Ah, But I Was So Much Older Then….

For my school district, Spring Break at Myrtle Beach is a rite of passage. Thousands of kids pile in their cars with cases of PBR and handles of Popov to celebrate being alive. North Myrtle swarms with suburban high schoolers, dizzy with the excitement of getting drunk in a different zip code than the one they call home. We were no different.

My dad had permitted me to drive his BMW down to the beach because my car wasn’t sound for sixteen year-old highway driving. For some teenagers, this would have meant driving donuts in every McDonald’s parking lot off I-85; for me it meant we were not allowed to listen to the radio above elevator music decibel or eat snacks in the car. The Awesome Opossum told me “Being Cool is Always the Hardest Part”, should be the title of my memoir.

The stipulation of being allowed to go to Spring Break was that we had to have a chaperone. Fortunately, there was a cool mom in the group who stepped up to the plate. She also taught us how to make Jell-o shots and bought us beer.

The first night we were there, we decided to drive over to a party at a senior’s beach house. The only person who wasn’t drinking had her learner’s permit, which did not qualify her to drive my dad’s car, but did qualify her to drive seven drunk teenagers in a two-seater convertible. She was thrilled.

As we park the car, we see one of our housemates (who had arranged her own transportation, rather than exacerbate the clown car situation) drop a beer out of her purse at the feet of one of South Carolina’s Finest. Somehow, to this day, I am the bitch in this story for telling everyone to stay in the car. How seven drunk teen-aged girls could have helped that situation, I know not.

My common sense didn’t matter in the end, because the first thing she did was point us all out to the scowling officer holding her Natural Ice.

He did not look happy as he approached our car. He looked less happy to realize the person behind the wheel was not a licensed driver and less happy still when he realized the car contained enough people to reenact a meeting of the Baby-Sitters’ Club.

He made us call our chaperone, who came roaring up in my father’s car. She told him how disappointed in us she was. She told him we were grounded for all of spring break. She apologized to the state of South Carolina on behalf of our entire school district.

When he drove away, she burst out laughing and told us she was so drunk she could barely stand up to talk to that police officer.

Had she wrecked my dad’s car, I would have rather stayed in Myrtle Beach and rotted in South Carolina jail than had to repeat that story to my parents.

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