What I Learned By Not Drinking For 8 Hours

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The last time I had a drink was 8 hours ago. (It was a Genny Bock on draft. It was delicious.) I knew that I had to stop, though. It was late and I was tired, so I went home and went to sleep. Here’s what I’ve learned in that time.

  1. I’m hungrier

After a drink and a full night’s sleep, I am ready to completely devour my leftover corned beef hash. Maybe I’ll have a bagel, too.

2. I’m thirstier.

My apartment can get pretty dry, so I’ve learned it’s a good idea to put a glass of water next to my bed, so I don’t have to get out from under my warm sheets. Protip: Invest in a Brita filter, too.

3. My bed is really warm and comfy

Speaking of warm sheets, I could just stay here for the entire day.

4. Wait, I have to go to the bathroom

This is the worst.

5. My bed is still really warm and comfy

And I refilled my water glass, so I can stay in here all day!

6. I’m still hungry

Shit.

That Time a Local College Accused Me of Being a Terrorist

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I would like to share with you all the story of that time a local college accused me of being a terrorist.

To protect the innocent, I’ve changed some names. So, let’s say this incident occurred at…the Schmuniversity of Rochester. I knew the Schmuniversity very well, having previously payed them $200,000 for four years’ rent and a “diploma”, which I believe is Latin for “please don’t throw my resume away.”

At least, I thought I knew it well, which is why I was very surprised last year when I was visiting campus with a friend and fellow alumni — let’s call him Jim — and he offered to show me a secret tunnel under Elmwood Ave connecting the River Campus to the Med Center. We were celebrating Jim quitting a shitty job, and after a few drinks decided to head to campus and check out our old stomping grounds. After visiting the library, Jim decided he wanted chicken nuggets from the Med Center cafeteria, which was well known for being at least 50% more edible than the River Campus dining halls.

Jim assured me that he had used this tunnel all the time in his undergrad years, and it would be easy to find. I don’t know about you, but I’m not SUPER LAME, so when someone asks me, “Hey, wanna go check out this secret tunnel no one knows about?” my answer is, “Hell yes I do!”

But there was a catch. The Schmuniversity has its own plant that provides power and steam heat to the campus and hospital. There’s no academic functions in the building, and it generally gives off a “stay the fuck out” vibe. Naturally, the entrance to the tunnel is in this building, which I blindly followed Jim into because that is how all good stories and horror movies start.

After getting inside, down a flight of stairs, and halfway down a hallway that looked like the bad guy’s hideout from an episode of Alias, Jim realized that he was lost. He disappeared around a corner, randomly trying doors on the way. I finally stopped reading Twitter on my phone, and looked up to find myself face to face with a sign that read

U.S. DEPT
OF ENERGY
NUCLEAR

and I don’t remember the rest because I ran so fast to find Jim that I left a Road Runner-esque dust trail behind me.

I rounded the corner to find that he had fished his old ID card out of his wallet and was attempting to swipe into a door marked

AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY
RADIOACTIVE

WHAT?!

I dragged Jim away from the door, explaining that it was probably not the way to the chicken nuggets, and even if it was he wouldn’t want to eat them anyway, and that we were probably somewhere we weren’t supposed to be so screw the nuggets, we’re leaving before we get sent to the special prison. In my haste to get away, I accidentally passed the exit and stumbled through the wrong door…into the secret tunnel. Jim, having regained his bearings as well as his cravings for chicken nuggets, dragged me through the tunnel and through the Med Center to the cafeteria — which was fucking CLOSED!

ALL THAT FOR NOTHING.

We made our way back to campus the normal, above ground, non-radioactive way, and I suggested going up to the top floor of the math department’s building, because it has a great view of downtown Rochester. (This is relevant, I swear.) We entered through the attached chemistry building, and Jim decided he wanted to see if he could get into his old lab. So he swiped his old ID card in the door…and it worked. This security hole made my inner IT professional self die a little bit, but also made me curious. This is also where I become an idiot, because I proceeded to pull out my old ID card and see if it still worked. It did not. We continued on our way, stared at the skyline, and wandered around the rest of campus a bit before calling it a night.

