...okay, sometimes I'm still a fucktard. Shut up. In fact, I think the entirety of my 20's can be written off as a long series of frequent stupid decisions, slowing down into less-frequent-but-still-not-bright decisions in my 30's.
A good friend of mine is in Missouri right now, and it made me think of when I lived there. After a bit of a breakdown, I moved in with my folks for a while to recoup. Missouri was not exactly the most fun place I've ever lived, plus I was living with my parents.
This was so long ago, of course, the details are fuzzy in my mind. Right before I left Colorado, that dickhead who moved out while I was at work got back in touch and wanted to try long-distance until I was ... I don't know, better? ... and the plan was that I would then move back to Colorado and we would be together and la la la happiness and flowers and crazy people. I was all about it. I was desperate to be loved and wanted and whole and was basically insane.
Who was surprised when he pulled another disappearing act? Sadly, only me. It didn't take long for him to stop answering or returning my calls, to block me on AIM, to just drop off the face of the earth without a peep. Now I was in Missouri with no friends, no job, nothing to do, and now no hope for this stupid false relationship I'd been clinging to like a blind bloated tick.
EVERYTHING IS RUINED FOREVER.
Yeah, I was pretty much that dramatic. Of course I was! Because I was playing Life Failure Bingo and I was winning like a blue-haired old lady at the casino with 14 cards and a blotter in each wrinkly hand. Never mind that I still had: (A LIST!)
- plenty of friends I could chat with online or talk to on the phone any old time
- my awesome cat
- my health (in fact, I gained 15 much-needed pounds living in MO)
- parents who loved me enough to not only let me come live rent-free with them for as long as I needed, but also came to get me when I was incapable of existing on my own anymore
- parents who also loved me enough to loan me a couple thousand dollars and a night of calling credit card companies to help get me started digging my way out of crushing debt
- a paid-in-full, working car
- any number of other things that many people in this country don't have and that I was taking 100% for granted. Because: WOE IS ME.
So there I am, living in a master suite in a nice house with no rent, eating amazing home-cooked meals, hanging out with a happy dog, watching movies all night with my cat, chatting online with friends all day, and feeling extremely sorry for myself. I eventually got a part-time job at a used video games/movies/music store, but I still wasn't connecting with people that I could hang out with.
There was a girl around my age who worked with my dad - I think she was a secretary or something - so he decided to introduce us. She insisted I come out to some bar with her and her boyfriend and their friends. I have this vague feeling that it was somewhere around Valentine's Day so things were particularly bleak for pitiful me. Just bear that in mind when you judge me for what's coming up. BLEAK. PITIFUL. WOE. These are key words.
I remember being at the bar and feeling overwhelmed, so I definitely had a couple of drinks. I may have done a shot - I probably did. I remember I was talking to some guy and I thought he was pretty cute. I remember that I was desperate - desperate for attention, affection, admiration, [other a-words?]. And I remember that I was kind of drunk. Not sloppy blackout drunk (I've never been that far gone), but pretty tipsy.
The guy walked me to my car, and I remember we made out there in the parking lot until someone - and I'm pretty sure it was a cop - flashed his headlights at us. I said I couldn't drive and I, being the brilliant, sad, tipsy, desperate person I was, totally agreed with him that he could drive us to his place and I could hang out until I was sober.
I know, I know. Classic.
(quick defense: I was 24, but I didn't go out to bars or booze-filled parties in college, and I was married from 21-24 so this was really the first time this line had been used on me.)
Here is where things hit that fuzzy point between "I made really, really, really bad decisions" and "if someone does something horrible to you, it's their fault for being a horrible human being." I should have made better decisions. Please note the title of this post. I'm not pretending here.
He's driving my car. I'm okay with this. I didn't quite know where I was, being brand-new to the area and also being geographically challenged to an alarming degree.
Just a few blocks from the bar, we get pulled over. I think he ran a red light, but I don't quite remember. He starts freaking out - his license had been revoked for some reason or another. Now I'm freaking out because what the hell? Next thing I know, dude is getting arrested. Right in front of me. While I'm standing there, still very tipsy and now confused and scared. There are two cop cars now, and handcuffs, and oh god. My parents are pretty anti-drinking, and would've been asleep, and how could I explain that some guy I met an hour ago had been driving my car and was now arrested and I need them to come get me? A mere month after needing them to drop everything and come get me from another state?
My car was pulled over into a parking lot (whether he did that or one of the cops did, I couldn't tell you, but there are parking lots everywhere in Missouri). One cop car toodled off with my would-be suitor and the cop with the other car asked if he could drive me somewhere. Oh HELL no, I am not getting dropped off at home by a cop! I asked if he could take me back to the bar where my "friends" were, but he said legally he couldn't do that. Instead, he called a cab, and let me sit in the back seat of his car while we waited.
Now I'm tipsy, scared, and sitting in the back of a cop car.
And of course, I ask the cop how many people barf back there. In fact, I think that was my first question. He assured me it was cleaned regularly. Then he asks where we were going and I told him the guy was taking me to his place so I could sober up. I guess when they booked the guy, he had to tell them where he lives, because here's where this shit gets really scary: when I told the cop that, he gave me a funny look and said the direction this guy had been driving us? Not even remotely the way to the guy's place. "I don't know where he was taking you," he said firmly, "but it wasn't there."
OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD
I try not to think about that night very much... what might have happened to me, had he not run that red light. Rape? Murder? Nothing? Since we hadn't gone very far, I thought it was surely possible the guy had just made a wrong turn and it could've been the way, eventually... but the way the cop looked at me, the way he said "I don't know where he was taking you..."
I'm kind of getting twitchy remembering what bits of that night I can remember - it was almost 10 years ago, and I'm pretty sure I'd blocked it until just recently.
The rest of the story isn't so exciting... I rode in a smelly cab for the first time in my life and it cost me about $2. The girl who worked with my dad had left the bar, so I got a ride home with 2 of her friends (for the record, Crazy Arrested Guy was not someone she knew). One of them kissed me when he let me out of the car (2-door, so he had to get out to let me out of the backseat), but I dodged his calls afterward even though I thought he was cute. I called the girl (I couldn't tell you her name now if you paid me - I think we talked maybe 3 times after that, mostly her asking why I wouldn't go out with her friend who'd kissed me) and told her if anyone asked, she and her boyfriend drove me home. The story was that I'd left the bar all by my lonesome, but after a couple blocks felt like I was probably too tipsy to drive safely, so I pulled over and called her. You know, like a good, smart, safe person. My parents accepted this story and drove me to my car the next day. All was well in the world.
"I don't know where he was taking you..."