July 12, 2001
Not unlike many of my fellow brethren who were raised in the strip of land just North of the city known as The Rivertowns, which included Hastings-on-Hudson, Dobbs Ferry, Ardsley, and Irvington, I was introduced to the world of debauchery and extremely excessive drinking at a very early age. Having had a sister who was exactly four years older than I was throughout the entire course of my middle school experience, I basically witnessed, and sometimes part took in, an entire “dry run” of high school before I could even call myself a freshman. My mom used to work late hours, sometimes overnight shifts at the hospital, which used to force my sister into babysitting some weekends, and what happens when you take an extremely outgoing socialite and force her to watch and care for her younger brother on weekends in the summer time during the height of her social butterfly behavior? Creativity.
This led to me often being taken to parties my sister would throw at the homes in which she was house sitting, which created a “safe” environment in which I could experiment with alcohol without the worry of having to get home, allowing me to simply pass out upstairs when the time was right. What the hell were these kids thinking allowing a 13 year old to consume? I have no idea. You live and you learn, I guess.
By the time I hit my freshmen year of high school, after my sister’s class of 2000 had graduated the previous spring, my party sense was already in full swing, a state of mind shared by many of my classmates, who all found ourselves frequenters of the weekend keg parties that would occur in the fall. The Rivertowns, much like many small town communities across the country, were filled with teenagers with nothing to do who had the unfortunate stranglehold of parents who never went out and rarely took vacations that left their households unsupervised. This led to parties in the middle of the woods behind the Elementary School, where about 100 to 200 kids would usually congregate around a keg (this, of course, before the crack down of Jenine Pirro’s tirade against underage drinking made buying kegs nearly impossible for kids) where all sorts of ridiculousness would happen. I’m sure many of you can relate.
By the spring of 2001, our freshman class had gotten into so much trouble that the New York Times literally wrote an article about the “Underage Drinking Crisis” that was occurring in small town America, citing our specific town as a shining example. The Village of Hastings held emergency meetings about how out of control their children were relative to alcohol and drug use. There were Village forums where the local police department would allow the teenagers to come down to City Hall for a “no parents discussion” to get on the same page with each other. It was insane. This is what happens when the children of a community of liberals has absolutely nothing else to do.
The crowning moment of that year came one cold and rainy Wednesday in February when the school gave us a half day to allow all of the teachers to go up to the Elementary School for a conference of the entire district. Of course, this led to the brilliant decision by one of the seniors, who lived merely blocks away from the Elementary School, to throw a massive house party while his parents were out of town. I opted not to go, citing that I had a feeling that the thing would get busted inside of an hour and there would be nowhere to run… I was wrong. Instead, something horrible happened. One of my classmates decided to drink 20 solo cups of beer (at least that was the official story), became belligerent, apparently ate dog food, left the party in the freezing rain that was going on outside, tried walking to his house, but instead ended up passing out face down in a puddle within the confines of the Elementary School, only to be found as the teacher conference was ending by the directors of the art and music departments. They immediately shoved him in the back of one of their cars and rushed him to St. John’s Emergency Room in Yonkers, where my mom happened to be working at the time. By the time he arrived at the ER, he was lucky he wasn’t dead.
Teachers save lives. Never forget that.
This caused a ripple effect in our little village that sent parents, local authorities, and teachers alike into a panic like we had never seen. Still, we continued to party, our arrogant little minds citing that it could never happen to us and that the unfortunate young soul that had fallen victim to the consequences of alcohol simply could not hold his booze. Yeah, right.
As the school year ended and gave birth to many more parties, the summer season showed no change or drop in the behaviors we had part taken in throughout the previous school year. It was certainly an eventful time, now that I look back on it. I recall many nights of sneaking out of and back into our houses to go drink at the football field, running from the cops out of the woods on many occasions, and even getting choked out at a house party once by an agitated recently graduated senior who thought I said something unruly to him. Still, no event of that summer proved to be more ridiculous than what happened to me that July.
