India Choquette is a writer, a trainer, a teacher, a breakfast sandwich eater, a person in love with a person, and a FOrmer Vermonter living in New York City.

Cough Syrup Cab Driver

Friday night, S. and I took a cab home. We don’t do that too much anymore, now that all the injuries are nearly healed up and walking isn’t hard, but we were a little drunk and I just couldn’t imagine ruining our buzz by standing on a well-lit grungy subway platform, waiting for the train for lord knows how long. A subway platform means immediate death for all the giggles and romance and butterflies. A cab was the only way, I thought, to keep that bright happy feeling until we got home.

Whenever I go out in New York, I think through the whole night. Going to Brooklyn for a Halloween party, for example, is not worth it. Even if the party is the literal best with a large spread of gourmet Halloween themed baked goods—bat cookies and spider wed spun sugar—and limitless drinks, the trip home will overshadow the party. There will be vomit, glitter, fights, delays, standing room only on the subway. And the smells—I can’t go there. Avoiding the train on traditionally drunk holidays isn’t even something I think about anymore—I do it without thought. I can’t go to Halloween parties far away. I can’t. It is like asking me to be in Las Vegas in 20 minutes. Not possible.

The only way I’d possibly consider going to a Halloween party is if it were in an outdoor hot tub with an open bar. That might be worth struggling on the subway.

This party was okay, though. It was a reasonable distance. It had a finite end time, midnight, which I could handle. It was just a regular Friday, so no concerns about overlaps with an unusual load of drunk people. Plus, I knew a cab ride would be under $50. And, I guess, we wanted to go. Getting dressed was dramatic. Two women getting dressed for a party means that we pull out the entire contents of our closet, instead of just half. And S. has this idea that we need to match or compliment each other. She likes when I wear dresses and she wears pants. We can’t have too many patterns between the two of us, otherwise we clash.

Matching a single outfit is hard enough for me. Matching two is impossible. So us getting dressed leaves a lot of stressful decisions on S. And I don’t own a full length mirror because I just don’t. When I moved into this apartment, it didn’t make the cut of important items. The lack of mirror combined with my neutrality makes dressing up endlessly frustrating for S.

But we did get dressed. We did get there. And we did have an amazing time, dancing and chatting and drinking cheap wine.

We got in the cab, ready to be home. But we weren’t $5 into our ride when our driver, a man with a mustache, opened an entire bottle of cough syrup and took a gulp as if it were Poland Springs. He proceeded to take three more swigs over the course of our ride.

I looked it up and found, in an article titled “6 Booze Substitutes” that “When consumed in large quantities, cough syrup containing Dextromethorphan (DXM) causes euphoria, slurred speech, and dizziness. Robitussin is a common brand that contains DXM, which is how the trend earned the nickname ‘Robo tripping.’”

To be fair, that man was coughing. And it sounded bad. But drinking directly from the bottle is not how dosage cough syrup is intended.

S. gave me bug eyes, and I giggled. Late night transportation is always an adventure. We got home safe. I don’t really have a great conclusion to this post, other than just to say you can’t win here. At least we got home fast.

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