Have you ever been in a situation where you had every intention of making the responsible choice, but ended up doing something stupid anyway? Well, obviously I have or I would be regaling you with tales of me eating my vegetables and paying my bills. Instead, I’ll tell you a story of when I had absolutely no intention of drinking and ended up in a quagmire of inebriated decisions.
The story starts one Sunday evening several years ago, when my buddy AJ and I were hanging out watching movies. We had both outright said to one another “I don’t really feel like drinking tonight” (this was a huge deal for both of us at that point in our lives). And we fully intended to stay that course until we got a phone call from a friend saying he was having a party. Being the social butterflies that we are, we could not skip out on at least making an appearance (and gracing/disappointing everyone with our presence). And furthermore, we couldn’t reasonably show up to the party and not have at least a couple of beers. So, the plan was set, we packed a small cooler with just a few beers and headed out to say a few quick hellos at the party.
Things quickly spiraled out of control from there. We walked around and said hi to everyone, sipping on the few beers we had brought with us. The first problem was that the beers were tasting especially good that night. The second problem was that somebody challenged us to beer pong, and there was no way in hell we were going to back down from that challenge (we’re kind of professionals). After running the table for a little bit, we were finally edged out in a match. With our honor on the line, we knew that we would have to challenge and defeat the team that bested us; however, we were officially out of the beers that we had brought. We made the executive decision that we would have to get more beers, then return and take back our title as beer pong champions. We hopped in AJ’s truck and went back to his house to pack another, much larger cooler.
Once we returned to the party, all bets were off; we were in full-on party mode and the beers were disappearing quickly. We took back our title in beer pong, then moved on to flippy-cup, then joined in on an impromptu dance party and I believe at one point I was riding a tractor (though some conflicting reports suggest that I was just sitting on a lawnmower making engine noises with my mouth). Needless to say, we had failed in our initial endeavor to spend the night not drinking.
At a certain point, I become extremely aware of two things. First off, AJ was talking to a cute girl. Secondly, it was extremely late and I had to be at work in the morning. These two bits of information combined in my mind and offered up the realization that I needed to go home. However, being the great friend that I am (debatable), I knew that I did not want to barge in on AJ’s conversation and demand a ride home. Instead, I decided that the absolute best course of action I could take would be to run home. It is worth noting that the party was at a house out in the country, about 3 miles away from my own house. It wasn’t a huge distance to overcome, but definitely a longer trek than I should have been attempting at that point. I have absolutely no idea how far I actually made it, but I recall being in mid-sprint down a dark country road when my phone started ringing. It was AJ.
AJ: “Ryan, where the hell are you?”
AJ: “Where are you running to?”
AJ: “Where are you at? Stay there; I’m coming to get you.”
Me: “It’s cool. I’m just running.” *click*
I continued running across fields at my blistering, drunken pace until eventually AJ found me trudging through a ditch. As he drove alongside me, I looked over, waved at him and cheerily said, “Hey dude! What are you doing here?” AJ told me to get my dumb ass in the truck and I obliged, climbing in next to the girl who he was talking to at the party (way to go, AJ!). After a short drive, AJ pulled up in front of my house and I rolled out of the truck onto the lawn. Immediately, I hear a voice say, “What the hell is wrong with him?” I look up to see me dad standing on the front porch dressed in his work clothes.
Me: “Why are you still dressed for work?”
Dad: “Because I’m going to work. It’s 5 a.m.”
With that, I walked straight past him into the house to get what sleep I could (I was scheduled for work at 7, things were not looking good). I set my alarm and flopped down in my bed, still wearing the clothes that I had just recently christened as my new jogging attire. I woke up 3 hours late for work, completely naked on my couch with 21 unread text messages, 34 missed calls, 9 voice mails, and my friend Düdders banging on my door (this was back when we both worked at the grocery store in town; he was sent to make sure I was still alive). Fortunately enough for me, I had never been late for work up to this point and wasn’t really known as a partier by my co-workers, so they were legitimately concerned and not angry at my tardiness (it also helped that I never told any of them that I went out drinking the night before…but I guess the cat is out of the bag now). In fact, in the panic over my missing work, Düdders had even called my dad asking if I was okay (my dad didn’t rat me out and I told Düdders to never do that again ever).
When I got home that evening after work my dad stopped me in the kitchen for a little talk.
Dad: “Get a little drunk last night?”
Dad: “Have some trouble getting to work?”
Dad: “You gonna do that again?”
Me: “Never can tell.”