Friday, October 29, 2004
The Drunk Phone Call...inspired by last night, Nappy Diatribe, and all the people who never call back.
It’s 3 a.m. Friday morning and I’m lying in bed pondering shuffled thoughts when suddenly my phone rings. I grab the phone looking at the glowing-orange caller ID screen semi-thinking what-the-fuck? The Caller ID has a sense of humor, mocking me with an area code that used to mean rendezvous with college girls, but now only equals mystery. The caper is solved within the first .006 seconds after I say “hello?” There's a brief hesitation on the other end (dead give-away) then a loud, jovial, and drunk Punjabi male exhorts the proper greeting. It's only a simple few words but so much more is said.
While many people tend to catagorize this type of communication as crass and uncivilized they miss the finer nuances of such a call. The speech pattern of my drunk cousin indicates how much he’s had to drink, what he’s been drinking on, and more importantly what still awaits him. The high level of Punjabi vernacular that is spoken in these exchanges usually follows this format (translated):
Drunk Cousin: Why Aren’t You Here
Sober/Semi Sleeping Cousin: Because you’re hella far away dude.
Drunk Cousin: Fuck that, be here.
Sober/Semi Sleeping Cousin: Next time fo sho bro. Godamn you fools are doing it.
Drunk Cousin: Fuck that, be here (undecipherable background chant by other drunks)
The determination of this young gent is admirable as you can see. Eventually I’ll get smart and change the subject but “Fuck that, be here” will always creep in at some point. There will also be very unprovable claims of superiority (based on fighting, the ability to attract women, etc) followed with a curse word (for empahsis) that when literally translated means “sister fucker.” The literal translation does it no justice however because it’s more in the spirit of “motherfucka.” Regardless I love that one personally but it’s probably because I don’t have a sister. There is of course the obligatory cultural reinforcements that come with this conversation. Geographic hollering acknowledging our land owning/agricultural roots in Punjab and our general philosophy of not really giving a fuck tend to be prevalent. How can you not love this?
A human flaw in all of us at one time or another is greediness, but these calls are the antithesis of such behavior. This filthy lush-of-a cousin is just happy-drunk and wishes I could also be there to share this experience. Since I’m obviously at home, married, and counting the hours till I report for duty at cubicle central this phone call will have to suffice. Star Trek doesn’t have shit on us, because in a few moments I’m teleported to this liquid fiasco that is alcohol, sweat, and in this particular case, other bodily fluids.
My favorite drunk phone calls took place in the parking lot of Happy Donuts in Berkeley almost 3 years ago to the date. I was accompanied by two of my favorite dudes, we were on Julius Kessler 5th number 2&3, with one car playing bhangra (engine running ), and just bullshitting. Somehow a cop car passed by without stopping to question or harass us. This only fueled the adrenaline. We drank and we drank and we drank. Since it was T-minus 1 week before my marriage, I being the concerned host, decided to call every single number in my cell phone to ensure attendance (even to motherfucka’s I didn’t invite!). I wasn’t taking no for an answer this night. Calls to NY, Canada, all over CA, both young and old got phone calls. I called relatives who live in my neighborhood, Uncles, shit I might have even called my Mom. The drunk phone call is so valuable to language development, you discover new terms, insults, and cadences in Punjabi. I’m sure I scared my wife, but godamnit I’m drunk, in a donut shop parking lot, dancing with two hooligans, about to be married, and I just wanted to share this with you.
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