“Gemmaaaaa! How are you?
Last time I saw you was when you puked at my Airbnb!”
“Eh, yeaaah. That’s right... God. Sorry about that!
“How are things? How’ve you been?!”
I’ve just walked into da club at Myrtle-Broadway and there to greet me is the ghost of the one-night, never-to-be-forgotten extravaganza that shall forever be known as ‘Rockawasted’.
Rewind back to the beginning of last summer. BEFORE it got warm.
(Crucial fact to remember)
I’ve just bought the most incredible, only mildly impractical, where-the-feck-will-i-ever-wear-it mostly sheer sequin-fronted mermaid dress from Australia’s Wizards-of-Sequin, Discount Universe. It’s a work of art and it’s on a hanger in my wardrobe. The enchanting sequins are masters of seduction, touting their wares at me every time the door swings open.
Resistance is futile.
I have to do it.
“So my friend has invited me to the beach house her parents have rented her for the weekend. Something to do with paying her back for them taking all her Adderall? Anyway, It’s gonna be pretty chill, open invitation on Saturday night. You should come.” Sherpa announces.
Hmmm. Beach house you say…
That would suggest that a beach should be within arm’s reach (the Sherlock part of my name doesn’t come without its merits).
And where better to début a mermaid dress than AT A BEACH????!!!
I’m in! I’m going. It’s on. Destination Rockaway.
There are times when it pays dividends to live in Bushwick. Times such as, when you’re flying from JFK (and can make it there in 40 mins - BOOM), or when trying to make your way to the Brooklyn Hamptons (The Rockaways) via interminably glamorous public transport.
J to the A baby. 1 hour and 5 mins if you please. A speedy escape from the mayhem of city life.
The sky is grey and it’s kind of windy. Sand is blowing all over the place making me blind. Puts me in a mind of a summer’s day trip to the beach back home in Ireland.
I’ve arranged to meet Sherpa at the beach, for a sequin mermaid dress début cannot pass undocumented.
Traveling lightly for the overnight stay with just one suitcase, I make my way to the public bathrooms to make a quick change.
The caretaker / janitor lady peeks her head in the door and observes me changing.
“Is there a costume party?”
“Kind of.” I laugh.
THE MOMENT HAS FINALLY COME.
No bra. No shoes. Just knickers...and the dress.
(and a pair of zebra print havaianas to take me to the shore)
I walk with purpose towards the beach. Thinking warm thoughts as the balls of brass monkeys reach freezing point.
Janitor lady walks by again, clearly bemused by the redheaded wannabe mermaid.
“Oh! That’s your real hair!” she exclaims as the bob blows furiously in the gale coming in from the sea.
We’re on the sand. The flip flops are off.
“Get in the water” Sherpa instructs.
I tiptoe my way down to the ocean’s edge and shriek when its iciness meets my pinkies. Legging it back from the water’s edge, running about the place like a lunatic - Sherpa snaps away.
“Keep still for a second.”
“I have to keep running. It’s fucking FREEZING!”
Jumping up and down trying to prevent turning blue.
We’re the only people on the beach. Funnily enough.
The DU Mermaid Dress beach début was fleeting - blink and you might have missed it. But I’ve been DYING to wear this dress for so long. It’s staying on.
Resourceful as New York life has made me, I conclude that the only way I can make this happen is by warming up from the inside out. Cue the amber liquid magic that is Irish Whiskey.
Found in abundance at most bars in the world.
We hit up local hotspot Playland.
“Powers Gold Label. Neat.”
I down the golden nectar in one switching on my central heating system. The mermaid is back in business.
Conversation digresses temporarily to Irish Whiskey (another specialist subject) which calls for another to taste and nose with new company.
The friends arrive (one of whom is weekend proprietor of the Airbnb).
“Hey! This is Gemma.”
“Hi hi hi. Nice to meet you all.”
“What are you drinking?”
They head off to some fairy fort but mermaid and Sherpa make the trek back to the beach house. Him carrying the suitcase (standard).
Under the dual carriageway.
“Hey Mermaid! Are you single?” asks the guy on porch whose girlfriend proceeds to beat him inside. “Seriously, are you single??”
To the train station. Back at base.
I feel mermaid dress has already had quite the day and is in need of a rest. Quick change into something more comfortable. Topshop blue vinyl skirt, MOSCHINO bra and cozy leopard print MAJE jumper.
The friends arrive back.
“We’ve brought you guys a present!”
Gigantor bottle of Powers Gold Label Irish Whiskey. The party has officially started.
The music is on. Balloons magically appear out of nowhere. We’re having the LOLS and drinks for dinner.
People are popping in and out for smokes. There’s dancin’ and singin’ and movin’ to the groovin’. Balloons are a-poppin’ and it’s gettin’ hot in herre.
Time for a time out. A secluded location. Not easy to find. Wait! The bathroom. Always a good idea. Balloons follow me like I’m the Pied Piper of Hamelin.
