My Senior years of college I lived in a college house. It was the sort of awesome cliche I had always wanted for myself, but usually fell short of. There were concerts and there were parties and there were parties with concerts and there were concerts that turned into parties. People we didn't know shuffling through our back door, down to the basement; people we didn't know, people we didn't like, people we wanted to know and people we wished we didn't. Our yard lit up like a Christmas tree between sets with people smoking and looking cool.
We drank beer, every brand I've ever heard of, and some that I've only seen in my basement. The empties and half empties would show up in our recycle for weeks. Clean up meant--take a broom knock down all the bottles and cans off the heating ducts, sweep the shattered glass and empty cans into a corner, then search the entire basement looking for unfinished beer. Once I took a five gallon bucket down there to drain the left over beer and Carlo Rossi. I filled it half way up, used it to watered the rhodies out back.
Our backdoor neighbors would hold impromptu jam sessions on their porch, they would leave us presents from the "beer faery," and tell us stories. God the stories we heard. Nick Nelson. His bandana sewn round his neck. Beard long and hippy-ish. Staggering in asking us to touch it--"don't it feel like a girl's pubes." Shit, he could tell stories. Down in Arizona, he was leaving a party at ASU. The drunks were scouring the yard. Rummaging through Bud-Light cans, searching for the left-over beer. Nick offered to share his Nattie Ice. They looked at him like he was crazy. Like he was offering them dog shit laced with arsenic. I never found many Nattie Ice cans half empty. Seems like the people who drink Nattie Ice finish their beer.
Sitting alone in the room I grew up in, in a town that doesn't sell Natural Ice listening to sad-sappy music on an apple laptop: I miss those half empties; hearing the bottles hit the concrete, their smell exploding through the room. The cans in the lawn, the cans in the shrubs, the cans in the alley. The under-aged metal heads breaking bottles in the street. I miss the people, I miss the cliche--I wish when I went out to my garage I could find a half empty bud light, or at least an empty Natural Ice.
But in my garage there are tents, ten year old Corollas and lawn tools.