Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I remember driving my friend, Jon....

We had come into Vancouver from Langley to see Grapes of Wrath play at the Luv Affair. It was 1985 or so, and the Grapes were "the next big thing". Jon was old friends with the Hooper brothers from the Kelowna days, and I was excited to see them play. We parked about a block away from the space, and I was hopping to get in there. Jon pulled out a bottle of some sort of liquor, I don't remember what...."Want some?"

Oh, brother, what a nuisance. We were going to miss the band! I took a small swig, then passed it back. "Come on, Jon, lets GO! They will start any minute!"

"You go ahead. I want to drink for free out here instead of paying what they charge for drinks in there. I'll be there in a minute."

I left him at the car and ran into the club. The Grapes put on a good show, played all my favorite songs...but where was Jon? They were finishing the show and I realized that Jon was still nowhere to be seen! As they ripped into their encore (a hilarious version of "Smalltown Boy" by Bronski Beat), Jon came stumbling in. He was tanked!! Gassed! He could hardly walk!! Even more incomprehensible to me, he had missed the entire show! I helped him up to the stage so he could say hi to his friends. Tom just started laughing at him, slapped him on the face, hard...and Jon just wobbled and smiled. "Thish is my frien', Tom." Tom thought it was the funniest thing, slapped him a couple of times just because Jon wasn't stopping him. Nice guy.

It was then that my dilemma hit me. Jon drove us there from Langley. We both had an 8 AM class next morning. Jon was too drunk to walk, let alone drive. I did not have my driver's license. I didn't know anyone in Vancouver. I began explaining all of this to Jon as we made our way to his car. I had to explain it a few times before he got it. I was NOT going to drive to Langley at 2:30 AM, an almost hour's drive on a big highway.

"Jon, do you have a friend near here? Can you direct me to a friend's house?" Once he understood that he had to navigate, I started up the car and began driving. Yikes! I kept playing over and over in my mind what I would say to the policeman who would probably pull me over, how I had to drive so Jon wouldn't kill us both. The trip took awhile because at every corner I had to ask Jon if this was where we turned, and then he'd have to think about I would slow down. I was quite freaked out!

We made it to Jon's friend's house, probably 3 AM. I had to knock on the door of a stranger in the middle of the night, hoping it was the right house, hoping he actually liked Jon enough to let him in and not just slap him and laugh at him like his friend, Tom, at the show. Thankfully the guy was still up. I explained the predicament to him, and he agreed to let Jon sleep if off for a few hours. As soon as Jon hit the couch, he passed out.

Now what? Here I am with a complete stranger, watching our mutual friend sleep. It was awkward. I don't remember his name, but he made coffee and we sat up talking the whole night. I wish I could remember what we talked about. I'm sure at least part of the conversation revolved around the folly of drunkenness!

I shook Jon awake at 6:45 AM and made him drink a bunch of coffee. He drove us wearily back to Langley and we both made our 8 o'clock class. This would have been a great lesson for me, as I couldn't believe Jon had missed something so great as a concert for something as lame as would have been a great lesson if I had learned it. If you search through the archives of this blog, you will find many examples of me doing pretty much exactly the same thing. I guess instead of a lesson, it was foreshadowing....and I should have considered myself warned.


Pondering Pig said...

I must admit I've been kind of wondering when we'd get to the part where you fry your brains! Now I see that you've already told it, but I must have been out on the balcony. Guess I have to root around in your archives. You're a good storyteller, Paula.

Commenter said...

Driving drunk people around is interesting. I drove a soon-to-be friend home drunk in his car on New Years. It was pretty weird, since I had to be pretty aggressive to get him to even let me drive. Thankfully, he wasn't as tanked as Jon was, since he could still tell me where he lived (and he had told me the road he lived on before he had gotten as drunk as he did before I decided it was time for him to go home).

Driving him home, then waiting for another friend to show up in my car so I could get back to her house was so strange, because it wasn't awkward at all. And now we're friends.

Thankfully, I had my licence and didn't have all that far to go. Driving with no licence in the middle of the night in the city with a drunk guy would be so nerve-racking! Glad you made it back okay.


Spoke said...

I won't even begin to speak of my premeditated-attempted-murder attempts behind the wheel (or handlebars) while impaired. Thats what it is though, isn't it?
No, I'll mention Jon...That guy is "funny" when he is straight. He must have been ruddy amusing while bent.
Incidently, I wouldn't have liked the slapping fiasco either, Jon is too nice to slap. I hope I wasn't an ass in the past to "Jons".

delynne said...

paula! I'm so happy to find your blog and be entertained so well! :) I ditto the pondering pig - you are a very good storyteller!

Funkyewe said...

So...did you stay awake during classes that day? Hats off to you for getting back on time. Jon was lucky to have a good friend like you!Love the story.

RC said...

I really thank this is a very interesting and well told story, thanks for sharing it Paula.

--RC of