|Rest assured, this is just a reenactment of the time Chrissie took a digger and got mad skids on her hands.|
"I want to be the bad influence," Chrissie says when I tell her my theory. That these two have "drink to excess" mojo shooting out of their hair. That I'm powerless against Nels's beard. That when I'm around them, I get drunk even when I just planned to be social. While, somehow, they remain on their best behavior.
There is seriously something chemical that happens when they come near me. The loosening of a gullet. An opening of the spirit. A desire to have fun, be fun, see fun. And the next thing I know it's 5 a.m. and I'm drinking chili beer and playing French pop songs on a record player. Even if my intentions were the best. To just veer off from this skyway and see what my friends are up to at RTQ. Even after Nels approaches the table with a tray of shots. I throw it back and then wisely call "Time Out."
"Know what," I say. "I'm going to move my car to the parking ramp." I check the bus schedule on the way back to the bar. Great. I'll catch the 12:19 a.m. mainline to West Duluth. Such convenience, 2012. Public transportation is such a nice option. I'll walk six blocks home in the fresh air, maybe ditch into Walgreen's for purple Gatorade and frozen pizza. I can still start building a running habit tomorrow. I'll write. I'll be a human being.
They seem so harmless, these two. Millsy knits! She likes to watch the sky! Nels works with wood! He sings songs by country artists on karaoke night. They're wholesome!
Around 11:30 p.m. I see that this isn't going to work. I don't want to leave the bar at 12:19 a.m. and walk six blocks. I want to orbit these pushers. I'm having fun. I had the wherewithal to ditch out on the next round of shots, so I've shown I can handle it. Right?
Later Nels will wear Orin like a hat. Millsy and I will tour the house. I'll sit on Chrissie's lap and QT will disappear. My lips burn from the chili beer; the roof of my mouth has been shredded by a lava of pizza cheese. Chrissie says she woke up wondering if we turned off the oven.
There are people who affect you. This is true. For instance: There is something about my former landlord that turns me into a raging bitch. Everything is fine at first. He starts to talk to me, I respond, he says something stupid and my blood starts bubbling. He says something else and we are at full on boil. I'm talking in a voice that reminds me of the voice my mom used on holiday mornings, after she had seen the gummy toothpaste luggies in the sink bowl and before my grandparent's shuffled in the front door. I think: In another life, this would be me. I'd see the world through the blood filter in my eyes. What if something happened and I had to always be near this person who makes me rage-y?
So the Millsy-Nels Effect is minor in comparison. They've never made me want to stab someone. But they've make me want to dance to death.