you guys keep shooting each other?", or "Did you here that horrible thing (insert Republican presidential candidate name here) said about (Muslims, minorities, women, etc.)?". 

My point is, some time in the last year, America's image in my neck of the woods started to go down the toilet. Don't get me wrong, we are still the stuff of dreams for many of my classmates. I live in a dorm with people from more than 90 countries, and many of them would love to live in America. But every time they here about another black man being shot by white cops, or a politician suggesting we round up Muslims, America loses a little bit of its shine. Sure, Donald will eventually crash and burn, but the damage has already been done. 

I work tirelessly to represent my country in a positive way. I am as polite and well-spoken as I can muster, because I know that for many of these people, I am the only American they know. That is a small burden, but it seems to be getting heavier and heavier with every passing year.

So, America, please, for the sake of people those of us who aren't home to take care it ourselves, get your shit together. 



Thursday, August 6, 2015

No, she is not my girlfriend

Some of you may be aware that I chose to forgo a career enhancing internship opportunity this summer in favor of a less practical option, traveling to Kuala Lampur and Bali. Well, two weeks and one iPhone 5S later (more on that later), I can honestly say that I made the right choice.

I don't come from a "vacation family." The Robertsons are not known for jetting off to the Caribbean, or hitting the slopes in Colorado. No, our vacations consisted mostly of 13 hour drives to Canandaigua, NY to visit family and swim in gramma's pool or heading an hour north to Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia, and I'm honestly OK with that. I never felt like I was missing out on anything. Plus, I can't stand the ocean.

Pop quiz:

  1. Which body of water will make you vomit if you swallow so much as a mouthful of it?
  2. Which body of water contains multitudes of animals that could either kill or maim you? 
  3. Which body of water promises to fill every crevice of your being with sand for the rest of time?

The answer to all these questions is the ocean. Take me to a lake any day.

We had originally hoped to have a four person party on this trip, but two people had to drop out, leaving just my friend Natalia and I. This proved to be a running problem for us during this trip, as every taxi driver, hotel clerk and stranger on the street was absolutely convinced we were a couple. I became quite used to creating awkward situations with the phrase, "No, she is not my girlfriend."

The trip began July 10 with our flight to Kuala Lampur, Malaysia (I've chosen to skip the ticket buying process, because I don't have enough electronic ink to describe how stressful it is to buy tickets through Chinese websites). Nothing interesting to report other than how strange it feels to go to a country where you do not speak the language.

I realize this might sounds ridiculous coming from someone that already lives in central China, but it's far from the same thing. I long ago grew comfortable with the fact that, push comes to shove, I'll be able to communicate in China. Here, I am more than just a tourist, or at least I don't feel like a tourist. I speak the language, I understand basic cultural norms and that seems to afford me some level of dignity.

In Malaysia and Indonesia, however, I am no better than the next stupid tourist, walking around hoping to find someone that speaks English to help me find a bathroom. I felt helpless in a way that I sincerely did not appreciate. It should be noted that English is prevalent in both nations to a degree that astonished this Chinese immigrant. For example, I had a fascinating conversation with a Malaysian taxi driver who used to train bomb sniffing dogs in Virginia. Try having a conversation in English with a taxi driver in Beijing. You can't.

Our first day of actual sightseeing brought us to the world's largest free-flying aviary. In other words, lots of birds there. All jokes aside, it was a pretty amazing place, and the animals were beautiful, when they weren't pooping on you from the trees (you know I can't put aside jokes for more that one sentence at a time).

I met a friend
Our next stop was the adjacent exhibit of the legendary mouse deer. OK, maybe legendary isn't the right word, but they are pretty great. My pictures of them suck, but the internet has my back.

