Both drinking and daydreaming are a way of forgetting. When I drink I forget that cooking dinner is a chore and that meeting people is awkward. When I daydream I forget the limits of my bank account and the unlikelihood of achieving my goals. To drink and daydream at the same time means a forgetting so freeing that, in my own mind, I am in a polka-dot bikini in Vegas and the center for the NY Knicks is painting my toenails poolside while my family looks on in awe. The parallels between how I see myself in the daydream and how I see myself when I am drunk are all there: I am hilarious, I look pretty. The conversation is script-worthy, except in drunk daydreams there’s no misunderstandings and no one interrupts me.
Drunk daydreaming conjures up more outlandish daydreams than sober daydreaming that often involve parties. I pace the same strip of floor right in front of the stereo and daydream celebratory scenarios. Maybe someone even toasts me. The daydream is then repeated and perfected for the next hour or so, or however long I am drinking and pacing, like it is a story I am drunk telling to a comrade after deep in the well. Not much changes from one replay of the daydream to the next, but it wants to be heard.
I don’t think it’s sad that I’m often the happiest when I am drinking and daydreaming. I can, and am, happy at other times. I have fun not doing these activities. However there’s an elation to drunk daydreaming that is hard to put into words, but I will try: it’s like catching an easy wave and riding it for an entire movie soundtrack.
The ultimate drunk daydream location: Las Vegas. You can run into anyone there without much logistical setup, and you can be wearing something gorgeous for no reason at all.
I was daydreaming about Vegas before I ever went to Vegas. Some of the set pieces were inspired by what I saw in movies and some were just made up for my daydream’s purposes. For example I daydreamed that bar areas were more walled off and that there were lounge areas with black leather couches and low tables around the bars. After being in Vegas I still daydream this bar setup even though I witnessed different setups in the casinos I strolled through.
I run into so many people I used to know when I drunk daydream being in Vegas. I run into my nemesis a lot. I come up to the nonexistent bar area to order a mojito and he is there with a couple of his friends and they say something to put their foot in their mouths—like how come I’m wearing all black, did someone just die? Yes! My husband. (I don’t have a husband)—and I move down the bar to get away from them, and oh boy do they feel dumb and reevaluate their lives. I run into old high school friends I don’t particularly like anymore. They are there for a wedding and I am alone waiting for the elevator. I am in high heels and a dress and when we walk into the elevator my celebrity crush du jour is there waiting for me and surrounds me in a hug. Or maybe I run into people I used to know while my crush and I are waiting for the valet to bring the car around outside the hotel. My crush is tipsy or just doesn’t feel like driving. He tosses the keys to me and I open the passenger side door for him because I’m classy. Then we drive away listening to Lana del Rey or the Supremes or something fun and mood-setting.
And like an actual trip to Vegas, no daydream trip is complete without gambling. One of my favorite daydreams involves gambling with other people’s money. I am dating my celebrity crush who has learned that I have a pattern-oriented mind and can count cards (I do have a pattern-oriented mind but I cannot count cards). He meets me in the elevator or the lobby, in front of the people I used to know. I am dressed to the best of my ability, which is cute, but we are going to the classy flashy big-time section of the casino so my celebrity crush slips on my wrist a classy flashy big-time bracelet or watch. He walks me out of the elevator, hand on my back, and I don’t turn around. I play poker with his money and win big-time.
Sometimes I meet my celebrity crush at a bar where I am drinking by myself to get away from my family. I make him laugh . . . but have to go on account of my cousin’s wedding I am about to attend. Cut to: at the reception I am standing at the bar kind of talking to people. The celebrity crush I had just charmed walks in and asks me to dance to James Brown.
But not all of my Vegas daydreams are for proving to people that I am desirable by hot men and everyone else. One daydream is a trip that I take to Vegas with some of my best friends and favorite people during which I immediately win thousands of dollars on slots while waiting for our rental car. I am able to pay for everyone’s meals and entertainment. We see Britney Spears because even in my daydream I know I can’t get everyone on board with Mariah Carey. There’s a view of the strip from our newly acquired suite and we order room service and drink expensive champagne, while in reality I am in my gray tracksuit, in my apartment, drinking white wine, completely alone, and having a great time.
Jane Liddle grew up in Newburgh, New York, and now lives in Brooklyn.Her stories have appeared in many fine publications on the Internet and a couple on paper. She is currently working on a novel and a book about daydreams. You can find her on Twitter @janeriddle or at liddlejane.tumblr.com.