I always thought I had a good "woke up drunk" story--you know, an entertaining story about a funny place I woke up after a night of drinking. And I do have one--but as usual, my friend Josh makes me look like a lightweight.
First, my sordid story. Many years ago, my friend Becky and I went to Warrensburg (about an hour from home) for a street dance. I don't remember much of the dance, except that it wasn't as much fun as I'd hoped. Okay, perhaps that can be attributed to the fact that I got too drunk to enjoy it. At any rate, what I do remember is waking up in the middle of the night to the feeling of cold rain pelting me in the back. Hmmm--how odd. Was there a leak in my bedroom ceiling? A groggy, cursory inventory of the situation revealed that I had passed out face-down on the sidewalk. In an alley. About a foot from the open door of my car, where my keys were in the ignition and my purse was on the seat. It was 4 AM, there was no sign of Becky in sight, and I had those little bitty sidewalk pebbles permanently lodged into the flesh of my right cheek.
Incredible--could it really be that I was stupider and more careless than I had previously realized? I made a mental note to add this to the tediously long list of things I had done that I would crap myself if my future kids ever thought of doing. (And in case you're wondering, no, I don't drink like that anymore. In fact, that's the only time I ever did anything that stupid.)
But then there's Josh's story, which makes my drunken evening sound like an afternoon spent volunteering at an old folk's home.
One night he was sleeping peacefully when, from the depths of his very sound sleep, he thought he heard some kind of knocking sound. Hoping it was a dream, he tried to ignore it and settle back into his deep slumber. But the knocking sound continued, and as his fuzzy brain floated nearer and nearer to consciousness, the noise got louder, eventually revealing itself to be a very obnoxious banging indeed. Irritated to be yanked out of his lovely sleep, Josh angrily sat up and prepared to locate and punish the maker of the sound. Looking to his left, he quickly spotted the source of the commotion: Someone was rapping on his window. But why? What could be so important that he'd need to be awakened in the middle of the goddamn night? Squinting, he realized it was a cop. What the hell was going on here? And what was that infernal honking sound?
That's when he noticed he was in the back seat of a car.
At a stoplight in Kansas City.
And his brother was passed out in the front seat, with his head on the steering wheel, laying on the horn.
But while that part of the story is strange indeed, perhaps the strangest part of is that the cop let them go. Somehow Josh convinced him that he was refreshed from his nap and able to handle the driving that his brother had so clearly been unable to. But don't go thinking Josh gets away with everything--he did, after all, get a DUI on a moped once. If I remember correctly, he was only driving the moped because he knew he was too drunk to drive a car, and was hoping to avoid a DUI by driving the moped instead. But as he eventually discovered, the law is no kinder to drunks on mopeds than drunks in cars.
His thinking wasn't totally flawed--in my teeny tiny hometown (about 30 minutes from where he got his two-wheeled DUI) there is an old man with a bit of a drinking problem. He has been in trouble with the local cops so many times for driving drunk that he finally either agreed not to drive his car anymore, or perhaps his family intervened and took it away from him. More likely, he lost his license long ago. At any rate, he no longer careens drunkenly around town in his car. Now he does it on his riding lawn mower. There are seven miles of highway between my hometown and his favorite bar in the nearest teeny neighboring town, and he can often be seen traversing them, at the rate of a crippled turtle, on his riding lawn mower, on his way to happy hour. As far as I know, the cops don't object to this.
What have we learned from this story?
1) An alley is a perfectly safe place to sleep, where your car, your purse, and your virtue will remain safe from pillagers and plunderers.
2) Cops in Kansas City are sympathetic to the plight of the public napper.
3) Drunk on a moped = jail time. Drunk on a lawn mower = quaint slice of small-town life.