Friday, February 24, 2006

The Red Wine Story

I briefly mentioned this episode in an earlier post, and then thought, why not? I might as well share this story with you all.

So when I was about 16 or 17, I used to volunteer as an usher at the theater downtown. On Saturday afternoons, I'd put on my white shirt and my black culottes (don't laugh), and head on down to help little old ladies find their seats.

One afternoon, after ushering for a rather dull chamber music performance, a couple of friends (E and L) and I were hanging around the theater. Eventually, everyone else left, and we were pretty much the only ones there. So, being good, respectable young women and pillars of our community, we checked to see if the concession stand, which sold wine and beer, was unlocked.

It was.

We snuck in and drank a six-pack on the premises. And then we smuggled out a huge jug of cheap red wine in E's coat. We drank the wine pretty quickly, ditched the evidence, and proceeded to walk around downtown, completely drunk off our asses.

In the town where I grew up, there is a college set right between the downtown area and the neighborhood where I lived. In our case, this was very convenient, because it meant that we could wander across campus in the direction of home and probably not be seen by any of our parents who might happen to be driving downtown. So, that's what we did.

I vaguely remember laughing really hard and falling down. (Actually, I have a lot of memories of laughing really hard and falling down. There was not much else for high school kids to do there in the '80s. A regular Friday night activity was - I kid you not - to walk up and down one of the main streets in town. For fun. Usually we'd stop for ice cream, but walking around, smoking cigarettes and sometimes pot, and drinking beer was pretty much a good night, especially if laughing really hard and falling down was involved.)

Anyway, so we made our way, giggling and staggering across campus. At one point, we reached a frat house, and I don't know whose brilliant idea this was, but I ended up "Christmas caroling" even though it was probably March. And as soon as the guy opened the door, I fell down.

(Note: If you're noticing a pattern of stupid behavior - young, drunk high school girl in potentially dangerous situations - then you're more sophisticated than I was at 17.)

Fortunately, I had apparently chosen a harmless frat, so we were soon on our way. I did manage to make it home, even though my friends took off to get to their own homes on the other side of town, leaving me alone to find my way for the last several blocks (and I did get lost, even though it's really not the sort of place where getting lost is possible). But I had barely made it through the door when all that wine started to do its worst, and...well, let's just say that I did not drink red wine again for about a decade. And to this day, I still don't like it.

So, that's the story of the red wine. Every time I tell it, I feel like I should really send the theater $20 to pay for the booze.

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