Was I right, or was I right?
The following day we visited Batu Caves. I normally prefer to avoid super touristy spots. Living in China, I see enough people as it is, so the idea of cramming my way into another subway car or bus to visit a site that ten million people a year come to see doesn't really get my juices flowing. This trip, however, taught me that sometimes these sites are popular for a reason. Take these caves, for instance. They are stunning, not only for their natural beauty, but for the human creations that surround them. Again, my photos sucks and/or were killed by the ocean (Sorry, we're still not to that part of the story), so I have raided Google images.

As you can imagine, it's far more impressive in person. If they'd let me, I would spend the night in there. Except for the monkeys, which are scary.

You might be saying, "But, Ethan, they are so cute! Look at it eat that juice box!"

Sure, but he stole that juice box, and probably from a child! Somewhere, there is a child crying, wishing they still had a juice box. So if you like monkeys, you must hate children. You should be ashamed of yourself. Plus, they have sharp, scary teeth. Need I say more?

Our final day was spent in the central market buying gifts, which, for obvious reasons, I will not discuss here.  Stay tuned for the next installment, when we head to Bali, Indonesia.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

How to cure a cold in China

So I found myself feeling a bit sick last night. There's been a cold bug going around and I have been thoroughly bitten. So, what does a young man living in China do when he thinks he's getting sick? It's simple, really; you gather together all the drugs you can from around the world and take as many as humanly possible.

 Last night, I took a yellow pill from Poland about the size of fist.

 "Be careful," my friend warned me, "you might get a little dizzy when you take it."

Duly noted. I followed that up this morning with two more of those pills. Unfortunately, I misread that same friends text message. This is what I read:

"Better take two of my pills AND mix it with other medicine."

Here is what she actually said:

"Better to take two of my pills THAN mix it with other medicine."

So I of course took two more Tylenol Cold and Flu pills left over from when I took my friend to the hospital here in Wuhan. So far I am feeling a bit light headed, but alive. The back of the box has a word that looks a lot like pseudoephedrine, so I'm going to assume that's what it is. In addition, I took some vitamin pills that my Irish friend got from a Korean classmate.

"These are vitamin C pills," she said, "At least that's what I think they are. I'm not sure what is in them, but she said something about vitamins when she gave them to me."

They tasted slightly like citrus, so the theory seems to hold weight. If these don't work, I can always get the mother of the girl I tutor to give me some traditional Chines medicine. If my experience is anything to go by, it will look like dried roots and taste like dirt and licorice. Can't wait.  

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A Very Wuhan Christmas (and New Year)

Yep, definitely dropped the ball on the whole one post a week thing. Oh well.

So it's the holidays, even on this side of the planet, so I have a few new experiences to report. The first of which is what it's like to spend Christmas away from home. I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't all that dramatic. I certainly missed my family and friends at this point, thinking often of the various traditions that accompany the holiday season. Oh, and the food, God I missed the food. But I didn't fall into a deep depression and stay in my room crying and trying to make homemade eggnog.

The atmosphere around China certainly helped with that. For those of you wondering if your average Chinese citizen celebrates Christmas, the answer is yes, but also no. You see, China has adopted Christmas in its most secular, commercialized form. Christmas trees? Check. Christmas lights? Check. Any mention of Jesus' birth? Conspicuously absent. Christmas in China is basically another excuse to go shopping. I think it's kind of fantastic, in the unadulterated capitalistic sort of way, but it does lack the jovial spirit of an American Christmas. It left me feeling a bit cold to be honest.

Luckily, my Christmas festivities were much more enjoyable. A few friends and I organized a secret Santa gift exchange. Of course two hours after picking names out of a hat, everybody knew who was buying them their present, which kind of defeats the purpose. At least I had a pretty great gift (got my friend a rockin' pair of superman underwear, going to have to go back and get myself some as well). Christmas day we all went out out for dinner. The original plan was to go to KTV as a group, but half our party was way too tired, so in the end it was a ragtag group of four that made it there; me, an Irishman, a Chinese guy and a Polish girl. If that sounds like the set up to a bad joke, I agree.