I was sitting at home one day, farting around on my 56k modem, probably masturbating to the slowly loading Internet porn that used to drive me insane at that age, when my phone rang at around 2 in the afternoon. I picked it up to hear one of my friends on the other line, alerting me of a party another friend of mine was throwing at his house while his father was away. I found it kind of strange that they were calling me, considering this person used to make my life a living hell with endless sarcasm and insults, but I quickly discovered the ulterior motive behind the call when they asked if I could bring over a blender to make frozen margaritas in. Yup, I’ll be right over.
Armed with a crappy backpack and my mother’s blender from the kitchen, I called my mother at work and wished her a Happy Birthday… Yes, it was her birthday. I took a quick walk down the aqueduct, the small dirt path that ran throughout four or so of our local river towns, and made my way over to the house of the young gent who was throwing the fiesta. My entry fee was to down a shot and I was immediately handed a beer to chase it with… at 4 in the afternoon… at the age of 14. We were pretty stupid kids.
The blender was quickly put to good use as I was shown the contents of the fridge and presented with a veritable smorgasbord of alcoholic delight that could’ve made a mid-90’s Robert Downey Jr. shit his pants with joy. At the time of the entrance, there were only about 7 of us. They were expecting many more, and were expecting just about all of us to crash at the apartment, as the host’s father was seemingly out of town for a few days on business.
Two of the kids started making the frozen margaritas and they were quickly distributed about the small gathering, which rapidly began to grow in size. The drinks were delicious and, more dangerously, went down extremely smooth, without even a hint of alcohol in the flavor. What I was not told about these drinks, or possibly just neglected to hear, was that the mix already had 40% alcohol in it, which would’ve been fine had they not added an additional half of a handle of tequila to each pitcher they made. That recipe made for a ticking time bomb, especially amongst a bunch of kids who were used to crappy stale keg beer that we had to choke down and pretend to enjoy. No, this stuff was like alcoholic candy, and it was completely free to all of us who wanted to part take.
Not realizing what we were drinking, all of us part took in more shots and beer as we drank the frozen concoctions as well. Needless to say, by 7pm, I was no longer a person. I’d been reduced to a sluggish whimpering blob on a swivel chair in the kitchen, more than likely the butt of any number of jokes. One so, I recall, and was told at great length about later on, occurred while the then hit, “Where The Party At?” was playing over the speakers and my friends kept reciting the line, “Where the Bacardi at?” to which I kept stupidly replying was right there on the counter, to uproarious laughter. I’ve never been a fan of rap.
What happened next was always a blur to me, but what I believe happened was that the party host’s father called the house to ask how everything was going, then alerted that whatever business he was carrying on had ended abruptly, therefore he was on his way home before the end of the night. This led to a massive cleansing of the house and everyone panicking. This also led to a large dilemma for myself and anyone who found themselves as intoxicated as I was with nowhere to go.
As it turned out, my mother was planning on going out to dinner with some of her girlfriends for her birthday, and was only planning on stopping home for a short time before she did this. If I could evade her for long enough to allow her to come home, change, and leave for dinner, I could slip into the house, wash the blender, and pass out undetected while she was out and she’d be none the wiser when she returned home later that night to find me asleep. Seems like a fool proof plan, right? Wrong.
Really, the last thing that I remember about leaving the now steadily disbanding party was that the backpack ripped open right as I left and began to walk down the stairs of the front porch, leaving me to carry the blender with my hands, in plain sight of anyone who was walking around in the still daylight hours that I now found myself in. I thought this could look suspicious, so I once again opted to take the aqueduct, not realizing that I must’ve looked like a stumbling drunk moron, or taking into account the fact that I had to walk through the busiest intersection in the town looking like the bottom of Lindsay Lohan’s left heel.
