High school was kind of terrifying to me. I had a good grip on grade eight (student council president, valedictorian–sorry if this intimidates you, but I was a really big deal) but in high school I never really felt comfortable in my own skin. I apologize for the cliché “if I only knew then what I knew now” bit, but I just need to say I would have done a few things differently:
- I wouldn’t have spent my first week of grade nine wearing pigtails in my hair because I wanted to be known for something, and “pigtail girl” seemed the best route to go.
- I wouldn’t have been so afraid of boys. Though if I had that kind of confidence back then I might not be who I am today, and probably wouldn’t have this t-shirt, sooooooo …
- I would have spent fewer lunches in the library.
- I would have been invited to parties.
Now don’t get me wrong, I was toting some residual grade eight-ness. I had a lovely group of friends and was (I think) well-liked (or else I was surrounded by a bunch of phonies). Since I was a very dedicated dancer and had practice every weekend and almost everyday after school, I was sheltered from what I’ve heard is the typical high school experience–sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Correct? This sets the stage for one of my most memorable high school moments: Getting drunk for the first time.
The first time I tried to get drunk, I didn’t even get a buzz. It was with a group of girlfriends in the basement of one of their houses. We varied in age and the older ones were just knocking them back like it was nothing. I sat there holding a shot of vodka just staring it down, trying to convince myself it would be ok, holding it up to my lips, plugging my nose, closing my eyes…then chickening out and setting it down. This dance went on for about an hour before I took the plunge. I convinced myself (and I thought the other girls too, but looking back I suspect not) that I was hammered off that one shot. I mimicked their slurred speech. I stumbled around. I “passed out” early. To my parents: bravo. How many other teenagers in the face of peer pressure and the allure of booze would fake their way to avoid losing control?
Ah, but on graduation night I suffered a much different fate. After the ceremony and before the big grad party, my group of friends went to East Side Mario’s for dinner. I had the cheese cappelletti. Remember this fact for later. The party was held on the lawn of a graduate who lived out in the country. Lots of space. A bonfire. Camping chairs. It was really cool! And my first taste of a real high school party (sans parents, chips, and pop). Please ignore the fact that it was graduation.
The night started out great! I was in my favourite ensemble–GAP sweater and Campus Crew sweatpants–and as you can see below, having a grand ol’ time!
But look closely. I have no idea what’s in that water bottle. And am I double-fisting with a shot glass?! If I remember correctly, I carried the shot glass around so I could accurately measure one shot of alcohol into my mixed drinks, but I have a feeling as the night wore on my methods were compromised. I was loving life! I ran around snapping pictures with everyone, reminisced and told people how much I’ll miss them, jumped from group to group giving hugs and laughing…I was a regular social butterfly!
Later into the night, as I specifically recall, an evening dew descended over the grass and made it very slippery. “I love you guys sooooooooo much! Let me come over there and give you a hu” And she’s down. And she’s up! “No, it’s ok guys. I’m fine! The grass is just slipp” And she’s down. And she’s up! “Wow, the grass is so slippery!” I gave the slippery grass excuse every time I fell. I’m sure the slurring paired with my inherent trouble pronouncing s’s went a little something like this: “Guyssssshhh, the graaattttthhhh ithhhh ssssthhhhhhoooooooo sssssssttthhhlippery …” But the funny part is, I really believed it! And I still believe it! It was very late at night in June and a dew had formed on the grass! It’s science, people! The problem is, no one else was slipping on the grass. But I was a hit! People love watching other people fall, and I welcomed the attention.
I’m sure many of my high school chums remember my above-mentionned antics that night. This next part I had planned to take to my grave, and probably should, but it’s just too good.
I can’t even remember what kinds of alcohol I was mixing, but my resiliency didn’t last long (now is the time to recall the meal that was in my stomach). I all of a sudden REALLY needed to use the bathroom. My stomach was tossing and turning and concocting something fierce. I ran, with my feet flying out from under me, to the house to find the bathroom. I flew past the line of people inside and tried to open the door. It was locked. I was told someone was in there. I whipped around to face the host of the party and looked at her with the desperation only an impeding shitstorm could bring. I didn’t have the words, but I’m guessing she could see it in my eyes because she said, “There’s another bathroom on the other side of the house.” Back outside I raced to another entrance, found the bathroom, locked the door, and let it rip just in time. There was no stopping it. You know the scene in Dumb and Dumber when Harry sneaks laxatives into Lloyd’s drink and he ends up unleashing in the hotel bathroom? It was like that.
I let out a sigh of relief and pulled myself together. That’s when I looked to the left and, I kid you not, realized there was…
NO TOILET PAPER.
Doesn’t this only happen in the movies??!! The roll was empty. Seated on the toilet I twisted and contorted my body (thank goodness for that dance training) to search in the cabinet next to me. Nothing. No Kleenex box, no used tissues in the garbage, no magazines. Nothing. I must have sat there for a long time because someone was now knocking at the door. I was doomed.
I’m realizing now that I could have asked the person knocking on the door to get me some toilet paper. Huh.
Think, Lauren, think! I re-examined the cabinet and found a box of maxi pads. They would have to do. I was not about to soil a hand towel. With my luck, it would have been a family heirloom her great, great grandmother embroidered. THANK GOD I had the sense not to try to flush the pads (yes, plural. I recall having to use more than one), but the alternative was worse. That poor waste basket. They’re so dainty in the bathroom, too. I have always convinced myself that I wrapped the pads up well enough to conceal what was in them, but come to think of it, what the hell would I have wrapped them with?! I HAD NOTHING!!! Perhaps I had the drunken wherewithal to fold them up neatly and slide them back in the plastic packaging before carefully placing them into the waste basket? God I hope so. And if the host of the party is reading this and knows better, kindly use the same unspoken understanding you once used to help me in my hour of need. I don’t want to know. And I’m sorry.
I vaguely remember the car ride home courtesy of a friend’s older sibling. I made it safely into my house, down the stairs, and onto my bed. The next morning, I opened my eyes and all I could see was my treasured Campus Crew sweatpants, coated in mud, in a ball on the floor. I ventured outside my bedroom and was faced with my walk of shame. A trail of muddy footsteps–on white carpet–from my bedroom, to the bathroom, to the hallway, up the stairs, and out the front door. While I was smart enough to take my shoes off before coming in the house, I was unknowingly stepping on the back of my favourite pants. They were ruined.
Kids, don’t drink.