This is a tale about choosing your own adventure and a practical stranger. My friend Dee wanted to have a night out with her friends, and I couldn’t help but throw out this concept of ‘Bandersnatch’. So what did that mean?
In the movie, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, viewers choose their own adventure; twisting and influencing the movie to your own will. So in real life, we were going to mimic the choose your own adventure motif. This night out would be based on last-minute group or personal decisions and see what comes of it.
Real life doesn’t have a return button where we can go back and change decisions. Choices blossom in a linear strand, even though Bandersnatch promised viewers the ability to redo decisions. Unless we’re part of a simulation, there’s no way for us to rewrite what we make of it. We can speculative parallels, but cannot live through those different scenarios.
But enough pop psychology.
We gathered at Dee’s place which was a cozy downtown apartment. Dee’s mesh of friends drank together peacefully. Perhaps it was liquid silver, but I felt like I could talk to anyone in the room. Dee’s low-key romantic interest was there (SPOILER ALERT: he deserves no name in this story). Present was an unorthodox amount of White Claw (not complaining) and the temptation to create our night to our whims and dreams.
Or so you think.
A friend of a friend, let’s call her Jean, had invited herself, tagged along or maybe even just happened to walk into Dee’s apartment and decided to stay. Jean was like an invasive species: she just didn’t fit in with the biome and began damaging the pre-existing structure (yesss spill that B-grade biology).
She was instantly aggressive like a helicopter mother in a parent-teacher conference. Jean told one girl that veggie chips were sodium pipe-bombs and told another girl that she didn’t believe in women’s rights. The sodium comment was uncalled for, but the women’s rights things…I mean, what?
While everyone else was enjoying the time (and was normal), Jean decided to call her boyfriend. Jean and Jean’s Boyfriend apparently had gotten into a fight today. Maybe she had yelled at him for having a sodium-saturated snicky-snack like veggie chips?
While Dee played some bangers, the whole party could hear the shouting from the bathroom. Turns out, Jean and Jean’s Boyfriend got into another fight.
“**** you, and **** your mom too.” Was the only confirmed exact quote I could get this for this blog.
In retaliation, Jean slammed her wine glass against the wall of the bathroom. Not sure how that was revenge against the boyfriend who was in Lakewood. But OK Jean.
I have a tendency to dramatize things because I get easily bored and need to be stimulated like some middle school punk. But I’m serious about this story. Multiple pregame witnesses recall Jean slamming that wine glass against the wall like it owed her money. Not only did she damage property but she left the glass on the floor of the bathroom. Let me add that it was a TILED BATHROOM. Cleaning glass from tile? I’d rather move to a new apartment.
After Dee cleaned up the shrapnel from the bathroom it was time for us to Uber to the bar. Because there were twelve of us, we divided into three teams for an impromptu Amazing Race. The destination: Map Room. My team arrived first and we surrounded the back corner of the bar counter. Everyone joined, all was well, etc. etc.
But perhaps things were too peaceful for Jean. Even though Jean had argued with the Uber driver and argued with the bouncer to Map Room, Jean was hungry for more altercation. She was like a debate student who would do anything to win for her preppy private Ivy League school.
Unbeknownst to anyone, Jean had decided to play conquistador and conquer by approaching a table of people.
“I’m taking this table, we need this table.”
Jean didn’t need to fight for the table for a few reasons. One, there were plenty of tables. Two, we didn’t need a table, we were comfortable at the bar. But the best reason: the people at the table were LEAVING!
But Jean’s nasty attitude had stirred up anger within them. Meanwhile, across at the bar, someone had bought me a gin and tonic. In this emergency situation, I had to buy myself a long island because like a New York socialite I like my drinks sweet. I spun on my shoes and arrived to straighten the situation whilst double-fisting.
Of course, I threw Jean under the bus: I didn’t know her, she wasn’t my friend, and she was wrong and mean. The table of innocent bystanders hadn’t lobbed personal attacks. But Jean had gotten personal right off the bat like Babe Ruth.
“You’re 23 and you need botox.” Jean snapped. Not only was this not true, but this girl was a hundred times more beautiful then Jean’s very tired early 2000s attire.
Thankfully the situation deescalated. I didn’t see Jean for the rest of the night. My close friend Dee’s low-key romantic situation ghosted her that night at Dive Bar (it was shocking at the time, but we were at Dive Bar…). So Dee and I got pizza while she sat shellshocked about what had happened.
“Do you think he would have ghosted you if we hadn’t gone to Dive Bar?” I asked, dabbing the pizza with grease as if that was truly going to the calorie difference I needed for this pizza to become healthy.
We don’t often think about how small choices played out. Maybe if Jean hadn’t been such a glass-slamming, name-calling (enter word of choice here), she would have made new friends. Maybe if she had separated her anger from her boyfriend and strangers, she would have enjoyed the night out.
But our own choices: of double fisting a gin and tonic with a long island, my friend Miranda’s decision to talk to some random guy, Dee’s decision to pursue this (enter another explicative here), going to Map Room, going to Dive Bar, getting pizza…these all made a single strand. It’s like one carpet fiber from a whole list of possibilities.
The following morning was Bandersnatch Brunch. It was there that we got the hot gossip on what had happened to Jean. Jean had gone over to Jean’s Boyfriend’s house, punched a window, kicked down a door, got the cops called on her and needed stitches.
We also found out she worked at a TOP BANK IN THE CITY. Let’s just say the ‘young professional’ that she is on Linked In was nowhere to be found.
More recently we found out Jean had left Cleveland. And no matter where she is, I hope she’s learning to Bandersnatch with less authoritarianism. Cause who cares what small decisions you make at the end of a night out. The big decisions about one’s person are much more important.
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