I like Isla Vista in the fog. People whisper and walk deliberately. Loud music gets muted, and streetside joint smoke disappears like it never was. In the dark, even the bros take off their imitation Ray-Bans for fear of walking into a hidden street sign. Particles of mist whirl around in the streetlight’s beam like dirty dirty hippies dancing at a music festival. It’s like the air itself is drunk.
I like Isla Vista in the fog. Who knows what awesomeness hides in mist?
Well, it was hiding my buddy’s girl. I walked by, unseen but close enough to touch, and heard him tracking her down on his cellphone. Trying to screw, or trying to get screwed no doubt, but you never can tell with screwing.
I was going somewhere or coming from something; I couldn’t remember which. Maybe the box of freshly brewed Firestone I’d enjoyed had something to do with that. Maybe.
From the street I saw something behind a house that I’d never seen before in I.V. Indecision gripped me. Should I crash and check it out? Or just be on my way?
It’s like when you see a girl has a spider crawling around the top of her blouse — you really want to tell her, but you don’t want to admit you were checking out her rack.
I took the plunge. Halfway down the driveway, a girl in a red sequined cowgirl costume grabbed my arm. “What’s this?” I thought.
She was cute, and I was happy to give the cowgirl from L.A. directions to her bro-friend on Sabado, but she was also drunk, and when she pulled me close and asked me to help her find her purse, I told her no.
She was cute but not that cute, and besides, that wasn’t my first rodeo.
And just then, the fog parted to reveal total absolute awesomeness. A group of people, beers in hand, cheering and yelling and shouting and grunting and screaming and waving, lit by a mist-drenched beam coming from a single, bare bulb on the corner of the house. In the center of the crowd, exercise mats. On those mats, two dudes in T-shirts and slacks locked together, wrestling with the kind of jovial intensity you’d expect if the winner got to go home with the other’s girlfriend. Awesome.
The rules: Victory by submission, or a throw outside the ring. No pins. All challenges accepted.
The violence was strictly gentlemanly. A strong, high school wrestling type challenged a guy with swept-back bright orange hair. Orange hair’s a chump, I’m thinking. No contest.
The challenger charged. Orange hair picks him up and dumps him on the ground so hard I could see his pupils dilate. Oh shit. He caught his breath, and they went again.
There’s something primal going on. The crowd jeers and screams with every hit. I’m ducking and weaving like an idiot, in uncontrollable sympathetic mimicry of the action three feet in front of me. The single light takes on an eerie cast. The mist floats around everything.
Then the girls started wrestling. I don’t know if it was the beer, the bloodlust or the mist, but the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen, in tight black pants and a matching top, stepped into the ring. In a town full of gorgeous women, this was the kind of girl that inspires guys to write bad poetry.
She pulled up her shirt to expose her midriff. My temperature rose about three degrees. Awesome. I couldn’t tear my eyes off her, but when the fight was over, I left. That was as good as it was gonna get, and besides, that was as much as I could take.
I continued my walk down the streets of Isla Vista.
“Hey dude,” said the guy walking 10 feet behind me. “Wait up. We’re going the same direction; we might as well walk together. My name’s Kyle.”
I like your style, Kyle.
For the first time ever, Kyle and his buddy had finished a fifth of tequila each. He’d started early, passed out, rallied and killed it. You could tell he was pretty proud of himself. I could understand.
Well, Kyle took a turn and went home. I watched the tide come in, and when the fog lifted, I walked home.
Daily Nexus drinking columnist Chris Benham never takes off his beer goggles.
I like it when you reminisce, Chris.