So when my daughter told me that she thought I should do a Flashback Friday version of the blog, she was referring more to a written chronical of all the stupid shit I’ve done over the years that somehow did not end in my death. When I think of all those things (and there are A LOT), the majority of my stupidity was before my 30th birthday. That’s not to say I haven’t done anything stupid since then. I’m sure there is at least a semi-annual incident that leaves me waking up thinking, whew, that could have gone terribly wrong.
And I’d love to say that it’s because I am carefree, but sometimes it’s more on the careless side that causes my (self-destructive?) impulsive behaviors and a healthy case of undiagnosed boredom usually.
My carelessness didn’t start when I was 21. I had it long before then. It just peaked after I hit the legal drinking age.
One of my fondest memories and also most excruciating was the three-year stint I spent working at McDonald’s. I think it was 3 years. Could have been less. Seemed like a lot more. I started out working the drive-thru. According to me, I was really good at it. Sometimes, I could tell you what people were ordering just by the sound of their cars. The regulars came every day for the same thing. “Senior coffee and a chicken biscuit.” “Biscuit and gravy and a sweet tea.” According to my lifelong friend, I was pretty slow at it and that’s why she had to sling bags of food at me. Because she was quick and I worked at a snail’s pace. Still, I had a firm grasp on the eating habits of a lot of people around that time. What I didn’t have a grasp on was my drinking habit.
I don’t know if I would go as far as to say that I was an alcoholic, but I do throw around the term “weekend alcoholic” a lot. It was not a problem if I couldn’t have a drink during the week. I worked 3 days during the week and the other two that I was off was for my kids. So drinking then was not an issue. The issue was once my kids left on Friday and weren’t coming home until Sunday, I liked to go out. And even then, the drinking wasn’t the problem. It was the stopping drinking that was the problem. And it’s still a problem today (kind of) which is why I give myself limits and make jokes that I’m only good for four shots because, after that, it’s all downhill and karaoke and blackouts. So now I have limits. Back then, my limit was when the bar closed.
During that time, I got the weekend biscuit making gig at McDonald’s. It was pretty perfect. I would get to work at 5am and make a shit ton of biscuits, put them in the cooler or freezer, I really can’t remember, and then I would clean up my mess and go home. I’d be napping by 2. It was really ideal. Especially for a person who didn’t leave the club until 4:30 or so. Back then, we had an after-hours club called The Boiler Room. Not only was it a dingy, kind of scary place with strobe lights and questionably dirty couches, it was also BYOB (bring your own bottle) so if you weren’t done drinking by the time the bar closed and you could get to the gas station for beer before they stopped selling, you could bring your beverages into this club and continue the party.
I never really took my own alcohol in there because I’ve always been a liquor drinker and usually by the time the bar was closing, I was already walking in blackout territory. Back then it was Brooke’s Long Island Iced Teas that made my world go round. Now it’s just straight vodka with an ice water chaser. It doesn’t go down like Kool-Aid, but it gets you where you’re going and it’s easier to stop.
Many a night, I would go to O’Charley’s on the strip. They had a DJ on the patio, a small dance floor, and $5 drink specials (poured by the infamous Brooke) that even the cheapest man could afford to buy you. I’d drink, dance, drink some more, and then a lot of times, I would get in my car and drive the 2 miles to McDonald’s never giving a thought to how the world would change for my family or anybody else’s if I wrapped myself around a pole or around some unlucky fool who was on the road the same time as me. Luckily, I never killed anyone, died, or even wrecked. And then I would lay my seat back, close my eyes, and wait for someone to come knock on my window and wake me up. Then, I’d go inside, wash my hands, put on my apron and make the best biscuits those old people have ever tasted, “so buttery, and cooked just right.” Their words, not mine. And so, I’d make the biscuits, still drunk from the night before, but to perfection. Then I would clock out and go home to sleep until I woke up and did it all over again the next night. Every weekend for 2 years straight that was pretty much my life. Until one day the reality of my “problem” hit me.
I wanted to go out, but I told myself I wasn’t going to drink. I got to the club and it was no fun at all. I dipped out with one of the DJs who took me to Denny’s to eat because he said I looked green and then we had a long conversation about how I thought I was an alcoholic because I couldn’t be in a club and just have “a” drink. I had to keep having them until I was to the point of no return. And so I stopped drinking. Which led to not going to the club anymore. At least not every weekend. I still went out once a month or so. And when I did, I still drank in excess usually. And I still made bad choices.
But during those days I had a handful of guardian angels. One of them was a UT football player who I think was named Rob. I knew his last name back then. He was a freshman. He was too young to get in the club. Sometimes they would let him in, but other times they wouldn’t. It depended on who was at the door. Many times he would drive me home and make sure I got in my house ok. Never ever would he try to take advantage of me. He never stayed and I never knew how he got back to campus after driving me home on the days I didn’t work.
In hindsight, that’s probably the guy I should have kept around. And if his last name ever comes back to me, I will definitely find him on Facebook and thank him for saving my life (more than once).
I have so many memories from back in those days. Which is kind of odd because I don’t keep alot of memories in my head. But maybe next week I’ll tell you about the time Taye Diggs ruined my life.