Boozers and Midnight Cruisers

by | Jul 3, 2009 | POLITICS

There is no such thing as a nautical themed Pashmina afghan. The boat wasn’t going fast, and no one fucked a mermaid.

There is no such thing as a nautical themed Pashmina afghan. The boat wasn’t going fast, and no one fucked a mermaid. As for being three sheets to the wind with my arms spread wide on the starboard bough? You bet.

We were already stumbling when we ascended the gangplank, but not for the same reasons that we would be by the end of the night. The Eagle Cruises boat was bumping against the dock in the swollen river like a drunken freshman flirt at a frat party, and for all the uncertain footing, the unanimous trajectory was nearly straight toward the bar.

There was no rail liquor. Even outside of the VIP bar, which featured generally shorter lines and the luxury of Belvedere Vodka, the bartenders were pouring Absolut, Cuervo, and shoving limes down the throat of Coronas. The entire event was open-bar. I immediately ordered a screwdriver and, as any Richmond party would be expected to provide, a PBR, lit a cigarette and set about the entitled mingling inherent of a yacht party.

The Haze descended quickly, but with a subtlety that causes one to mistake it for clarity until the sober retrospective of daylight unravels the illusion. Simply, I was half drunk by the time the boat pulled out into the dark cushion of deeper waters, when the band started playing to the unassailable weather that found us sailing down the James on a Saturday night.

I’m not a big Steely Dan fan (or The Dan, for those of you who are), and was half expecting to spend a good deal of time drinking away the sounds of Three Sheets To The Wind, a band that describes their genre in the same terms as the party: Yacht Rock.

But somewhere into Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl), and my fourth or fifth cocktail, smoke trailing from the cigarette holder I bought with my captain’s hat earlier that day, I felt…smooth.

And not just smooth, but really damn good, like that night in the middle of vacation when your shoulders finally drop all the way, and your ability to dance has no bearing on whether or not you’re dancing. And I was dancing.

The boat was perfectly populated. So exactly right was the number of partiers present, that 10 more and it would have felt cramped, 10 less, sparse. And at some point in the middle of our collectively eroding inhibitions, the party hit top speed. As far as recollection allows, it maintained that pace until no one remembered disembarking.

Take a good hard look at the motherfuckin’ boat. References to that infectious video can be overheard throughout the hours of passing trees and driftwood, rising over clouds of Hawaiian shirts and captain’s hats, cumulous smoke, the tequila lime breeze lifting American flags at the helm and the skirt Parker borrowed from someone who’s name I’ve already forgotten. We have work to do, goddammit! VIP bar, shots and shots, out to smoke, back to drink, “Ian, get a fucking picture of this!” “Dude, I’m DRUNK!” It doesn’t matter, no sense pretending we didn’t come here to do what we’re doing, we’re not the Times Dispatch and this is no Cotillion ball. Are those Parker’s balls? Someone tell DJ Pablo Escolar to play that fucking song again.

Jumping now. It’s beyond dancing, just throw your hands in the air and go along with it. We’ll all be sick of it tomorrow, that unreasonable and irrelevant future that lost its boarding pass and missed the boat, sure not me-o and waving from the hard-edged shore.

My girlfriend finds me. How long has it been since I lost track of her and time? And, what time is it? I don’t check, it’s time for another tequila in any case, and some of that Cous Cous hummous I’ve been neglecting ever since the hops took hunger’s place.

Casey, Marshe, Happy Birthday again and again. I love everything. I’m covering this, you know. Nameless friends, hugs and high fives, slurred speech and blaring speakers. I’ll have another, you can’t stop me, ‘cause I’m on a boat.

The alcohol speedometer is broken. Sobriety is a wake behind us, always following but never catching up. Those you hug and dance with are as transient and unknowable as the obscure hip-hop jams pumping from the DJ station. Hold on to this, we’re docking and not ready to leave. Hold on…

I wake up on a distantly familiar couch in the middle of the Fan, certain only of the fact that I don’t live here. I’m out of smokes, there’s no beer in the stranger’s fridge, there’s no one around. But 7-11 is right around the corner, and the river is always nearby. So what the hell, might as well grab a 12-pack and hit the pipeline, right? Why not? It’s Sunday and I have a story to write.

(props to Yacht Rock RVA’s Elliot and Jeff for arranging one hell of a party!)

R. Anthony Harris

R. Anthony Harris

I created Richmond, Virginia’s culture publication RVA Magazine and brought the first Richmond Mural Project to town. Designed the first brand for the Richmond’s First Fridays Artwalk and promoted the citywide “RVA” brand before the city adopted it as the official moniker. I threw a bunch of parties. Printed a lot of magazines. Met so many fantastic people in the process. Professional work:

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