KTV, perhaps more than any other activity, relies heavily on the attitudes of its participants. If you can find a group of people that really want to have a good time and aren't worried about looking like an ass while they do it, it's going to be amazing. But if you have just one person that sits there and judges everyone, it will be awful, truly awful. Thankfully, this group was here to make this a memorable Christmas. I can't fully describe what transpired in that room, but we sang for at least four hours. We're talking duets, solos, barbershop quartets, everything. You name it, we did it. At some point my Irish friend decided he was very hot, and got into his underwear. This only added to the atmosphere. It was a Christmas I will not soon forget.

It should be noted that we did not enjoy any time off from classes during this break. The Christmas break part of Christmas didn't make it over, I'm sad to say. But we coped, mostly by not actually going to class. I am a studious man, just not on during the holidays.

Unfortunately, New Years did not bring the same level of enjoyment as Christmas. A couple hours of drinking in anticipation of the night out was followed by boring time passed at bars that I barely remember, and not because I drank that much. Of course, I'm old now, or at least my body thinks it is, so I woke up the next day feeling like I had headbutted a train. This lead to much introspection on why I drink alcohol in excess the first place, but that's for another post.

Now I find myself somewhat hungover from the holidays that weren't really holidays. All I can think about now is that I'm less than 21 days from being home. I am a week away from my final exams and I can't say I'm especially excited about it. Here's to hoping that I can bring it all together for a beautiful finish.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Since last we spoke

I remember when I started this blog that I had every intention of writing at least one post a week, but somewhere between memorizing hundreds of new Chinese words and watching Guardians of the Galaxy twice in one day, I kind of lost track of it. So here I am, ready to make up for my absence. By my calculations it has been about two months since my last post, so I'll start by trying to cover what happened in that time.

In a word, turmoil. No there hasn't been any earthquakes or peasant uprisings, this is the more subtle, internal turmoil. I have had more existential crisis in the last two months than in my previous 23 years combined. I told this to multiple people, somewhat jokingly, but it's completely true. My time in Wuhan has caused me to question my entire life plan, my commitment to Chinese and my understanding of who I am. Remember when I wrote that somewhat obnoxious initial post about how I will eventually laugh at this blog, how evolving is the best thing that you can do to become a better person? Well, I failed to remember that change is often accompanied by many stressful nights laying in bed wondering what exactly I have gotten myself into.

Don't get me wrong, Wuhan has been great. You can scroll down and see I have made some amazing friends, seen beautiful places and experienced wonderful things. But I am far from fulfilled. I have never in my life had so much trouble motivating myself to get things done. Part of the problem is the difference in teaching styles between the US and China. Whereas I have become accustomed to homework assignments, quizzes and a multitude of tests each semester to gauge my progress, the Chinese have a more relaxed system. There are only two real grades for the semester, a midterm and a final. The impetus to study and prepare for those tests is on you. The teacher will not force you to do anything, you have to create your own regiment to study by.

This problem is rather simple to solve; you just work harder. But a simple problem isn't necessarily an easy one. In fact, this might be the most difficult problem I have encountered in my academic career. Never have I felt this much weight on my shoulders, yet have no idea how to relieve it. I am a goal oriented person, I need steps to track my progress and know I am on the right path. Here, I have none of that. So I must create my own path. Trouble is, I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE TO START. So instead of working my ass off and learning the Chinese I need to, I feel like I'm treading water.

Put simply, I need to find the old Ethan. The kid that filled notebook after notebook practicing characters, the one that would walk down the street mumbling Chinese to himself like a schizophrenic. I have improved in almost every way over that kid, but he sure as hell loved Chinese. That is what I am truly searching for, my passion for this language, the thing that let me spend all those hours studying instead of watching TV or reading inane internet articles.

Before anybody starts panicking, I should establish that I know this is a temporary problem. I will figure out a way to study that can help me reach my goal of Chinese fluency. Something will click into place, I just have to work hard to make it happen. Until then, I struggle on.