The cool of the tiles is a welcome feeling on clammy party skin. Clearly the jumper has come off at this point. We’re all friends here! And have you seen this MOSCHINO bra?!
Arms up. Stretching out. My hand hits off something and a blast of cold water cracks down on me. I scream, then laugh hysterically. The whiskey is finding this hilarious.
Party party party. Balloons. Dancing. Dancing. She’s having fun and there’s no off button.
I wake up with a start. Face down. In a strange room.
Panic. The rational part of my brain runs quickly through the checklist:
Clothes: On. Fully on. Sneakers included.
Company status: I gingerly turn my head to the right. Phew. All on my lonesome. But somehow SPRAWLED across two beds.
Head: POUNDING. (groans)
Day of the week: Saturday? No Sunday. FUCK! I have to work today and I’m in Rockaway!!
Fear level: OFF THE CHARTS
I peel myself off the bed and notice something plastered to my side. It’s a plastic bag. With what looks like a dried-out, free-growing fungus inside.
I didn’t?! I wouldn’t have???!
Fear level: RED ALERT.
Hang on a second. No. As terrible as I feel, I’m sure I’d be feeling significantly worse if I had, unbeknownst to my rational and sober self, participated in such activities.
(The rational part of my brain is in overdrive this morning, which is very rare but highly useful under the circumstances)
I walk out to the living room. 4 bodies lie uncomfortably on the sofa bed and floor, clutching at sleep.
Yep, they’ve all had to sleep out here on top of each other because I passed out in their bedroom. Oh God. Not able.
I walk back into the bedroom. Need to get a move on and get the flock out of here.
I reach for my suitcase lying beside the bed. What is that? What the…?
I spy the saucepan under the bed which confirms everything.
Puke-a-hontas clearly paid a visit during the night. In the Airbnb of a girl I don’t even know with a load of people I don’t really know either. Of course!
I wonder if I’d puked in front of everyone or if that happened after I went (more likely got put) to bed?
The Clorox wipes closeby get put to use and then I get packing. It seems that I wasn’t the only thing that threw up last night. My things are EVERYWHERE. Suitcase was Rockawasted by proxy and expelled everything in it all over the living room, kitchen and bedroom.
Checking the time. Feel like I’m having an out of body experience. Packing all the things I can see into suitcase. Nobody has stirred by the time I leave, still in their whiskey comas.
Somehow I made it to the train. Somehow. I sit. On edge, looking and feeling like a crazy woman who’s been dragged through a hedge backwards.
It’s not the bob’s best hair day.
Cannot. Believe. I’m. Working. Today. (On repeat in my foggy brain)
But it’s happening.
I bust in the door of my apartment. Roommate looks at me startled and simultaneously bursts out laughing.
“I didn’t wake up looking this good.” I tell him.
The quickest of showers. Clock working against me. Tick. Tock.
Hairdryer on. The bob looks presentable pretty quickly. Face on. Sequins on.
A redhaired sequin-covered shell? Perhaps.
But a functioning one.
Smoke and mirrors.
Making my way to the J, I take two Advil and wash them down with a coconut water (not just any coconut water, the best, Vita Coco). I sit at the stop and try not to think about last night. But it’s hard.
Last thing I recall is giving birth to a balloon in a game of charades. It’s all a bit hazy but I DO remember, I was having a blast.
I text Sherpa wondering if he’s still my friend.
I’m still Rockawasted, being very honest. But the show must go on.
I know if I can get through today, I can officially get through anything.
I look down at my sequins and know everything’s going to be okay.
I’m in da club. Sipping the drink in my hand. Sherpa gives me the look. I know, I know. (Take her handy)
We’re still friends, but if there’s ever a repeat of Rockawasted he’s “not cleaning up after me again.” That’s me told.
Precautions are being taken. There’s a mixer in there. Gin AND tonic.
I dance with Airbnb girl, hoping to create new memories that don’t involve me boking.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS (in order of appearance)
Sherpa - friend / helper of friends in need / explorer / therapist / human trip advisor / life coach / photographer / performer
Bathrooms - Irish English for restrooms
Pinkies - toes in this instance
Jumper - Irish English for ‘sweater’, not to be confused with jumpsuit which is Irish English for 'jumper' in American English. Got it?
Get the flock out of here - Irish English for ‘get the fuck out of here. Pronto.’
Take her handy - Irish English for ‘take it easy’ or ‘slow’
That’s me told - Irish English for 'consider me warned'
Boking - Irish English for ‘puking’ (vomiting)
On the beach: Sequin Mermaid Dress: Discount Universe / Gold Pinky Ring: Patricia Field
In the beach house: Blue Vinyl Skirt: Topshop / Bra: MOSCHINO / Gold Link Chain: Marc by Marc Jacobs / Grey Suede Wedge Sneakers: Adidas / Gold Pinky Ring: Patricia Field