Frumpy Mom: The delightful feeling of being drunk
Marla Jo Fisher writes the Frumpy Mom column each week.
Last night, I went out to dinner and had more wine than usual, due to neural disturbances caused by motherhood.
I seldom drink these days, so I felt pleasantly woozy when I got home. I even had transient feelings of love for the offspring who was causing me grief, although that quickly passed.
And my small buzz reminded me of the first time I was ever drunk.
Now, I don’t know if you personally have ever been soused, but here’s the thing: It sneaks up on you, right? The first time you drink too much, you are likely to get stupid drunk, because you don’t know what that feels like. There are no trigger warnings until it’s too late.
As a teenager, I lived on the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico. My father was stationed there with the Air Force. The purpose of our base was to keep a fleet of B-52 bombers available in case they had to dash over and bomb Cuba. This was shortly after the Cuban Missile Crisis, so this seemed like a real possibility.
While I was in high school there, I developed a small crush on a ridiculously handsome College Guy named Rick. During the summers, he worked as a lifeguard at the pool, and we got into the habit of chatting daily. I’m pretty sure he had no idea about my crush, because, as I mentioned, he was a College Guy, i.e. way out of my league.
All the college-age kids would leave the island to go to university in the States, but they’d return for summers and holidays. So Rick went back to college after the summer, and I didn’t see him again until he came home for the Christmas break.
I ran into him one day shortly after Christmas, and he invited me to a New Year’s Eve party being held sans parents at the house of another College Kid. It wasn’t a date. Just an invitation.
I wafted home 10 feet off the ground, in love with the idea that a College Guy had invited me to a party. This was the pinnacle of my lifetime social achievements at that point.
So, on New Year’s Eve, I l told my parents I was going to the teen center, knowing that never in ten hundred gazillion years would they ever let me go to a party with college kids.
I walked to the party – none of us had cars and you could walk everywhere on the base – and arrived to find Rick already there. With a pretty college girl as a date.
My life as an innocent ended at that moment. Crushed and devastated, I contemplated leaving, but then a couple of other partygoers invited me to dip into the large bowl of Planters Punch.
Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever had Planters Punch, but it’s as sneaky as a…well, it’s just sneaky. It tastes deceptively like ordinary punch, but it actually has two types of rum in it, including one that’s particularly deadly to brain cells.
Rum was exceedingly cheap in Puerto Rico because they grow a lot of sugar cane and make it there, especially on an Air Force base where you didn’t pay any federal tax, so that’s what everyone drank.
I wasn’t a stranger to rum. My friends and I had been going off-base for some time to “rum shacks,” where no one cared how old you were and the rum-and-Cokes were strong. But I’d never had more than one. I’m sure it goes without saying that the parents had no idea we did this. Usually, mine were asleep by the time we got home.
So I stayed at the party, drinking rum punch, chatting with the College Kids and generally feeling like quite a social success.
Then the world started spinning and my vision blurred. I had no idea what was happening. And I suddenly had to empty my stomach. I stood up shakily and stumbled to the only bathroom (those houses were small). It was occupied. I kept knocking insistently, attracting everyone’s attention.
Just as the occupant finally opened the door, my mouth opened and … yep. You guessed it. I’ll spare you the sordid details. I was stunned and mortified.
I looked up and, to my horror, there was Rick. He had taken his date home and returned to spend time with me.
Instead, he helped clean me up and suggested that he should drive me home. Which he did, and he was a perfect gentleman. When I got out of his car, I was somewhat concerned to see the lights still on in our tiny living room, which meant that my parents had not gone to bed.
There was no way I could get to my bedroom without walking right past them. Well, the alcohol fumes reached them even before I did, and I spent the next hour being grilled about which college kids were having this party – and how did I get invited?
My dad wanted to go over there and break up the party and maybe break up a couple of the guys, too. I kept telling them that no one tried to take advantage of me, and if they made a scene, I would jump off the cliff near our house.
Finally, they let me go to bed. In the morning, I was grounded for life. But I didn’t even care, because I’d never felt so sick in my life. Being eaten by crocodiles seemed like a good solution to make my head stop pounding.
My parents never believed me when I told them it was the first time I’d ever been drunk. They figured it was just the first time I’d been caught.
Our relationship deteriorated after that episode and didn’t really improve until I went away to college myself.
And, sadly, I never saw Rick again. Maybe he saw me and ducked out of sight. I don’t know. But like most embarrassing incidents, it eventually turned into a funny story. I still like rum today.
Hey, want to meet me? Come from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. today, Sunday, Aug. 6, 2023 to Lake Balboa, Anthony C. Beilenson Park, 6300 Balboa Blvd. Van Nuys. Look for me under a tree near the playground. Bring a lawn chair if you want to hang out. Just say hi, buy a book or get your book signed.
I’ll be having another meetup next Sunday, Aug. 13, also from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Creekside Park, 25743 Stonehill Dr, Dana Point. It’s right off the 5 Freeway. Same deal, by the playground. See you there!