Oh, and I promise to post more often...maybe.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Safety is our #6 priority

Sorry it took so long to get this final day up, no doubt many of you have completely lost interest at this point. That's understandable, but hopefully I can win you back with my adventures in ignoring any pretense of safety.

Day three started with a breakfast at a restaurant/cafe called Mr. Show. It's a chain of places that offer your average selection of what China calls "Western" food. That's a loose term of course. I have yet to meet a chicken nugget or hamburger, outside of a Chinese McDonald's, that even comes close to resembling what you would get back home. Honestly, I'm fine with that. If you came to China to eat cheeseburgers, well, you're an idiot. Go home. The defining feature of the Mr. Show menu wasn't the food really, but rather the garbled English translations that could be found. About the only thing that was properly labeled was the fried fish sticks. Actually, I got the fried fish sticks, and it would probably have been more accurate to just take the word "fish" out of the name and just call them "fried sticks." Oh, and they didn't have any coffee. At 10:00 AM. At a coffee shop. China is a mysterious place.

After breakfast we took a couple taxis to our destination for the day, 小雷山, also known as Little Thunder Mountain. LTM is a scenic, if a bit touristy, spot outside of Huangshi where you can hike, swim, rent paddle boats and ride on the world's sketchiest roller coaster. More on the roller coaster in a minute. The hike up the mountain was uneventful. This wasn't what we would traditionally call hiking in the US. It wasn't trails with jagged rocks and tree roots, this was stairs, lots of stairs. But it was beautiful, and after a month of Wuhan's stellar pollution I was thoroughly enjoying some time outdoors.

Once you conquer the first part of the ascent, the fun really begins. This is where you find the roller coaster I mentioned before. 

Now, I can appreciate the views you might get from riding on this thing, but I'm not quite sure it is worth almost certain death. The best part is that the actual motions of the coaster won't kill, no it is only about 200 ft long, with three turns. Instead, the world's worst case of tetanus, courtesy of the roughly one million rusty edges that will threaten your head, neck and torso. will probably be your end. 

Moving past the death machine, we journeyed to the highest point of the mountain, the temple. But first, we had to climb about a thousand more steps. The picture below gives you an idea of how intimidating this part can be.

I chose to run up these. This lead to several minutes of contemplating the state of my mental health...

I wasn't sure that getting to the top would be worth all the effort. I was quite happy to be wrong.

You are rewarding with some pretty amazing views, and the chance to climb this beautiful tower. 

The only thing more surreal than the views was what happened at the top. Somehow my friends and I ended up sitting in a circle on the floor and singing songs from our respective countries. We're talking songs about Polish wars (according to Natalia, all Polish songs are sad and talk about war, go figure), Finnish songs, Australian drinking songs and my own offering, Burl Ives' classic "Fooba Wooba John." Can't get much more American than a nonsense folk song from 1959. Ned also sang "Big Rock Candy Mountain" about three times, because we made him do it. Mind you, we're sitting in the middle of the floor, surrounded by Chinese tourists who very much enjoyed watching the foreigners make complete asses of themselves.

Having heard how hard it was to get up this mountain, i.e. steps not trails, you won't be surprised to hear that there are faster ways to get to the bottom than your own two feet. Namely, zip line and slide.

The zip line was about as sketchy as they come. No high tech safety equipment here, people. Just a rusty harness held together by your own sense of indestructibility. I added to the danger by filming my trip down. I would describe my phone holding technique as a death grip. See that video here.

Upon landing, I explained to the men that I had "smashed my eggs." They thought this was very funny. Follow this link to see what happened when Bobby got stuck 20 feet from the landing pad.

 Our pursuit of near death experiences was not over, however, as we still had to take the slide down to the bottom. The common thread between these two conveyances is that they would never be allowed to exist in the United States, aside from in some redneck's homemade carnival.

