After reading and posting GlowWorm’s piece this week I couldn’t help but reflect on my life and experiences with alcohol, specifically drinking and driving. Every time I’ve thought about this, over the last three and a half years, I’ve become sick to my stomach. I never was out there running around as a teenager, but I did my fair share all throughout my twenties. I ran through quite a few vehicles too.
The first car I owned, while I was of drinking age, was an eighty-eight Lincoln Town Car. That car was pretty sweet. It was all-electric, had leather interior and floated like a boat down the highway, or even the back roads. I had that car from about seventeen to twenty-one. No wrecks or major tickets, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t drinking and driving going on. For a couple of years we used that car as the “hunting wagon”. We would stay up late at “deer camp”, drinking and playing cards. Around midnight we would all load up, with loaded high-powered rifles and go spot-lighting. On one particular night, someone gut-shot a doe, so we sent out two guys to drag her back to the side of the road. She was kicking them the whole way to the car. When they got her to the car someone cut her throat and we through her in the trunk, her kicking the whole way home. The next day I had blood all over the back of my car and in the trunk. It’s so shameful I can’t believe I’m acknowledging the fact that it happened.
My next car was a ninety-two Oldsmobile Cutlass Sierra. I can’t remember how long I had this car, but it wasn’t long. It was my dad’s car. By the time I was twenty-two I was a regular in the bar scene, so much so that I was friends with many of the bartenders in our small town. Thursday started the weekend for me every week, but Fridays were the best. I would go to the local bowling alley/diner and sit at the bar for a few hours. When I was starting to feel good I would walk over to the other side and shoot some pool. The bar portion always closed at midnight. The ladies would sometimes go hit up some different spots after they got off of work, and I would sometimes go with them. One night I did just that. We headed over to the local sports bar, doing a couple of laps around the block to smoke up some funny cigarettes. I don’t remember much of anything after that, except being dropped off at my car. I could barely walk, but they were far enough gone too they didn’t know how bad I was. I somehow had the self-awareness to stop by the side of the road to go to the bathroom, and then I was back on my way. About another mile down the road a telephone pole got the best of me. I sideswiped it, busting out the passenger side window. It didn’t sink in until the next morning, when I had to tell my mom why it was time to look for another car.
I went back to driving the Lincoln after that for a while. That’s the car I moved to New Braunfels in. It died a few months after moving there and I ended up buying a 2002 Ford Ranger. I didn’t like that truck at all. It survived Texas well enough, but bringing her back to Missouri might’ve been a mistake. Shortly after moving back I was at friend’s house for a party. When it was time to go, my roommate and I loaded up and headed down the gravel road, back to our little country house. I hit the gas and fish-tailed a little bit. He goaded me into doing it again and I got a little carried away. I somehow pulled a 360 in the gravel, taking out a mailbox with the rear tail light of my truck. Everyone at the party came running after us to make sure we were alright. The man whose mailbox I hit came out to the commotion and they talked to him. They told me to go home, so I did. The next day I went back and gave the man some money to replace his mailbox. A few months later that truck got repossessed.
When I lost my truck I started driving my mom’s 2001 Ford ZX2. It was a little two-door, five speed. I really liked that car. Having to shift would keep me away at night, or at least that’s what I thought. By this time I was about twenty-six or twenty-seven. I was living with my dad. After about a year I was able to move into a studio apartment, about a block away from my dad’s house. This was also five blocks away from my favorite watering hole. The short drive was usually a piece of cake, but not the last time I drove that car. One night I made it four and half blocks before rear ending a parked truck…a half of a block away from my apartment. I pulled in front of my apartment and walked over to the truck. The impact had totaled my car, and shoved the truck onto the curb by about two feet. The only way you could tell that I had hit the truck, other than looking at my car, was a little bit of red paint on the rear bumper. The owner came out and looked at his truck, pulled it out and drove once around the block. He said it was okay and sent me on my way.
I feel extremely lucky and blessed to have made it through all that unscathed. I never got into any trouble, I never hurt myself and I thank God that I never hurt anyone else. If you’re going to drink, by all means, drink. There’s nothing I can say or do that will make you stop. But, I will say this, Please Don’t Drink and Drive. Everything I’ve told you is extremely regrettable, but I don’t regret it. I don’t regret it because I can tell you first hand, no; I can demand from you…Do Not Drink and Drive. I won’t demand from you what I don’t demand from myself.
Not everyone can be as lucky as I have been. You might think you’re just throwing your inhibitions into the wind, but in reality, sometimes this causes a daddy or an uncle to never get to go home again.