On a Saturday morning not too long ago, I dragged myself off Molly's friend's couch and staggered into a beautiful Isla Vista morning. My hungover sisters and cousin and I piled into the minivan, and we went in search of a Breakfast of Rejuvenation. Settling on the Cajun Kitchen, we sought to nurse our damaged and famished bodies to recovery via breakfast burritos.
The breakfast couldn't come soon enough. Five minutes after we ordered, Molly suggested going to Subway and buying a bag of chips, to tide her over until the food arrived. I looked at tiny Molly in amazement. "We just ordered breakfast," I said.
"Sun Chips, Sean. Just Sun Chips." she explained.
"You're not getting out of this booth to go get chips."
When the food finally arrived, our table became silent as we gave ourselves over to the breakfast. In the silence, we could hear the girl at the adjoining booth, discussing marine biology.
"Sure, seals look cute at the zoo. But those seals are trained. You go into the seal's habitat, it's different. You better watch out, you're on their turf now. A seal will fuck you up."
I didn't fully realize the meaning of those words until Sunday afternoon as I lay in the back of the minivan as we drove up 101. Vague memories of the night we'd had flashed through my alcohol-poisoned mind. There was a girl carrying a snake, an ill-advised bottle of rum, a boy named Flounder, an even iller-advised bottle of Jagermeister, and an important lesson in "chiefing"*. I groaned and reached for my water bottle. In the daytime, the kids of Isla Vista had looked so cute. But at night, well, I was on their turf. And you don't have to be a marine biologist to figure out what the result was.
*"Chiefing" meaning in this case to write on someone's face and/or body with a Sharpie after they have passed out due to excessive drug or alcohol consumption. This happened to A.J. on "The Sopranos" this year, and his friend shaved off his eyebrows, but they didn't call it "chiefing" then. I was lucky enough to learn this as an observer rather than a victim.