Five days of everything in excess... yes, it's carnival again. The south closes down for two days, spends Ash Wednesday hungover and depressed, and work only really takes off again next week. I wasn't planning to this, but circumstances changed and I let fate walk me though this. The first four days were a doddle, but I'm only now recovering from the fifth night. I'm on a self-prescribed detox adventure now, and I really need it.
So here goes.
Day 1: Friday [cue 24-style clock ticking]
I leave work at four, and pick up a mate who's gone to a job interview in the area. Turns out the place has been entirely broken up and I can't seem to get where I need to be. I arrive horrendously late, we drive back to mine where I discover the magnetic strip of my debit card's had it. Unpleasant surprise #1.
We leg into town, and drink a lot of Hoegaarden at an Australian pub full of undies, lingerie and condoms filled with an unknown white substance hanging from the ceiling. My friend's never seen anything like it before, and I'm left thinking: this is the nation that produced Aussiebum and Speedo.
After that, he decides to head home, and I grab Burger King (I never do that) and hit home.
There, get bored and decide to dip my toe into the gay side of carnival. Not impressive at all. Everyone's in drag, everyone looks awful and I get bored.
To boot, a snowstorm passes (unpleasant surprise #2) and it's incredibly cold, wet and windy out. On my way home, I find a bike with a flat (I really needed a bike and didn't feel like paying for one) and I decide to shorten the suffering by cycling my way home in it.
Day 2: Saturday [more 24-style clock ticking]
Having no debit card means walking to the central station miles away to buy a ticket so my original plan to escape carnival and go to Amsterdam, in the carnival-free north, has to be abandoned. Besides, the schedule back is lousy.
I spend the day fixing the bike and am really pleased with it.
Instead, I decide to wear something outrageous and go for it. I haven't done this in years, and remembering the last night not something I expected much of.
Instead, it was a blast.
One thing I'd forgotten about carnival is how sex-driven it all is. In the gay scene, this is obviously... worse. And it involves dressing up, with fairies and angels being obvious favourites this year.
In the end, I must have shopped around a little inspecting around five guys, made my choice and taken him home. My memory is a little hazy, but fun times.
Day 3: Sunday [tick-tock]
Saturday Night Boy decides to leave early, so I change the sheets and head back to bed. Decide this would be the obligatory carnival sex, but determined to check out the Sunday night action for once.
I did not expect the hormone level to have risen further. I don't think I have been chatted up or fondled so much in one evening, ever. A bar tender tries to have a go and this means free beer. I spot a friend from long ago at another place, and let my inner smile go. Another one. He didn't recognise me, and I didn't feel like talking to him.
Somewhere during the night, I fall off the stage and hurt my knee. The music was pretty good though, not the standard carnival fodder. At closing time, I head back on my newly fixed pride and joy.
The bar tender slips me his number on a beer mat. I toss it.
Day 4: Monday [no commercial break yet]
I first watch the Natalee Holloway breakthrough on TV before bravely venturing into the world of wine.
By now I'm really into it. Monday night is a sort of turbo-charged copy of Sunday night, but even better. And yes, I guess there must have been some desperation popping up in some guys because the horny and hotness meter was off the scales.
I've lost count of the number of attractive guys I kissed that night, but in each and every case the other guy took the initiative. I wasn't planning on anything, and enjoying myself thoroughly this way.
I try to cut down on the drinking by limiting myself to beer but fail miserably.
One more incident stands out: on my way to the bathroom, a cute young guy with a Phantom of the Opera mask decides he needs to kiss and grope me. So we do this, against the bathroom door which sweeps backwards, with people wanting to leave the bathroom as well. LOL. He is out there with a bunch of female friends, some of which find it amazing to watch and others who don't want to see it. So they all leave pretty quickly, which was a bit of a disappointment.
I sorta get kicked out at closing time and discover my coordination is shot. I feel stupid, because I think I've only had four beers. I fall off my bike at one point, slowly sliding into a lamp post and hurt my knee some more (injury #2). At home I forget my flat mate's home, somehow stumble in and throw up loudly into the bog before passing out.
Those four beers turned out to be twelve, and a bottle of wine.
Day 5: Monday [tick-tock tick-tock boom!]
On Monday I feel like shit, clean house and bog, do a lot of laundry and generally do everything to avoid my flat mate.
But I was determined to take this thing to the end, but forgot Ash Wednesday is not a public holiday in Holland. Everything closes early, so I went a little earlier, and found the music was shit, and everyone was basically exhausted. I felt fine, danced a bit, drank a little, but a lot less then the previous night, before leaving at closing time.
An attractive boy looks at me on the way out, but I had decided to lay off on that sort of thing.
I talk to some people, as closing time is the only moment without loud music, and then step outside, on my way to my new best friend.
I hear a voice behind me.
"You got any plans for the rest of the night?"
It's him. Yikes! This is gutsy, and way past direct.
"I guess I don't" [Translation: I guess I do now]
"We're heading to a friend's place. Wanna join up?"
I sure do. Most of us know each other vaguely, from around, and this was the kind of ad hoc party I always liked. After getting the entire group together, which takes ages, we drive a silly four blocks to find the friend's place.
We talk, laugh, even do some of the most disgusting shots with the boy on my lap, almost the entire night. At about five-thirty, most of the group decides to leave and he presses me: "stay behind". I just nod.
"Do you have to work tomorrow?" he asks, when everyone's left.
I don't... I am such a slut.
Before the door slams shut our mouths meet.