I keep agreeing to spend precious weekend nights covering events like Temptation at the Station, the annual sexy Halloween party for KC's young-professional set that was held Friday, October 25, at Union Station. Why? I try not to think about it too much, but it obviously has something to do with hating myself and believing that I deserve to suffer.
Do I dread these events? Yes. But that doesn't really mean anything. I dread everything. It can take me up to an hour to work up the courage to get in the shower. I just stare at the wall, sighing and frowning and shaking my head. Getting to the grocery store is a whole other set of emotional gymnastics. You don't even want to know.
General-admission tickets to Temptation at the Station, which was presented by the philanthropic organization the Bacchus Foundation, cost $45. But in a rare show of extravagance, my boss agreed to splurge for an $85 VIP pass. "I want you to have the full experience," he said.
"You realize I'm just going to get drunk and lurk around, right?" I said.
"I trust your process," he said.
The last time I attended an event at Union Station - Kansas City Fashion Week, about a month ago - I encountered a $10 parking fee. Last Friday, I pulled into the lot and again saw a sign informing guests that it would be $10 to park.
"Fool me once," I said, circling back out of the lot.
I was prepared to park as far away as The Pitch offices, about seven blocks north. But I landed a spot a block away, across the street from the Westin. Would this stroke of luck prove to be the peak of my evening?
The party was held in a long corridor north of the lobby inside Union Station. The GA tickets got you complimentary drinks for four hours at eight different drink booths. Some served mixed drinks and Bud Light drafts. Others ladled concoctions from industrial-size plastic jugs with labels on them like "rum runner punch," "vodka lemonade" and "vodka cranberry."
But I had that VIP pass, so I made my way to the far end of the corridor, past some bouncers, and into a cordoned-off area. From outside VIP, you could see the silhouettes of half-naked women dancing on a stage. From inside, you could actually see the women. Very capitalistic that way.
The two bars in VIP offered free call liquors, Monster energy drinks, Deschutes beer and champagne. "I'll have a champagne," I told the bartender.
"How many glasses?" she said. It dawned on me that champagne is not usually imbibed alone.
"Just the one," I said. "Just ... one."
I spent something like $60 on an idiotic-looking Cookie Monster costume for Halloween last year and could justify neither the financial nor the mental investment of finding something new, so I recycled it for Temptation at the Station. Shortly after arriving, I spied another Cookie Monster in the restroom. It was the exact same out-of-the-box costume as my own: fluffy blue top and fluffy headpiece with big, googly eyes. The package does not come with pants. I wore some faded light-blue slacks that are much duller than the Cookie Monster outfit. This son of a bitch had fluffy blue sweatpants that matched almost exactly.
My resentment of this other Cookie Monster waned as I noticed how thoroughly drunk he was. In the restroom, he was having an argument with a guy dressed as a sheriff. A guy dressed as an airline pilot was separating them. "So why are you gonna take it out on me, then?" alter Cookie Monster said, loudly.
I took a stroll through the GA section. Some costumes: Wayne and Garth; a really solid Kenny Powers; some Ron Burgundys; a guy I thought was supposed to be Richie Tenenbaum but was actually Will Ferrell's character in that '70s basketball movie; a guy with a chainsaw around his neck; a Superman in a wheelchair (in poor taste, except I'm pretty sure he actually needed it); two guys dressed as "hip-hop hamsters," which is apparently a reference to a Kia commercial; and dozens and dozens of women as sexy fill-in-the-blanks. I saw one woman wearing knee-high stockings, a skintight dress that exposed roughly 70 percent of her heaving breasts, and thick black glasses. She was a "nerd."
I went back to VIP for another glass of champagne. I drank it in about three minutes, ordered another one and headed out for the lobby. I wasn't yet drunk enough to offer an honest assessment of the party. I settled in on a bench in a remote part of the lobby near the post office and caught up on Twitter. An extremely hot woman in a Pocahontas costume sailed down the escalator in front of me. I was reading on my phone about Nick Lowe's upcoming Christmas album. It occurred to me that I should probably go speak to some humans.
Out front, I chatted first with a Cleopatra, then a flapper. The flapper was making fun of all the slutty outfits at the party. "But flapper was the slutty outfit of its day," I said.
"Yeah, but not anymore," she said. I still don't know where I come down on that one.
The alter Cookie Monster stumbled outside and parked himself inside a very tall planter near the curb. He crushed the entire bed of flowers, then found that he was unable to get out of the planter. He refused our help. So the flapper and I spent the next 10 minutes taking photos of him passing out and attempting to stand up.
Back inside, the DJ was playing "Bubble Butt," which is probably one of my favorite songs of 2013. It bled into "We Found Love" - the Rihanna one that goes, We found love in a hopeless place. Rihanna has never been to Union Station.
I waited in line for another drink and spotted a $20 on the ground. I scanned my peripheries, seeing if anybody else had noticed. Then I stepped on it while I ordered, concealing it. Then I kind of dragged it 5 feet away with my shoe and picked it up. It was a fake $20. Sadly, that was not the first time in my life that this had happened to me.
What should have happened at that point was somebody coming up from behind me and shooting me in the back of the head. Instead, I took it as a cue to leave. I drained my drink and made my way for the exit. On the way out, I saw the alter Cookie Monster passed out on a bench in the lobby. I made a growly Cookie Monster noise at him as I walked past, but he was out cold.