Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Myrtle Beach, The Pill, The Beer & The Face Fire

Every year in Durham, NC, just as soon as school lets out, a massive migration takes place. Teens aged 15 to 19 (and lots of college kids) head to Myrtle Beach, SC for a week of drunken debauchery. At least they did back in my day. My first time was the summer after my junior year. My high school boyfriend insisted his was going to be an "all guys" house and I would have to make other arrangements. My only real female friend did not run with my crowd, which was all guys, so I was in a tough position. Using my powers of persuasion I talked 3 girls from my girl's chorus class into going in on a room with me. As this was all pre-internet, I honestly wonder now how I went about arranging for this room. But I did. My guess is someone probably gave me the name of this well-located motel and I just called information. It did end up being VERY close to the boyfriend's cottage. And of course, I only slept there the first night. I have a very vivid memory of being in the room alone that first afternoon. I was sitting on the floor and reached into my powder blue hard-sided Samsonite for my very first ever birth-control pill. I took it with a gin and sprite I had made. Even at that tender young age I appreciated the rich humor and laughed aloud (something I still do A LOT - laugh out loud I mean).

I don't have many vivid memories because of all the drinking and pot smoking but I remember a few things. I remember one night Chief and I were cleaning the guys' cottage. I don't know why we were and I don't know where the rest of the guys were, but somehow we got on this cleaning kick. I was a big drinker, although I smoked pot, but that was all I did. Chief however was doing speed and was moving around the cottage like a hornet. I was mostly cleaning the kitchen and cackling like a crazy person at Chief's rapid fire conversation (monologue?) I think we really bonded that night because for years we would ask each other, "Why were we in there cleaning up?" Neither can remember.

The biggest event from that trip happened one afternoon. I'm guessing I had run up to the room to P. Another good guess is that I was probably now out of gin, because I was empty-handed. It was a 2-story motel and we were on the second floor. The room door opened to an outdoor "porch" that ran the length of the building with metal railing. There was one stairwell at the end that led to the ground. One of the more popular guys from my school met me halfway as I was descending. He blurted out, "You like beer?" I did not like beer. I was a typical girl and drank weird shit like gin and sprite or Malt Duck. But because it was this particular guy and I was hot and thirsty and losing my buzz, I said, "Yeh." He handed me an ice cold beer. I think it was a Schlitz. I took a big swallow and thought, "Hey this is alright!" That was the day I became a beer drinker. I'm drinking one right now.

Another big event happened one night on the porch of the guys' cottage. This guy from another high school that we all knew from pot smoking or buying or whatever was sitting on the porch about to do a "Flaming Whore." This involved filling a shot glass with 151 proof rum, lighting it, and drinking it. There were probably 10 or so people on the porch. So this guy, I think we called him "Bones," lit his glass, tossed it back and basically threw the burning alcohol all over his face. Screaming commenced. That wasn't the interesting part. The interesting part was the response from the crowd. The guy sitting next to Bones, Bill, (still a friend), and Wells, (also still a friend), immediately went to his aid. Bill pushed Bones' face down into his lap and Wells threw a towel over his head. Everyone else ran screaming into the night as if being on fire were highly contagious. Except me and one guy, that is. We did absolutely nothing. I remember feeling as if I had turned to stone. My boyfriend was standing to my right and he too had frozen solid right on the spot. We talked about that for years. Although we were totally worthless we still felt we had the right to laugh at the people who ran screaming. I'd like to think that today, I would help out. And thanks to Bill and Wells, I know what to do. Bones was okay. He had 1st degree burns and spent the rest of the week peeling his face and staying out of the sun.

No comments: