The room is not small, but packed with 24 sweaty Brits and a kiwi or two, there is hardly room to breathe. We have cleared the chairs, pushing them to the walls, forming a perimeter within which we battle. Each round another man wobbles, terror in his eyes as he meets the floor and crumples. The victors swoop with unflinching grace to the stone floor and return upright again, a box in their mouths.
Yes, a box.
We are playing Bite the Box.
This classic drinking game requires each participant to pick up a cardboard 12-beer carton from the floor with only the use of their mouth – no hands for support, no knees allowed on the ground. As each round goes on, an inch or so of the box’s height is removed and so you must dip lower to reach your target. As the box shrinks and more beverages disappear down competitors throats, things get more and more intense. Generally, by the end, it’s only yogis standing.
Yogis and those who are moved by some force greater than themselves, a thirst to win, a drive to succeed. I find myself straddling both categories: a yogi, though not using any yogic technics, and driven by the chanting of “USA” every time I get up to face the box.
Yes, I am the only American at the party which has left me with the nickname “America” and a choir of cheerleading Europeans ready to chant my country’s letters for the mildest of excuses. Never have I been so proud to be an American and never have I been so excited at the chanting her letters. It inspires such pride and confidence; I think I finally understand and respect cheerleading.
I would like to have a special room at my disposal to use at any time, that is somehow magically hidden around every corner in the world, that I could slip into secretly before a big meeting with a partner, before negotiating my salary, or before having a hard discussion with my boyfriend – a secret room I could slip into and hear everyone around me roar “U-S-A! U-S-A!” as they pumped their fists for me.
Check out more of my polaroid photos from Cornwall on my portfolio site.