RERUN: And When I Land...
RERUN: Unsmooth Criminal

RERUN: Driving While (Barely) Intoxicated

(Originally published on May 29, 2002.)

Bachelorette parties are raucous and rowdy, though they don't garner the tales of lore associated with their counterpart, the bachelor party. True, none of us girls are doing lines of cocaine off a stipper's tit, except in LA or in the rarest of cases, but brides-to-be too want their last hedonistic hoorah and invite thier closest girlfriends to participate in the debauchery. And you thought it was white gloves and tea cakes.

The night began at the Bound'ry, Nashville's trendiest restaurant right now, where the waiters are rude and the wine servings are nearly eight ounces. The menu is pricey, so as women often do, we kept dinner light and had tastings of this and that rather than entrees for all. After three generous glasses of wine with dinner I was feeling rather warm all over, with a looser tongue and morals and such. Upon leaving the Bound'ry however, I realized my ride Melanie had surpassed me in the shit-ay department and I figured I should sober up pretty quick, since the prospect of Melanie driving home was crumbling.

We carpooled to Bourbon St. on Printers Alley where cocktails were cold (one for me), the blues was hot and the boobies were everywhere.

We laughed and danced and acted like a bunch of lamers in retrospect, but while the rest of my group descended deeper into drunkeness, I actually began sobering up. I was tired by the time we made it outside and was glad to be on the road home to Murfreesboro.

Melanie and I trudged back to her vehicle, an SUV, and packed it in for the 35-minute drive home. We hit 21st Avenue going 43 miles per hour, I would later learn, in a 30-mile-per-hour speed zone. I discovered this just after after an officer of the law ran out onto the road on foot and asked us to stop the car.

Immediately I became nervous because I could smell the cabernet on my own breath. He asked for my driver's license and after rooting around in my wallet I pulled it out, along with 2 dozen business cards, stamp books and loose phone numbers. Then he asked me to back up in the middle of a busy Nashville highway near an interstate exit and pull into the parking lot. Since Mel's automatic SUV is completely different from my standard shift, economy car, it isn't surprising that I put the car in park rather than reverse. After I successfully pulled into a parked position I was asked immediately to step out of the car.

Just as I stepped onto the pavement, hard droplets of rain poked me repeatedly on the head and forehead but I didn't recognize the ominous foreshadowing that so clearly presented itself. Nope, I was confident I would be back on the road in no time.

I was asked to follow a pen with my eyes, without moving my head, which I did skillfully for what must have been minutes. Then Officer Cox (I am not making this up) instructed me to walk a painted line, one foot before the other, turning after nine steps then repeating that process in the direction I came. Wearing thin, strappy heels I asked to remove my shoes and was granted permission to do so. This left me standing in ever-growing puddles in pants too long for my bare feet. I made do, and walked the plank like a good, sober girl.

And for my last trick I raised my left leg, straight out, and counted to 20, adding the "one-thousand" part after each number. Sometime during this battery of motor skills testing, Melanie leans out the passenger window to yell "You are doing good, girl!" I believe she is under the assumption I need some cheerleading, but as you can imagine, it had a negative effect on the events.

It was then that Cox informed me I've done well on my field sobriety test but that he has reason to believe I am intoxicated and forces me (really) into the back of the police car.

This is the point during which I kind of seperated from myself in order to deal with what I was facing. The only thing I could think of at the time was a jail cell full of mullet-having motorcycle women with tears tatooed beneath their eyes and hate in their hearts for goody-two-shoes girls like myself. The words the officer spat at me became wavy and despite my driving pulse, I tried to employ some mediatation techniques to create calm. It sort of worked.

I agreed to take the breathalyzer because my other option was spending the night in jail, and well, there was no way in hell I was going to volunteer to go there. And besides, I'd had my last drink over two hours ago--I was confident I'd drive away from there after passing with flying colors. Thing is, they don't grade on a curve.

Coxface tells me I'll have to wait 20 minutes before blowing, because a recent drink of alcohol could skew the results higher than is accurate. Twenty minutes felt like 20 years and I asked the officer how much time I had left. "Thirteen minutes," he told me, grinning, and I softly began to cry.

"Why are you crying?," he asked, doing his very best smart-ass. "Stop it." "Dry it up," he demanded and I knew I'd get no slack from this motherfucker. At night he dreams of becoming a drill sargeant.

