Drinking, Dancing and Driving

I am a happy version of a designated driver. Instead of abstaining completely, I drink two glasses of wine per dancing event.  I drink early and then stop.  I do this for two reasons. #1 — I am a lightweight with alcohol. #2 — I need to drive friends that drink more than I do.

I am five feet, nine inches tall. My girlfriends are shorter than I am. They claim that, in theory, I could drink more than they can because of my height. All I know is the last time I had a third glass of wine, a guy I was dancing with thought I was going to become his girlfriend. Not good. After that, I won’t take a third drink, even if it is free.

I know when the alcohol has worn off. My whole body starts to hurt. My buzz is gone.It’s back to reality of being a pre-Medicare senior.

So the rule of thumb is, pick up girlfriends, drive girlfriends to the event that involves drinking, take girlfriends home, take self home.  No one gets pulled over. No one gets a DUI.

When a girlfriend met me at a bar forty minutes from my house and followed me home after dancing till midnight, I was too exhausted to think about whether or not she should be driving. Maybe when she kissed the bass player I should have suspected. But I was tired and wanted to go home, and she had brought her own car, and you can guess what happened just fifteen minutes into the drive back to my house.

So when another friend showed signs of intoxication on Sunday night, and when we needed to drop her at her car, and when she circled the small parking lot three times not able to figure out how to get out of it, I realized she was not going to find her way home without some help.  We called her on our cell phone and told her to follow us, and we drove all the way back to her house (about a mile) and watched her pull her car into her garage.  Then and only then was I willing to leave her. One friend with a DUI is enough for one year.

I know quite a few friends who have been pulled over. I don’t think I could recite the alphabet backward at noon after a glass of ice tea, let alone at midnight after having danced my a#$ off for three hours. I don’t think I could walk a straight line either, with my flat feet and weary legs. In other words, I would flunk the sobriety test based on physical ability.

I know better than to argue with a policeman. I did that once on the 4th of July, and the guy bit my head off and ruined the parade for me. All because my family had picked a primo spot and he wanted us to move. As soon as we did, another family swooped in and took our spot. The policeman never came back to yell at them.

I hope I don’t jinx myself by writing this blog post. I have never been pulled over except for one moving violation in Omaha 35 years ago when I was late for my ceramics class and got into the left-handed turn lane sooner than I should have. I was stuck in horse-race traffic, where I had just finished my summer shift. $35.00 was a lot of money back then, half my day’s earnings.

But I digress.  In the era of Uber and Lyft, there is no excuse to drink and drive. Try telling that to petite women who have managed to elude DUI’s (for decades) and who have impaired judgment and think they can drive just fine. It’s a delicate dance of helping them make a smart decision without sounding like their mother.

Couldda Wouldda Shouldda

I should’ve told my girlfriend to Uber to her car in the morning. Come to think of it, I did, and so did another friend, and we both let our girlfriend talk us out of it. She had a good reason. She was in a permit-only lot in the BART parking lot with no permit (allowed on Sundays), and she would’ve gotten a big fat ticket on Monday morning.

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