This past weekend, I met with my ataxia friends for lunch. Our conversation covered a lot of ground, but it touched on the topic turned to “drunkishness”, and how we Ataxians can seem drunk, when, in fact, we are far from it.
With that inspiration, I’ve decided to write about some experiences when a police officer approached me for being “drunk” in public. By the way, is that a crime?
During the mid to late 80s, I misremember the exact year, in small town Maple Ridge, BC, at a time when there was no public transportation. I was most likely in grade 9.
One day, I was apparently playing hooky from school, I did this often enough, what child of the 80s did not? Anyways, I was walking from my high school to town for reasons lost in the mists of time. I was trudging on 124th Street, at the time, a back road without sidewalks, most likely there were ditches. I was dressed like a tough guy; oversized hiking boots, a “tough” jacket of probably a black & red mackintosh that all the “tough:” kids wore, with a jean jacket without sleeves. I, obviously, was wearing jeans, I believe I was also smoking.
Now, I’m trudging on the street, most likely in street! Probably meandering from side to side, jiving to AC/DC or The Headpins on my Walkman. I noticed that a car pulled in front of me, it was a cop car, I hastily ditched the cig into the ditch and took off my headphones. At this time of my life, I was more hard of hearing than deaf, and used my voice to communicate with. My vision had deteriorated to a point where I was unable to drive. My balance was probably a lot better than it is now.
Anyhow, the cop got out of the car and was talking to me, I doubt I actually heard him until he was standing in front of me. “Have you been drinking?” was his question. My answer came pretty quickly, we were already standing less than a foot apart, as a breathy “Not today” with a full olfactory assault of Benson & Hedges Deluxe, plus my breakfast, not to forget a the snacks I had. In other words, I assaulted the cop with my bad breath. I hadn’t become practiced in brushing my teeth daily at this junction of my life.
Luckily the cop was finely skilled in detecting Crown Royale, Molson, and Jack Daniels. He took a step back, more than two if I recall correctly. And said, after a breath of fresh air enriched his lungs, “I think you’re right! I also think your boots are too big and they are making you walk more crookedly. I’ll bring you back to your school.” Or something to that degree, for I forget how I actually got back to school, but I do remember telling someone and spending the rest of the afternoon zipping around in socked feet. I don’t think I told my parents!
This incident taught me to quickly establish the breathy “Not today” retort, which, you will read, came into play at a few other “drunk & disorderly” situations.
Next up: The Mall Showdown…