When I Say ‘No Thanks,’ I Mean ‘Please, No Thanks!’

After the spring semester of 2010, my cousin decided to celebrate his graduation from California State University, Long Beach, by visiting many bars within the Long Beach area and other locations as well.

His family invited many relatives to have lunch at a hip and cool Tex-Mex restaurant called Sharkey’s.  I was hesitant to attend, not because I did not want to celebrate with my cousin (I had celebrated with him elsewhere), but because I had work and I hadn’t gotten any sleep the night before.  My cousin insisted on buying me a Jack & Coke.  I kept saying “No thanks,” but he made me drink it.  I fell into a short slumber and my cousin took a picture of me in my sleep and posted it on my Facebook wall.  (I wrote an article about this incident in a previous Ledger issue.)

My cousin took me to a bar in Long Beach.  The name of the place escapes my mind, but the inside of the bar was the color velvet pink.  There was dancing in the bar.  My cousin and I met up with his classmates.  Balloons saying “Congrats” decorated their sitting area.  My cousin’s friends all looked to be in their twenties, but there was one gentleman sitting within their group who looked to be in his forties.  I’m not saying college graduates cannot be in their forties, but this particular man did not look sober, in spirits that is.  This gentleman offered to purchase drinks for my cousin and me, to which I declined, but both my cousin and the gentleman peer-pressured me into accepting a Jack & Coke.

While my cousin flirted with his female classmates, I had no choice but to talk to the gentleman who bought me the Jack & Coke.  He kept telling me all these sob stories, boring me with his lamentation of how he worked in computers and made a lot of money.  I thought to myself that, yeah, I wished I had a problem of making lots of money.  And he kept telling me that he had originally wanted a career in music.  And again, I thought, that he should go into music now if he had the money from his computer career.  But he kept going on with his sob stories.  And of course, all the while he told his sob stories, his breathe reeking of beer.

All I wanted to do was say “Thank you” for the Jack & Coke and excuse myself to go hang out with my cousin and his pretty female friends.  But no, that’s the problem when someone buys you something, like a drink.  You either have to risk being the butt of a Facebook picture joke, which fortunately didn’t go viral, or listen to some wino whine about making lots of money, telling you he should’ve done something different with his life.

At the same time, I annoy myself because I never have the courage to say to someone “Shut up!”  But when someone buys me a drink or does a favor for me, I’m obligated to blankly stare at him and say, “Uh-huh.  I know what you mean.”

People wouldn’t like it if I told my sob stories.  And I don’t have to be drunk to tell a sob story.  Let’s see…My biggest regret of my college career is not calling back this one girl who gave me her number when she had told me to call her back…I suck at “Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition”…Let’s see, what else?…Oh, people make fun of me when I say I’m attracted to video game women, which I think there’s no problem with.


Illustration by Dannielle Burch.