Re: 'On The Road'

10/12/07 - posted by jb

For me, Ken, it is more of an apology than a thanks. The last weekend before starting our Junior year, 4 of us went to "buy up" at a store in the Haight. 3 of us scored some brew and Mike, the driver, bought a pint of vodka. He passed out at the wheel of his grandma's 64 Corvair and we hit everything on the block until finally, a dumpster stopped our forward progress. We did what any good friends would have done...we ran and left Mike passed out at the wheel, all of us amazingly unharmed.

We start to hitchhike to the party and here comes Mike, in the Corvair which is limping like Chester, and he stops and yells..."Come on, get in, let's go to the party." Not 2 seconds later, a squad car pulls us over, toss Mike in the back of their vehicle and begin to question us. We do what any good friends would do...we say he's a guy we know from school and he just picked us up hitchhiking. Mike gets out of the cop car and keeps yelling "I gotta go to a party with my friends" and they toss him back and lock the door. He proceeds to puke all over the back of the squard car and now, they are taking him in, no matter what.

We do what any good friends would have done...we go to the party while Mike spends the night in jail because his folks won't bail him out. The highlite of this party, as I recall, was watching s senior named Ron Pappas, remove beer bottle caps with his teeth.

About a month later, the 4 of us get called to the prinicpals office to meet with agents from the ABC and are forced to testify at a hearing "downtown" against the two Mid-Eastern market owners who sold us (and countless other kids, many from SI) the liquor. Like in the cartoons, I can see firey daggers dancing in their wide-opened dark eyes and I am sure a Saif will wind up in my back when I am least suspecting it.

I did not drink alcohol again until I turned 21 in college. And it was the last time I ever flaked out on a friend. But as the wounds of childhood stay with us forever: I still feel a sharp pain and watch my back closely whenever I near Stanyan Street.

The Western Neighborhoods Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.