Picture this: you’re a suburban housewife getting ready to settle down for an evening barbecue to enjoy a relaxing summer night with your husband and kids in your home just off the aqueduct but, before you decide to settle in for the evening, you notice that your dog seems to be showing signs of needing to be walked. You opt to take the kids with you for a short walk just down one small section of the path to enjoy the fresh summer weather and, on your way, come across a stumbling drunk 14-year-old boy, weaving to avoid tripping over rocks and hiccuping to himself as he struggles to carry a still wet blender and a tattered backpack in his hands, his lips dyed a bright red from the falsely fruity contents of what he’d just been drinking at merely 7:30PM. How do you explain that to your children?
I must’ve looked completely ridiculous on that short walk home, and I apologize to anyone who had the unfortunate pleasure (or humor) of having to witness me attempting to get myself out of harm’s way.
When I did finally arrive home, I noticed my mother’s car was still in the driveway. This was a problem… this was a very. big. problem. There was no way I could let her witness the current state I was in, especially after she’d trusted me all summer not to be behaving like an absolute jackass, and especially on her birthday.
I decided to hide the blender in the bushes in front of my house, and find a safe place to hide in the woods where I could see the driveway and be alerted as soon as she decided to leave. Now, a safe place out of sight of the general public might have been a better choice, but I wasn’t exactly wearing my thinking cap at that particular moment, and I instead opted to stand, in plain sight, on the aqueduct, on a hill, against a tree, struggling to stand up, peering into my neighboring driveway. I am a winner.
I would’ve been fine had I not lost my footing and banged, face first, right into the tree, scraping very visible areas of my face. I had gotten in a fight with a tree, and I had lost. This, one of my most prominent humiliations of my youth, made only slightly better by the fact that I didn’t have to be seen like this in school on Monday.
After quickly forgetting about the fact that I was, in fact, bleeding from the face, I decided that I needed to buy myself some time to allow my mother to leave and probably get something in my stomach, so I opted to do the best logical thing: go straight into town to the deli and fetch myself something to eat.
Picture this: you’re a suburban liberal housewife out making your final rounds before settling in for a nice summer night with your husband and kids to relax, when you decide to pick up a DVD at the still relevant (but not for many more years) local video store in town. You’ve got the kids in tow and just need to wrestle them out of the minivan and get them into the store to pick out what they want to watch before they go to sleep and you and the spouse cozy up with that new romantic comedy that just got released, but as you’re getting them out of the van, out of the corner of your eye, you notice a bruised and bloodied, stumbling drunk, hiccuping 14-year-old boy trying to eat a honey bun and drink a 1/2 gallon carton of 50 cent iced tea, which have both ended up all over his face and clothing. How do you explain this to the kids?
How I did not get arrested for public (and underage) intoxication through the course of my time between leaving the party and arriving in my bed is still beyond me, especially in a town like Hastings-on-Hudson.
When I finally did get back up to my house, I could see that my mother’s car was finally gone, and I retrieved the blender from the bushes. What I was not aware of was that one of my friends had foreseen my drunken state while I was still at the party, had anticipated the sheer amount of trouble I was going to be in, and had decided to take it upon himself to wash the blender prior to my departure of the apartment, apparently right in front of my eyes as I tried to help by continually pushing the blender out of his hands and saying, “Just let the water run.”
Unfortunately, my lack of memory of this event meant that I believed that the blender still needed to be washed, but I was faced with the inescapable charge of needing to pass out right at that very moment. In my head, I believed that I could place the blender in the sink, take a quick power nap, and then wake up and wash it before my mother returned home from her night out, her being none the wiser. What actually happened was much different.
Picture this: you’re a 14 year old boy who has just consumed enough alcohol to make a three-hundred-pound linebacker shit his pants and end up in AA. You’ve just come to in your bathroom, several hours after slipping into a short coma, and are looking at yourself in the mirror as your mother screams at you and asks you what the fuck happened to your face, which you notice has significantly bad cuts below your right eye, on your nose, right cheek, and chin, and you have no idea how the hell you got the cuts, or into your bathroom. How do you explain this to your mother?