In the spring of 2011 I made fast friends of my drag queen co-workers from Whole Foods. I would go see their shows in downtown Raleigh quite often, and even more often would spend (what I thought at the time was) a gross amount of money ($15) on four to five cocktails. By the end of the night I would usually be dancing alone in the middle of the dancefloor and eventually be sober enough to drive home.
On one such night, however, I didn't sweat out enough booze percolating to be in a drivable state, so a friend gave me ten bucks for a cab and shooed me out the door. There were no cabs to be found on the street outside, so I thought it was a better idea to just walk the two and a half miles home.
My six-inch platforms came off about seven blocks into the walkathon, and at some point I found myself taking an exit ramp onto the highway. I wasn't coherent enough to realize that driving routes do not equal pedestrian routes, and while the lack of a sidewalk should have given me some clue as to the events that would follow, I just kept walking.
Picture this: a 5'4" boy in a dress, shuffling down the grassy side of a 4-lane highway, cradling his shoes in both arms and jumping at the slightest sound. There were no cars going by (it was Raleigh, after all - the city that always sleeps), but I was still hyper-paranoid that a gang of rednecks in a mud-splattered 4X4 would ride by and string me up for amusement.
So, when I heard the distant hum of an approaching car, I panicked and dove shoes-in-hands-first into the nearest thicket. I curled up into a ball and put a shoe in front of my face for extra camouflage. Nary a muscle moved in my body as I followed the burgundy sedan with my eyes. Once it was out of ear shot, I ninja-rolled out from under the bushes onto my hands and knees in the middle of the road. Once I was sure the coast was clear, I continued on my way.
I briefly considered a career as a model for topiary artists, started singing various numbers from Hairspray at the top of my lungs, and accidentally dove onto a paved jogging path parallel to the highway. It was actually there the whole time, separated from the road by a mere lining of trees. I just hadn't jumped far enough into the hedge yet to find it.
The jogging path brought me within a few blocks of my apartment, and I fell into bed with an inch of gravel embedded my heels (as in the ones on my feet, not my shoes. I know you were worried there for a second, but they made it through the night relatively unscathed.). It wasn't until 16 hours later when I tried opening my eyes that I started replaying what exactly I had done.
I told my friend who gave me the cab money the story, and after asking for his ten bucks back, he said he had no clue how I wasn't kidnapped, robbed and raped.
"Sorry," I said. "I spent it on breakfast-for-dinner at Bojangles. And I have no idea how I'm alive, either."
At this point it should be clear to you why sobriety is a good call. In fact, I wasn't even drunk enough to pass out, and I still remember everything from that night pretty vividly. The black-out stories are much less entertaining to remember, but they are certainly keeping me motivated to stick with water at the bar.
Funny enough, my dad conveniently forgot about my personal prohibition project and sent me two huge mason jars and a bottle of homemade blueberry wine in the mail last week. Luckily I don't like wine, and I'm already thinking of who to give them to for Christmas.
Breaking Up with Booze: so far, so good.