I Am Not A Very Good Drinker

Illustration for article titled I Am Not A Very Good Drinker

"The beer is supposed to be green, and we can't legally sell it" the bartender explains as he pours. This inevitably leads to me proving you can travel in the back of a Nissan 350Z and why I probably shouldn't.

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Walking to the local bar allows me to drink as much as I want without having to worry about driving back. I can taste the Brother Thelonious, some unnamed dark Belgian ale, even a locally produced "green beer" and just snag a ride back with another one of the assembled auto writers at the happy hour.

It's a good theory until I remember the last of my circle was driving a silver two-seat Nissan 350Z and also ferrying the night's honored guest, Canadian Mark Stevenson of ShiftAndDrive, back to his hotel.

After numerous protests from Kevin, the Z's owner, who insists his generation didn't come with a backseat like some half-rate 280Z, I pop the trunk with the intention of proving it does. Sort of.

In Vino Veritas

Illustration for article titled I Am Not A Very Good Drinker

If only I'd remembered the massive brace across the center of the trunk, making it nearly impossible to ferry two of anything you might buy. It may be a small price to pay for rigidity, but now I'm forced to slide my beer-bloated 6'1" frame into a space slightly larger than Herve Villechaize's backpack.

Before I back out I notice Mark notice me about to relent. A Texan simply cannot back down in front of a Canadian. It'll never happen. So like a trapped Chilean miner I boldly proclaim my intention to go forward.

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Or, actually, the Nissan engineers who designed the hatch did such a shitty job it starts to droop like Ray LaHood's shiny jowls and they let it close on me. But I'd have said something brave. Trust me.

I suddenly know what it's like to be one of those babies inside the Octomom's uterus. I poke my head through the front seats as Kevin asks for directions. I can barely see and I'm upside down, so at this point I'm sort of guessing and accidentally send him down the street with the most speedbumps.

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Like someone who was shot while playing a game of Twister and left to die, I'm splayed in the back. With each hump I'm knocked against the seats, the glass, or the brace. I realize if we were to get in an accident in the three blocks between bar and home I'm a goner. After a few bad shifts (that I suspect were on purpose), I begin to doubt the wisdom of traveling this way in defense of my honor.

Illustration for article titled I Am Not A Very Good Drinker
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But the real regret, I realize, was waiting at home. Getting into a 350Z is hard. Getting out is nearly impossible. Above the spare tire is a layer of cheap carpet thinner than the vinyl seats in the back of a gypsy cab.

Kevin and Mark laugh, but I'm basically done playing around. With each attempt to exricate myself I end up sliding further back into the car. I look ridiculous. I feel worse. I've proven my point, but in doing so I've made a point I didn't want to make.

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I am not a very good drinker.

DISCUSSION

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cosworth_heads ported for bench racing

Unbelievable! Matt, you and I have more in common than either of us realized. It was the late 1980s and I was shoe-horned into the back of a 300zx for the ride back to Fort Worth from a club in Dallas. The reason? The seat I had rode in for the trip out was now occupied by a new female friend who wanted to accompany the driver back home to Fort Worth. It had been a night of drinking and just because I had struck out with the ladies did not mean I was going to cock block my friend by refusing to ride in back. So like a good sport I got stuffed in the back in some kind of cross legged sideways flat yoga position. He though it was funny and took some corners rather hard, thereby exerting negative g forces on my digestive tract. I barfed. He did not think that was so funny. I guess the girl really liked him though, because the unpleasantness of that ride back had no effect at all on him scoring with her!