I nearly puked on myself from the heat in the cop car and the weight of my situation. Finally, thankfully, I could take the BAC.

I blew into the tube for ten full seconds, only to learn it would take 3 more minutes for the results. I bit my bottom lip and cried as quietly as I could into my lap and waited for my verdict.

.085

I had the right to remain silent, I heard that part, but the rest washed over my ears in a warbly tone. I was issued a DWI, which carries a 500 dollar fine, as well as a ticket for an unchanged address on my driver's license and a citation for Melanie's not having proof of insurance.

After asking Mel to take the BAC to determine whether she could drive the both of us home, and scored a very impressive 2.0, we finally secured a ride home from my sister. And although sweet Melanie will be helping me with the burden of my fine, I feel beaten and downtrodden since my run-in with the lawman. I'll have this dirty smear on my record for the next five years, and a second DUI/DWI will land me in jail for 45-days.

Please, people, keep your children away.

Comments

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I think this was one of the first stories I read by you and it was one of the ones that convinced me that this is the writing style that you should concentrate on. It's a really great story and I still feel sorry for you. But please don't drink and drive.

If you would have hit and killed me with your car I wouldn't be "barely" dead. You broke the law and got caught, suck it up and shut up.

Poor David, you should avoid playing in traffic if you want to avoid being hit. The laws regarding DUI/DWI are becoming increasingly ridiculous. One person's 0.08 can pose an serious threat to everyone on or near the road, while another person may register a .10 and drive better than you ever could. Most of us know a few drivers who would never be able to obtain a driver's license if they were expected to meet any serious standards of skill behind the wheel.

In a sane world, drunk driving in and of itself would not be a crime, but driving poorly would. If a teetotaller hits and kills you with her SoccerMommieMobile, you are just as dead as you would be if you drenched yourself in gasoline and lit a match...although the latter situation might make for a better photo op.

BTW, I've never been so much as stopped on suspicion of DUI (speeding is another matter, however). I have been nearly killed at least once by a bad driver who was likely drunk or otherwise under the influence of drugs. He drove away and none of the witnesses could ID him or his vehicle. I crawled out of the wreckage that was my new sports car, a bit bruised but essentially unharmed. That surpised and disappointed at least a few of the folks who saw the rather spectacular sight of my car going ballistic over the two oncoming lanes of a divided freeway, strewing wreckage for over 100 meters along its path before it came to a stop against the frontage road fence. I'm sure they would have had more interesting tales to tell if they had found a corpse bleeding all over the interior of what was left of the car, instead of me climbing out of the broken driver side window in a dazed sort of way.

If you want to improve your chances of living longer, wear seat belts and learn how to drive well. It works for me.

Zen Zone

Poor David, you should avoid playing in traffic if you want to avoid being hit. The laws regarding DUI/DWI are becoming increasingly ridiculous. One person's 0.08 can pose an serious threat to everyone on or near the road, while another person may register a .10 and drive better than you ever could. Most of us know a few drivers who would never be able to obtain a driver's license if they were expected to meet any serious standards of skill behind the wheel.

In a sane world, drunk driving in and of itself would not be a crime, but driving poorly would. If a teetotaller hits and kills you with her SoccerMommieMobile, you are just as dead as you would be if you drenched yourself in gasoline and lit a match...although the latter situation might make for a better photo op.

BTW, I've never been so much as stopped on suspicion of DUI (speeding is another matter, however). I have been nearly killed at least once by a bad driver who was likely drunk or otherwise under the influence of drugs. He drove away and none of the witnesses could ID him or his vehicle. I crawled out of the wreckage that was my new sports car, a bit bruised but essentially unharmed. That surpised and disappointed at least a few of the folks who saw the rather spectacular sight of my car going ballistic over the two oncoming lanes of a divided freeway, strewing wreckage for over 100 meters along its path before it came to a stop against the frontage road fence. I'm sure they would have had more interesting tales to tell if they had found a corpse bleeding all over the interior of what was left of the car, instead of me climbing out of the broken driver side window in a dazed sort of way.

If you want to improve your chances of living longer, wear seat belts and learn how to drive well. It works for me.

Zen Zone


This is exactly what I expected to find out after reading the title RERUN: Driving While (Barely) Intoxicated. Thanks for informative article

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