Many Americans spend their Friday after Thanksgiving shopping. Traditionally, The brothers Dudek drink on a bar crawl in Boston or Cambridge.
This time, Lee drives us around noon into town with his bright green Jeep to park by Kendall Square. Snow is on the ground and the temperatures are dropping. The streets are post-apocalyptically deserted and the few bar doors we rattle are locked. We pick up our first afternoon drink at the Cambridge Brewing Company, poke around MIT classrooms, and sit for clam chowder at Legal Seafood.
Todd, Lee, and 3 Dudeks wander through descending darkness to giant Mead Hall, impressive for its beer selection and matching glasses. The second round is a free-for-all in that we order drinks for each other. I’m tempted to sneak a non-alcoholic beer into the mix, but decide on benevolence.
A bit sloshed, we say goodbye to family-man John and march on to Lord Hobo’s for dinner and more drink. Ray pulls out a card game called Family Business to rile up our corner table. I win the first match handily causing everyone else to slam me on the second round. We’re all happily drunk on beer, burgers, and life. Although we spend much, we buy a common experience. I cherish alcohol for its conviviality, loosening of mores, and sharing.
I try sleeping on the car trip back out to the suburbs. I plan to tuck in for the night at my parents’ house, but discover that Ray left my driver’s license in his parked car further out in Charlton. I’m forced to continue the drunken adventure on into Worcester at a fancy bar then a cigar bar with a singer. I’m glad Ray lost that license as I’m happy but hungover to have spent more time with great people.