bring the pain
As I was driving through the evening commute, or as I like to call it, navigating the seventh circle of hell, my mind began to wander, pondering days gone by.
I used to live at the beach. Not on the beach, mind you, but in the general vicinity. The little town of Calabash, NC. Just 2 minutes from the South Carolina border. A mere 20 minutes from Myrtle Beach. A hop skip and a jump from Santa Fe Station. We had learned long ago that this was one of the places to be. Decent food, live music, and the Long Island Iced Tea pitchers (discounted during happy hour).
This was prior to marriage, prior to children, prior to any “real responsibility”. And due to the fact that we were living at the beach, we would routinely have visitors. And New Year’s Eve was no exception.
I don’t recall the exact details as to why I was the first one to get to the restaurant, but there I was, sitting alone at a table built for 12, having just placed my order for 4 pitchers of Long Island’s. Of course, by the time the rest of my “party” had arrived, I had already plowed my way through one of the pitchers and was making a concentrated effort on the next one in line as I ignored the evil glances from the patrons unlucky enough to be forced to stand. All the while totally enjoying the space that the large table I was at provided for my multiple pitchers.
Excessive alcoholic beverages and live music are not a good combination for Kevin. Kevin likes to think that he can dance. Kevin also starts talking about himself in the third person. (consider yourself lucky that he hasn’t started using a Mexican accent yet). Bet you didn’t know that I was School of the Arts dance geek, did you? Well, the “dance” and “geek” part of correct. Apparently, when plied with enough alcohol, I think that I have rhythm. And apparently, if viewed by anyone on the same level of intoxication, it appears that way to them as well.
But this particular time of the evening I did not feel like dancing alone. So I grabbed one of my friends, Kelly. All was going smashingly until I got the bright idea to spin Kelly. And spin Kelly I did. Right onto her face. But not noticing my faux paus, I finished that marvel of dance much the same way a matador would spin, raising his arms above his head in triumph. Not really aware of what was going on, my other friends (future wife included) picked Kelly up and ushered us both out in the hopes of avoiding being thrown out of the establishment.
You’ve heard of the blind leading the blind? Well, that’s got to work better than the drunk leading the drunk. I’m fairly certain that Kelly was on the same level of intoxication that I was, but it was my job to hold her up as the remaining friends scrambled to call a cab. But how did I manage to walk out with a full Corona in my hand? Not one to look a gift beer in the mouth, I just whispered a thank you and took a swig as we swayed in the breeze.
Now, I’m not really sure what happened next. Somehow, both the bottle of beer and the drunk girl slipped from my grasp. And then everything seemed to move in slow motion. My head moving back and forth, trying to make a rational decision as to which falling object to make a grab for. Unfortunately for Kelly, I chose the beer. Unfortunately for the beer, I moved too slow. Both crashed to the ground, one with a thud, the other with the unmistakable sound of breaking glass.
This is the point where I think the cab pulled up and it was time to go. Now the friends that were with me obviously aren’t that bright as they once again put me in charge of Kelly and tell me to get her in the cab. This turns out to be a disaster as I can’t tell if the door to the cab is open or shut, yet still persist in trying to throw Kelly into the cab. You guessed it. Another thud. This time, instead of pavement, it’s the steel door of the cab that her head hits.
Of course, the entire story had to be retold to me the following day as my memory of that night seems to be a bit blank. But the best part was after that weekend, once Kelly had gone home. When her father asked her why she had a black eye and was all bruised up. He thought that she had been attacked and it took quite a bit of convincing on her part to assure him that that was not the case.