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Brent
Bettina
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Friday, Apr. 23, 2004 - 8:28 p.m.

My brother will be twenty one years old tomorrow. Holy shit.

When I turned 21 I was living in Durango, a small enough town that nearly all the bars were lined up along a five-block section of Main Avenue. This unique layout had given birth to a coming-of-age tradition: on the night of oneís twenty-first birthday, one was supposed to visit every single bar on Main.

Classes were hard that semester. Mary and I were still settling in to living together, and I am not an easy roommate. And on top of this, weíd invited a certain author to stop over in Durango on her book tour; she was sleeping on the futon in our tiny living room for a few days. Houseguests are intense even when they are not strangers. It was all too much. I was grumpy, self-conscious, withdrawn, and not at all ready to become an adult.

But I rounded up friends who rounded up other friends, and we set off to El Rancho. From there we walked to Joelís, to Lady Falconburghís, to The Summit, even to Players, the scary coke-and-motorcycles bar. I canít remember the names of most of the Durango bars anymore, and I canít find them online. This makes me sad (name 'em in the guestbook if you can, please).

I drank nineteen alcoholic beverages that night, a feat I hope never to replicate.

I wound up my night rolling in the leaves on the front lawn, moaning. The visiting author came out to check on me, ruffled my hair. Mary, who hates barf, watched me barf. I did not attend classes for the next two days.

But after that, everything was better, and maybe it has been ever since.

Happy birthday, Russell!


Something is slightly amiss, but Iím not sure what. I am busy, and thatís part of it Ė the end of the semester brings plenty of tension. But Iíve also been way more hermity than usual: Iíve been avoiding the phone, and even email. I keep meaning to call Mary back and write to Bettina, but I canít do it. Iíve barely communicated with anyone besides L and my family for a month now. I just want to watch Buffy and drink beer. Both the cat and my inner muse have been thrilled, I tell you what.

So maybe it's time to turn 21 again. Bettina, I'll sneak you drinks at Joel's if you wear your leather jacket, okay?

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