I’m a little hazy on the timeline, but a few weeks to a month later, I got a call from Shmuniversity security asking me to come to campus. I should have told them to fuck off, but as we’ve already established, I can be a bit of an idiot, so I went in. After I arrived, I was taken into a tiny windowless room with handcuffs on the wall.

Investigator Hibsch (whose name has not been changed because he was the biggest prick I’ve ever met in my entire life), asked me to turn over my old ID card. Goodbye forever, free parking at the East End parking garage! Turns out doors with card swipes on them record any “bad” swipe, especially when said door is marked radioactive. They never covered that part in Alias. Hibsch then threatened to arrest me for breaking and entering, and demanded that I explain why I was trying to access nuclear material.

Here’s a few things I should have said:
“What.”
“How is it breaking and entering when all the doors were unlocked?”
“What the fuck?”
Why are all the doors unlocked if there’s nuclear material down there?”
“Seriously, what the fuck?!”

Instead, I said, “I wasn’t paying attention and we got lost!” and then burst into tears.

Over the next two hours of interrogation, Hibsch

  • threatened to arrest me, again
  • told me how disappointed he was in me, inspiring this post
  • informed me I was going to be reported to the Department of Homeland Security
  • asked why I was throwing my life away, and if I wanted to be “Wall Street, or Walmart?” (Answer: neither!)
  • Implied that I was sneaking off to hook up with Jim because I said that I’d had a few drinks
  • Pulled up security footage and said I appeared perfectly sober because I was walking in a straight line

and other assorted Old White Male tactics to attempt to scare me straight.

I ended up not getting arrested, but I was banned from all Schmuniversity property for life, at least “while the investigation was still ongoing,” which really sucked because I had just gotten a membership at the Schmemorial Art Gallery. The ban was lifted a few weeks later, and I tried to move on, albeit with a newfound massive distrust of authority figures and a sneaking suspicion that this incident was the reason why I was constantly denied access to the TSA Pre line for months afterwards. It took me a while to be able to even talk about this with friends, because I felt like an idiot who had done something wrong. But it’s been a year now and I just got an email from Southwest that I’m TSA Pre eligible, so I’m feeling a little less like a criminal now. (I mean, aside from the usual stuff like speeding and pirating TV shows.)

So, that’s the story of why I will never donate to your goddamn Annual Fund, UR.

 

Day 4: Lilac Festival

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Ahh, the Lilac Festival! The official start of spring. A time to walk through the trails of Highland Park in rapt amazement at the resilience of nature after a particularly harsh winter. An opportunity to rejoice in Rochester’s legacy as the “Flower City.” An occasion for — oh, who am I kidding? Lilacs make me sneeze, and honestly, when you’ve seen one lilac bush, you’ve seen them all. But the weather was warm (mostly), the fried dough was plentiful, and the Root was Rusted. Seriously, what is the deal with Rochester and Rusted Root? At least they still sound good, unlike some of the other former stars who have graced the Lilac Fest stage. *cougheddiemoneycough*

I made it to the Lilac Fest three times this year. Once on Saturday, when it was nearly 90 degrees and I was wildly overdressed, and once on Tuesday, when it was nearly 50 degrees and I was wildly underdressed. I then discovered that eating fried dough while wearing dark clothes in a windy environment is a bad idea. I did not make it into the expensive all you can drink beer tent, but the craft beer tent out by the lilac arches had a much better selection than last year. I’d really like to see more food trucks at the festival, but aside from that, the food selection was also pretty good. I also liked how the vendors were moved up by the reservoir, as it seemed to get more people out into the park to explore.

