I grew up in the middle east… and, of course, we had a hot tub. Not really the first body of water you imagine fantasizing about on a hot day. Still, it was water. I was in college. We hot tubbed.
Christmas break. We were home from school, eating well, visiting old friends, sleeping in (or just sleeping off the jet lag). It was inevitable that the parties would commence. You would think that parties in a dry country (by dry, I mean alcohol free) would be similar to church lock-in’s. Not the case, and I would know. I attended more than my fair share of lock-in’s. Did I find Jesus? No… but to be fair, I wasn’t looking. I did find a cute boy. Actually, I knew he was in that youth group. That’s really why I went. I joined a youth group for a cute boy and awesome scavenger hunts. I never faked the desire for religion again after that. Lock-in’s become weird when you’re an adult.
ANYWAY! The parties were a bit more exciting than Twister and Clue. Did you know that illegal alcohol is much more interesting than legal alcohol? It’s also a hell of a lot more potent. People made their own – like during prohibition. There were stills. There were explosions. There was 180 proof moonshine, affectionately named “Siddiqui” or “my friend” in Arabic. It could make you go blind. So, we had parties. A few of which my three surviving brain cells can recall. After some of those parties, we went to my hot tub.
When it’s hot and you’ve been drinking 180 proof alcohol in a muslim country, you should probably get into a hot tub.
I must premise this with the fact that none of us died, in case you are scared that this story may take a dark turn. We didn’t lose any friends, but we did lose some clothing. I will not name names, because someday one of these people may want to run for a government office, and I am counting on selling photos to the National Enquirer to pay for my retirement. When you are drinking dangerous alcohol, and hot tubbing in the buff, then you should probably have some adventures. I can’t tell you why this seemed like a good idea, but those few shriveled and dying brain cells failed to stop most of us.
Up on the rooftop, reindeer paws…
That wasn’t what the clop clopping was, that I kept expecting my parents to hear.
I was never brave enough, or my three brain cells were too strong to completely relinquish hold on my sanity. I never actually made the roof ascent with my friends. Even though there was nudity and alcohol, I was still modest enough to keep my girly parts submerged. Oh if I could have that early 20 something body back, I’d probably be streaking through the streets instead of typing this. We had some fun. Laughing, talking, listening to tapes on the boom box. Dancing on the rooftop. Making brownies at 3 a.m.
And then my dad got up.
He routinely exercised at around 4 a.m. in Saudi Arabia. This was because once the sun rose, it was just too damn hot. Not too hot to hot tub, but certainly too hot to exercise. There we were, bleary eyed, wrapped in towels, eating brownies.
“Hi, Daddy!” (I know. I am embarrassed to admit it, but I still call my parents “mommy” and “daddy”)
“Wow! You kids are up early!”
“You know. Jet lag. We were hungry. Made brownies. Have a great bike ride!”
“Those sure do look yummie! I’d better get out there before the sunrise, though. See ya later, everyone!”
Whew. That was our sign that the party was over. Off to bed. We repeated the scenario night after night, anyway.
Until the night of the homemade wine.
Oh god. Never never drink homemade wine that your buddy who is not yet 21 has concocted in his bedroom. There we were, in our hot tub, after the parents had gone to bed, drinking homemade wine. Or should I say, liquid bread. It didn’t taste anything like wine. It DID taste like yeast. Of course, our refined palettes didn’t complain too much, it was alcohol after all. Illegal alcohol, no less. Bedroom brewed alcohol. Okay, just give me a glass. In the morning, as the sun rose, and my dad returned from his bike ride, the sickness set in. I was the first to get it. The fever. The chills. The stomach pain. URGH! I discovered that the hot tub had another use! Thawing out the chills of a yeast borne fever. By noon everyone had it. Was it alcohol poisoning? I doubt it. Food poisoning? Probably. We’ll never know.
What do we know? We know that the boy who thinks he knows how to make wine, should not. And he should not share it with his friends. Until it has finished fermenting.
My bubble used to have a hot tub. Then I grew up. And had a baby. Now my bubble has a hot tub at the gym. I rarely go in it because I’m scared of partially clothed people who are not my intoxicated friends.
If you do go in there, and someone offers you a glass of wine, you should refuse.