 Like the zip line, this slide is probably not what you were picturing. Here are is a short list of materials that would have been safer and less painful to use than the polished marble that was employed in the construction of this slide:

1) Plastic
2) Fiber glass
3) Felt
4) Some plastic garbage bags laid end to end
5) Stadium stairs
6) A sheer drop with a thin mattress at the bottom

The slide was divided into three sections. The first section was my most painful, thanks to the turn that came right about when you reached top speed. Note the lack of banking on the sides, replaced instead with 90 degree angles. That meant you didn't so much turn as you did bang off the wall like in a pin ball machine. Most of us took the impact with our hips, but I put my arm down hoping to cushion the blow. This resulted in a pretty sweet marble burn, something I did not know existed until that moment It's currently turning into a nice pink scar.

The fatal flaw in this design was really the roof that covered it. Due to said roof, you were unable to see how long of a run-off you had before the slide ended. That was especially scary on section two, a straight drop to a flat section about 6 feet long. That gave you approximately .5 seconds to slow yourself or you would fly off the end into a set of concrete stairs. We all managed to escape that part alive, but Robyn almost took out Bobby at the knees when she came off the slide doing roughly Mach 2.  Section three was a downhill followed by a flat and another down hill. I caught about a foot of air, but managed not to have to use the landing zone at the bottom. That safety feature consisted of a mat stuffed with what must have been plastic bags and a cargo net to run into

All the zip lining and beautiful views was great, but the true highlight of this trip happened in the last five minutes. As we tried to leave, a group of Chinese people begged us to take pictures with them. This resulted in what you see below, culminating in the picture of me and my Chinese family.

That night we had dinner at a beautiful little restaurant at the bottom of the mountain, then went home and sat around in the hotel room, too tired to do anything else.

Our final half day was a great way to end. We met Bobby's family at a Sichuanese place where we ate a good deal of frog legs and chicken feet. I was also drunk on Chinese rice liquor at around 1:00 in the afternoon. This was not by choice, but necessity. When the chief of police (Bobby's dad's friend from school) asks you to drink with him, you damn well drink. Hopefully I will never have to call on him for help, but know he'll remember me if I do.

Two hours later we caught a train to Wuhan (standing ticket, of course). It's been a month since this trip and I am still processing just how crazy it really was. So far I've only figured out that I loved it. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

$300 of salmon

Huangshi is built around Cihu Lake, a beautiful, if a bit polluted body of water where we found ourselves eating breakfast/lunch on day two. The restaurant of choice that morning was a Sichuanese place that, like Milton Park from the night before, was owned by Bobby's dad. It was a beautiful establishment, but I'd be lying if I said that's what draws people to it. Nope, that credit goes to the three story duck that was moored behind it.

The story goes that Bobby's dad, Michael, was traveling in Singapore for business when he saw this thing floating in a bay. He liked it, so he bought it. If you've read my last post then you are noticing a trend right about now. I ate lunch while staring at the reflection of the duck in the glass walls of the restaurant. It was...eery. This sensation that was only enhanced by the two seven-foot-tall "ducklings"that flanked it.

When lunch concluded we caught a ride to the other side of the lake and rented bikes to ride around. The quality of said bikes was questionable at best. I spurned the glamorous side-by-side and tandem rides in favor of more reliable transportation, or so I hoped. My particular steed was a regular mountain bike of unknown vintage and Chinese make that proved to be anything but reliable. Within the first 50 ft I realized that the chain slipped in every gear, so if I ever stood up to pedal I would find myself lurching forward, threatening to flip over the handle bars. That's the curse of these powerful Robertson legs.

We eventually made it back to the restaurant where we gathered to take this photo. Note the presence of the legendary TonyNickDanny on the far left. 

