St. Patty’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. Kind of like Cinco de Mayo in the way that it’s a completely borrowed celebration that has nothing to do with me or my heritage, but provides a perfectly accepted reason to drink. Not to mention, you don’t have to buy anybody anything.
This March 17th will mark the 1 year anniversary of last March 17th. And the 4 year anniversary of the following story. A day that opened my eyes to the lengths a woman will go to not have to spend the night with me. A day that gave rise to a story so rich in delight for my friends (who spent days making fun of me for it) that I suppose now, 4 years later, it deserves a blog of its own.
At the time, I was living in Birmingham. I had met a girl who I quite liked and was spending a lot of time with, but we had yet to take it to that next level. The sleepover. We both had full time jobs that were not conducive to late nights of stealing covers and cold feet, so it was seen right off the bat as not much of an option.
For those that know me, you know that it takes an act of God, or the planets aligning for me to actually find a woman that I’m interested in enough to spend any great deal of time with. Either they talk on their phone too much, watch shows like "The Bachelor," or expect me to pay a hefty amount of attention to them. But this girl, I liked. Misty. She was out of my league: attractive, successful and she had that kind of laugh that was contagious. Try as I might to find fault with her, I just couldn’t do it. So it was only natural that we make plans to celebrate St. Patty’s Day together.
And celebrate we did. It was a Saturday, so we took full advantage. I wore a green shirt with a picture of two turtles mating with the words "Slow Poke" underneath. She wore a tight, green little number with a shamrock on it. Her friends had gathered for lunch and drinks...if I remember correctly, before noon.
For you LOST fans, consider this next part my story-arc flashback. To truly understand the great irony of this tale, I need to take you back about 12 hours to the previous night.
I had met up with some friends from work the night before in a shit-hole Alabama town known as Bessemer. We were at the local Ruby Tuesday’s bar. Despite the recognizable name, the place was a bore and filled with way too many toothless people with "The South will rise again" T-shirts on. It was a place that I gladly would never make the 45 minute trip from Birmingham ever again. In fact, I made that declaration in the parkinglot as we all parted ways for the night. I let it be known that not even a beautiful woman would ever get me to come back to Bessemer again. Ever. It was nearly an hours drive. And there was nothing there. Why on Earth would I ever go back?
Flash forward, back to the green beer for lunch.
The day went probably the exact same as many peoples’ did. After lunch we went and watched some Irish bands, played some pool, sat and chatted with other partygoers. By 6pm, it was time to go. Drunk, tired and hungry, Misty and I decided to go back to my place and order a pizza. As I called for the delivery she went to the corner store for cigarettes. (OK, so I lied. She did have one major fault. But that laugh...despite the fact that it was a smoker’s laugh, it was still enough to make me over look that horrible flaw.) She would later return not only with the cigarettes, but with a case of beer and a bottle of wine as well.
It looked like my holiday wasn’t ending as early as I had though.
Now, in the mind of a man, this is all playing out very well. A girl that I am in to and who is in to me is now suggesting that we add to our drunken state. She CLEARLY must understand that she can’t drive home in her condition. Add that to the crisp, spring, Saturday night and no work the next day and you can see where this is going.
(Insert record screech here)
After the pizza and wine she insisted that she had to get home. I told her time and time again that she was in no shape to drive and even went as far as hiding her keys in between the couch cushions. But she searched. And searched. Adamant that she leave and not stay over. She ended up finding the keys and with a kiss good-bye, stumbled up the stairs to her car.
I knew there had to be a way to stop her, but tying her to a chair just didn’t come to my already inebriated mind. And with that, she drove away.
Taken moments before the premature exit. She wouldn't be smiling much longer.
As with many nights after our dates, I waited about 10 minutes for her to call or text saying she made it home ok. The call didn’t come. So I called her. Nothing still. I figured she made it home, passed out and we would talk the following day.
So, on the morning of March 18th, I called again. Her phone went straight to voicemail. I remember spending the greater part of that day wondering if she had made it home at all. Had she been in an accident? Was this somehow my fault? Should I really have tried to tie her to a chair?
Then the phone rang. It was a number I didn’t recognize. By the time I picked it up, whoever was on the other line had hungup. So I did what most people do in that situation (or not)...I did a reverse phone number look up on whitepages.com
It was the Bessemer jail.
Now why the hell would the Bessemer jail be calling me? I had been there a couple of nights before, but it had been a normal, issue-free night that certainly didn’t require any representatives from the correctional system to be calling me on a Sunday afternoon. But I still felt it best to call back. The conversation went exactly like this:
"Bessemer Jail, can I help you?"
"Um...Someone from this number just called my cell phone and I didn’t pick it up in time."
"Do you know a little blond girl named Misty."
"Is it legal to tie a drunk person to a chair?"
I was informed that the "little blond girl" would be calling me once her mandatory 16 hours were up. You see, in the "great state of Alabama," if you’re charged with a DUI, you have to stay in jail for 16 hours before someone can bail you out.
So 3 hours later I was standing at a Bessemer ATM machine taking out $80 in cash. That’s when it hit me. I had sworn off this God-forsaken place. Not even 2 days prior, I was standing in a parkinglot across the street saying I wouldn’t even come back for the wishes of a woman. And yet here I was. Back in Bessemer. Because of a woman. A woman who, only 16 hours before, insisted she not stay the night with me. It forced me to seriously consider subscribing to the "Never say Never" theory.
On the long drive home, we pieced the story together. Instead of turning left and being home in 10 minutes, she got confused, turned right and ended up getting pulled over more than half an hour later, nowhere near her place (or city, for that matter). She thanked me, paid me back the $80 I had used on her bail and we saw very little of each other after that. The DUI and ensuing record effected her job and, eventually, she had to move away. As I later found out, she had a secret boyfriend in Atlanta the entire time we had dated. Karma’s a bitch.
The moral of the story is this: As you find yourself in the throws of yet another holiday, steeped in drunkenness, come the next morning, it is better to regret who you might have spent the night with than it is to regret your choice to leave.
Happy St. Patrick's Day...no matter where you chose to celebrate it.