I saw on Eater.com that the Ambassador Bar closed last Thursday. A pang fluttered in my heart as it used to be one of my favorites. I have countless memories from my time spent there, but none quite as grotesque as the following—a tale that rivals any parent’s worst diaper blowout.
There is a picture of me taken at the Ambassador, a bar in the Tenderloin seven years ago. I’m smiling broadly, practically laughing, with flushed pink cheeks. My friend is picking me up with one arm and his fiance with the other arm. We are utterly happy, celebrating his 30th birthday.
She had planned the evening perfectly by securing a private booth and ordering endless rounds of drinks. Some of us would spill out onto the dance floor, while others remained in the booth to chat. As closing time approached, I knew I had to get home, having crossed my threshold of alcohol consumption. I felt this innate sonar kick in. Must transport home. NOW!
I grabbed my purse, discreetly making a beeline for the door without mentioning my departure to the birthday crew. A friend snagged me. “Hey you can’t leave. We’re going to Osha Thai as soon as the bar closes.”
I looked him in the eye and did what any good Catholic girl does when she’s in a bind. I lied. “Yeah!” I screamed way too enthusiastically. “I just have to make a phone call. I’ll be back in a sec.” As soon as I walked outside of the bar, I turned around to make sure my friend hadn’t followed, then stepped out onto the street and flailed my hands furiously for a cab. Thankfully, a Yellow Cab pulled up momentarily.
I directed him to my home address, a 5 minute ride, no more than $10. When he stopped in front of my place, I handed him $20 and continued to hold out my hand for the change. He turned away without looking back.
“Hey what about my change!” I demanded.
“Get out,” he barked.
I opened the door and slammed it as hard as I could. “Fucking asshole,” I muttered. I couldn’t get too angry though, since I was immensely glad to be home. I was nauseous and fearful, cognizant that I had had too much to drink.
Hot showers always do me a world of good and figured it would help me achieve a good night’s sleep. But the shower had the opposite effect of calm. While luxuriating in heavenly steam and warmth, I began puking, like a garden hose with a kink in it–intermittent bursts of alcohol regurgitated between breaths. I doubled over, crying and clutching my stomach. The worst, however, was ahead: fecal incontinence. I had completely lost control of my body. Tears were streaming down my face. Snot was pouring through my nose. I was vomiting and shitting too. So disgusted by the excrement, I vowed to take care of the mess first thing in the morning.
But at that moment, all I wanted was to make it through the night. Whatever it takes. Whatever crap (literally) ensues. Flush the poison out.
I lathered myself three times over with soap. I scrubbed, I shampooed. I brushed my teeth. I removed my contacts. I was finally ready for bed.
Despite the shower horror, I slept peacefully and woke up the next morning relieved it was a Sunday. I stepped outside my bedroom door into the hallway. My black dress was crumpled on the floor, pink high heels laying on their sides. I picked the dress up to hang. Orange and brown chunks clung to the wool down the front. Without realizing it, I’d thrown up all over myself. I pondered, no wonder the cab driver kept my change. Could I have made a mess in the cab?
Oh drudge. I stuffed the dress into a plastic bag, horrified for the dry cleaner. But that was the least of my concerns. I had a Sunday brunch date with the shower.