Finally, I went back on Thursday to see Rusted Root with my dad. As you can see below, so did half of Rochester. UR missed out on the chance to make some cash, because everyone started parking on the lawn of the abandoned psych center. (There’s a joke somewhere in there about how crazy we all are for loving Rusted Root, I KNOW IT.) Despite the fact that there was no one directing traffic, everyone politely directed themselves into neat rows of cars. I was strangely proud. Good show of being nice and orderly when no one made you, guys. We managed to slide into the perfect spot at the top of the crowd just as “Send Me On My Way” started playing. I have now filled my Rusted Root quota for the next five years, and my fried dough quota until Canal Days.

 

Day 3: Gelato and a sunset on the canal in Fairport

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Nothing fancy for day 3, just a quick trip after dinner. I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to get many items from my list done last week, because the weather was kind of cold and rainy and all the other unseasonable weirdness that accompanies the Lilac Fest. But luckily, last Monday as I got home from work, the clouds started to break and the sky blue itself. I was in the mood for a treat, so I went to the village of Fairport with my parents for some dessert. If you’ve never been to Royal Cafe, I highly recommend checking it out. The owner is a little Italian guy, and the gelato is handmade. It’s probably about as close to the real deal as you can get without crossing the Atlantic. As we wandered along the canal, the sun made an actual real appearance, and we ended up catching a pretty nice sunset.

Day 2: Fahsye and Fairport Brewing Company

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On Friday, I realized that Mother’s Day was only two days away and I needed to get a gift, which, honestly, was probably a new record for me in terms of planning ahead for presents. Since my dad had already laid claim to buying an Alex and Ani bracelet, I had to think of something else. (Sidebar: Dudes, if you never know what to get the ladies in your life, get them into Alex and Ani, and then you will never have to think about gifts again. It’s the best.) I decided to head to my new favorite boutique, Fahsye. They’re located on the corner of Winton and Blossom, and have nice, quality jewelry that won’t turn your fingers green, but isn’t exorbitantly expensive. Plus, the owner is super nice and remembers who you are, which in my opinion is one of the best parts of shopping local.

While picking up a bracelet for my mom, I couldn’t help but get one of Fahsye’s newest additions to their ROC Jewelry collection. I own about four different pieces from this now, and I get endless compliments on them. Even my brother, who is a tax lawyer and never notices anything unless it’s a poorly written contract or something like that, commented on how cool the city skyline necklace is.

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After Fahsye, I met up with my parents for dinner at Jeremiah’s (mmmm, Buffalo wings), and then we headed over to the Fairport Brewing Company in the village of Fairport. FBC has a cool success story: with the help of a Kickstarter campaign and the support of the community, they were able to grow from the owner’s basement into a full-fledged brewery with a tasting room on Main Street. They have a huge outdoor patio, and frankly, are a welcome relief from the Irish pubs and townie bars that were previously the only place to have “fun” in Fairport. (Oh, and Applebee’s. I guess technically you could have a night out in Perinton at Applebee’s…if you hated yourself.) They also have several fire pits on the patio, which we weren’t able to sit around because we didn’t get there early enough…but it was 90 degrees out, so they weren’t on anyways. Next nice cool evening we have, I’m gonna get there at 4pm and camp.

I tried their Irish red and nut brown ales, and they were both great. My dad had a few of the pale ale varieties and said that he wished they were a bit hoppier, but I think he’d drink a straight glass of hops if he could get away with it, so take that as you will. There was also a food truck there, which I didn’t try, but I like the concept of being able to go back and try different food trucks throughout the summer. This particular night had live entertainment, which I’ll confess I’m not always a fan of. I hate when you’re trying to have a drink with friends and suddenly some band is playing so loud you can’t hear anyone talk. However, the outdoor patio at FBC is the perfect venue for music (and not just because they have a noise ordinance in Fairport so they can’t play too loudly). The guys who played on Friday, Mike Gladstone and Rob Smith, were fantastic, and provided a great soundtrack to a relaxing evening.