My bike continued to deteriorate on the ride back. In addition to the aforementioned gear slippage, I also noticed a distinct lack of brakes. Then the pedal fell off. So I put it back on. Then it fell off 10 ft later. So I put it back on again, Then it fell off again. So I gave up and just held it in my hand for the next mile or so. On the plus side, I spotted a bunch of huge fish on the way back. Well, a bunch of huge, dead fish to be exact. Despite my transportation doing it's best to kill me, it was a fantastic time. Once we dropped off the bikes (I managed to make the pedal stay on long enough to convince the rental people that everything was good to go), we walked a few hundred meters to paddle boat rental place and got ourselves a few floating death traps.

While the bikes were dangerous due to shotty construction, the boats were risky due to more environmental factors, namely, Chinese people and spiders. There is a certain fact that you must accept as a foreigner in a small city like Huangshi; you are a minor celebrity. This is especially true for my very blonde Polish and Finnish friends. We never got very far before another boat crashed into us because they so fixated by the sight of our pale white faces. I should mention that I have absolutely no problem with this type of behavior. The reality is that many Chinese people don't see foreigners very often. Were I put in a similar situation I would act the same way. In fact, people that know me won't be surprised to learn that I rather enjoy all the attention. Want me to give you a thumbs up and smile for your photo? Why, yes, I'll be happy to. Want me to put my arm around you and pretend we are best friends? I would love to. I might even sneak a kiss on the cheek, just to make your day. If the options are: 

1) Get mad and let it ruin my trip


2) Embrace my new found celebrity and make some Chinese person very happy

I will pick number 2 every time.

The Chinese paparazzi, however, were more of a nuisance than a danger. No, the real hazard was the spiders. They seemed to appear out of nowhere every 5 minutes or so; falling from the ceiling, crawling out from beneath us or just manifesting like eight-legged wizards. We never knew where they would strike next, or whether a single bite would melt off a limb with a debilitating neurotoxin.
Luckily, we made it back to shore without losing anybody (the only other spot of trouble was an old man in a power boat that was acting as a lifeguard. He seemed convinced that were hoodlums of the highest order, never missing a chance to zoom over and scream at us through his bull horn). We staggered back to our hotel, completely exhausted from the day, but our night was far from over.

We still had to have dinner with a billionaire.

You see, Michael is good friends with a gentleman whose name I won't use, mostly because I hope to make him a future employer. This man happens to be the richest person in Hubei province, making him one of the wealthier people in all of China. And we were to join him for dinner that night. Sufficed to say, I was thrilled.

The location for this dinner/surreal dream appeared to an office building, until we walked up three flights of stares and navigated a maze of hallways, eventually opening up into a private dining room.

We were greeted by the spread you see above. Starting with a very expensive sea cucumber in pale broth (a vile creature that tastes like nothing, but has the consistency of a chewy booger),  we moved on to eat a meal fit for, well, a billionaire. In the photo above you can see a delicious giant lobster, along with mouthwatering sashimi. These two things alone cost more than my entire monthly budget. I swear I probably ate $300 worth of salmon that night. Looking to the left you can see the winter melon (the thing that looks like a giant sea anemone) and enough abalone to bankrupt me several times. Not pictured, because I thought it was a little gauche to snap photos during dinner, are imported Spanish ham (amazing), duck tongue (gross) and a very rare type of mushroom that was referred to as "lamb bone" mushroom. If you are wondering what they looked like, my friend Ned described it best when he called them "puppy scrotums." I wish that weren't accurate, but it is. All told, it took them two days to prepare this dinner. Two. Days.

The entire meal was completely surreal. I must have turned to my friend and asked him, "This whole thing is insane, right?" about 10 times. It was still insane every time. 

After hand shakes were exchanged, we stumbled away in a daze of disbelief. To celebrate our brush with the ultra wealthy, we played the most blue collar sport on the planet, pool. I quickly realized that I am terrible pool player, but found better use of my time in the arcade next door. There, I did America proud by defeating all those who dared to challenge me in a racing game that I had never played. I would be lying if I said I wasn't amazing at it. This is the only kind of drunk driving I would advocate. 

A lovely end to an outrageous and lovely night.