5.27.2006

Have you ever ....

...done something so blitheringly stupid you wish you could go back in time and take it back?

We've all had moments like that -- I'm sure buried in everyone's memory or subconscious there's more than one moment like that. I can safely say I have had several, but there has been one nagging at me for a long time now. So here goes ... maybe this will help get it out of my system.

I couldn't tell you the year, but if I had to guess, it would be 1984 and I was the tender age of 19. For those who knew me back then, I was a fairly heavy drinker, having discovered alcohol five years earlier at a Knicks game of all things. I drank for much the same reasons I overate -- fear, loneliness, rejection, all the bad juju.

Anyway, I was in my second freshman year at Queens College, and I was at a party, probably for something called Freshman Weekend -- a Bacchanalian orgy of booze and drugs held at a farm in upstate New York. Now, this party wasn't the Freshman Weekend bash. There also was a pre-Freshman Weekend and a post-Freshman Weekend party.

You know, teenage livers can absorb a lot of punishment. I'm living proof.

These parties were held at a house on Reeves Avenue, just off campus. I have no clue how much I drank that night ... I know it probably started with at least 12 beers. Minimum. It was a Friday night, and I was working on drinking myself into a stupor.

Later on in the night, and I don't exactly remember how this happened, but someone I was very attracted to -- I'll call her "Nicole" (disclaimer: not her real name!) -- ended up driving me home.

While in her car, I had an open bottle of Tango. This is something no one should ever drink under any circumstances. Basically, take Tang breakfast drink and mix it with cheap vodka and there you have it -- total retail value, maybe $1.69 tops.

After somehow giving her directions where to drop me off, I exited Nicole's car, bottle still firmly in hand. Stupid as it sounds now that I am almost 41, I had the biggest crush on "Nicole" since the high school days. Months earlier, I shared my first slow dance with her in a darkened room during a party, but didn't kiss her then because I was coming down with a cold and didn't want her to get sick.

A peck on her forehead was all I gave her.

Anyway, back to her dropping me off. So many things in my drunk state that I wanted to say. So many things I didn't want to hear. So much frustration in not being able to say what I wanted, or to be taken seriously. The bottle was smashed on the ground and was left out there when I woke up the next day. No one in my family said anything, but I heard over time that others in my neighborhood were eating that all up.

Many years later, I met up with "Nicole" again when she came to NYC to visit and over coffee, I told her how embarrassed I was over that episode and apologized. She said she did not remember it, much like I did not remember going to a "Battle of the Bands" event with her and some other college friends back then.

Twenty-two years later, I still wonder what if. Not a healthy way to think, sure. I guess with this blog entry, the best thing to say is sometimes go with your gut. Say the things you want, need to say instead of holding back. You may not like the answer you get, but, you may also save yourself time asking "What if?"

3 comments:

kansas brat said...

What ifs are what keep some people in our lives, dear. Just look at my fascination with PHX!

Even when we were best to give them a peck on the forehead, or gracefully exit after a night of Tango.

You would have been even more disappointed if your heartfelt declaration to Nicole ended up with you contributing vodka-based fertilizer to the front lawn. Consider at a veiled mercy.

Your moment of embarassment is better than mine. I wet my pants, in the middle of history class, in the sixth grade. Situation where I really, really, had to go, but didn't want to ask in front of everyone. So I bounced my leg, and prayed time would pass quickly.

Oh no, it didn't.... so then I had to try and act like nothing was wrong, while the telltale trickle was running down my chair leg.

Thankfully, the teacher quickly dismissed everyone to afternoon recess, and called my mother for a change of clothes. But wasn't I the popular target for teasing on the school bus? And the lunchroom, and the playground...

What really mortified me, though, was that incident coming back to haunt me in eighth grade. I was really interested in a bad boy. Oh man, I even did the trick of calling him up, acting like I was one of my friends, to quiz him on his interest. God, I was so lame!

When he finally held my hand, I was estatic! Then Retardo Monteban (not his real name, ya think? But still a painful reminder from grade school) decided to play clever. He pulled Biker Boy aside during a class break and apparently clued him in to my Peabody Potty incident.

Biker Boy gave me the blowoff (unfortunately, not like that!) shortly after. I don't remember if I exacted my revenge on Retardo or not. Could have been he left the school. He was not the brightest bulb in the pack.

Years later, I still run into Biker Boy around town. And I still break out into a geek sweat every time. He married young(er), badly, but has two adorable kids from the effort. I met his next wife at the class reunion back in 2003. She seems like a great gal, down-to-earth and fun. She was a bit older than him, and very stable. It made me smile a bit. She looked a lot like me. Or more likely... I thought she did! : P

But even in my drunken charm, I was able to leave him with a bit of wisdom. He was getting worked up, complaining about his exwife and coparenting struggles (he knows my first husband, as well). I reminded him that the children will be adults a lot longer than they will be children. If he takes the high road in dealing with the ex, and shows the children you can be civil and treat coparenting like a business, then they will realize dad is the sane one of the bunch. Which can only guarantee their loyalty to him for years to come.

Biker Boy and his mentor wife were amazed and grateful for the insight. So hopefully he still thinks about me, and calls my name. And I'll just keep myself amused with the fantasy that he wants to leave his wife and come apologize for prematurely dumping me years ago... only to beg for another chance at bliss in Lyndyland.

Bwah!

Todd said...

Yeah, it was stupid. You had to learn somehow. But at least you didn't try to rape her or anything of that sort - then you could be ashamed of yourself. You were a mess, but you were still a gentleman.

I still keep in touch with a What If or two. Maryann and I have a pact that we'll marry each other if we find ourselves single (or widowed) when we're 65. Better late than never. If you've ever watched "Waiting for God" (and I suspect you have) you should have a good idea of what that would be like.

Todd said...

My God, is that really what ESPN stands for?