I know it seems like I might like to throw the drinks back, seeing how I’m always attending a party. The truth is I’m not a good drinker.

But as anyone who reads my column knows, I like to go out and have fun. Having fun and being with people is really all the intoxication I need. That is, until my kid brother comes around.

I love my brother. I really do. He’s grown up to be such a brave and -- he will hate me for saying this -- sensitive human. Growing up, one could say my brother and I were competitive -- i.e., we fought, a lot.

But now, because he lives in South Carolina and the few vacations firefighters get, I’m lucky if I see him and his sweet girlfriend of forever, once a year. So when he comes back to his Berkshires in the summer, we have a pattern of going tubing, going to Teos (I don’t eat them!) and going out to bars.

I enjoy a cider or two at Thistle & Mirth, Moe’s or The Forge, but I’m never looking to go get drunk at a bar. But last Thursday night was different, and just like when I was younger, I’m going to blame my brother.

While sitting down to an episode of "Girls," I missed a phone call from my brother. And then apparently a second and third call. When I finally glanced at my silenced iPhone, I saw he had called five times.

Whoa. Something’s up.

"Hello." He had been drinking. I could hear it immediately. "We need a ride," he said.


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"Uh, you and who? And where are you?"

He told me where he was and then hung up.

"Where the heck is that?" I thought, not recognizing the name of the bar. Thank goodness for ye olde Internet, I found it was only a 10-minute drive through the woods connecting Dalton to Lanesborough.

When I got there, there was a line of people that looked at least 10 years younger than me. I suddenly felt out of place. I’ll run in and grab him and his friend Aaron and leave, I thought. Bright red and green strobe lights danced all over the black tile floor. I was suddenly blind and overwhelmed by the sound of early 2000s hip hop music blaring.

Dramatic? Maybe. Who knows, maybe I would have liked this bar if I was 21, but I’m not 21 anymore. I quickly looked around for my brother.

I politely, then not-so-politely, made my way through the packed bar until I spotted my kin.

"Uh, hey," I said. "I’m here, we can go." He looked at me and flashed his grin.

"I just got a beer." He then turned and handed me a plastic cup full of clear liquid. "I know you like gin. I even got you an extra lime." He smiled. "I’m on vacation."

"This is the wrong place for me," I said.

"This is the wrong place for me too." He turned back to his friend and whispered in his ear. A few minutes later the new friend arrived with two more cups of clear liquid with extra limes and what appeared to be a shot.

"No way," I told my brother. "I have to drive."

"Aaron isn’t even drinking," he said.

So I found myself doing a shot of whiskey and following it with gin. Thanks to the alcohol, I started bopping my head to the music.

I hopped off my stool and headed to the dance floor. Suddenly, I was shy and uncomfortable, watching some dance moves I’ll decline to describe. But alas, I was younger when some of these songs were popular, so I couldn’t control my body from swaying side to side. And this of course brought unwanted attention. A tall man in a bright red T-shirt seemed to come out of nowhere and grabbed my free hand.

"Can you dance with me?" Before I could reply he took my drink, placed it on a table and grabbed my other hand. I managed to keep the distance one would use to dance with their grandfather, but I could feel the guy wanting to pull me in a closer.

Cologne and sweat filled my nostrils, he stepped on my foot. Suddenly I saw my brother peering through the front door. He flung open the door and grabbed my wrist.

"He’s a very protective brother. Thanks for the dance." I flew out the door with my brother. We both started to crack up.

Aaron had left. He got a ride with another friend. 

"Well, I can’t drive and you can’t drive, so what are we gonna do?" He said, "We’re walking down Gulf Road."

As we walked along the road to home, wearing headlamps I had in my car, I said, "I hate when you come home. I’m too old for this stuff."

Even in darkness, I knew he was flashing his smile.

n

Want to know things that I’m actually excited for? The Berkshire Museum is having their Summer Gala Saturday night in celebration of its newest exhibit. My favorite DJ BFG will be spinning tunes. Get your tickets at berkshiremuseum.org.

I’m also really excited to see my favorite band Iron and Wine play at Mass MoCa Sunday evening at 6. You can still get tickets at massmoca.org.