36 North Park Row

By , Erie, PA
So its pretty obvious now. My lives a joke. I've realized that the soul purpose for my existence is God's amusement. I know I sound like a typical angsty teenager right now but it's the only remaining reasonable explanation. This is the only way to explain the events in my life the past year. It's not possible for anyone to be this much of a f*** up without a little help. Everything that could go wrong does. The downside to everything becomes my reality. Finding a four leafed clover is supposed to symbolize good luck right? Well, seeing a picture of me should be notorious for bad luck. The once innocent and whimsical game "Wheres Waldo?" will one day become "Oh S***, I Found Her." Where am I going with all of this? To tell you the truth I'm not so sure myself. So lets rewind a couple of months.

My senior year was coming to an end and my friends and I wanted to celebrate. Our school has a senior camping trip. Its sort of a senior send-off, our last hurrah. My friends and I were psyched but I wanted to go out with a bang. The thought of partying at camp Notre Dame with my fellow classmates sounded great but the thought of constant supervision was off-putting (plus we had to sleep outside, where the wild things are -- spiders that is). And whats a party without any alcohol? Now I know what you're thinking, this is where I went wrong. I'm to blame for harvesting such an evil thought and letting it manifest into a nightmarish reality, but take a step back. At what age did you have your first drink? I'm sure I wouldn't be wrong in assuming it was before the age of 21. Kids in high school drink, and maybe to your surprise, engage in a plethora of illegal activities, so in my opinion you should be praising me for limiting my idiocies in my teenage years. But this isn't a story to try to convince you that I'm a good person, this is a story about how my one vice came back to bite me in the ass (yes I actually just decided where this story was going).

Can you blame me for wanting to have a little fun? I mean I think I deserved it. I was finishing my last year at the number two school in Pennsylvania (we kept getting outscored on our AP tests by some preppy private school in Philadelphia). These last four years I felt like I was getting abused by 600 page text books, a lifetime of homework and all the knowledge that the world contained. I wanted a prize, and my senior send-off was going to be just that.

Most of my friends decided they didn't want to miss the "once of a lifetime" camping trip, but two friends and I decided to rent a hotel room. Why did we need a hotel? Well you see, we wanted to drink all night without having to worry about coming home and trying to explain our drunken stumbling to our parents. These friends had very christian parents. For some reason most christian parents don't approve of sleepovers. So they convinced their parents that they were going camping to say goodbye to their senior class where there would be more supervision than they could ever imagine. Because this camping trip was actually happening, they even had the "the school isn't liable if your child gets injured" form to present at their parents point of inquiry.

So we did it, we got the room, and much more alcohol than we could handle courtesy of a certain coworker who shall remain nameless. The plan was to get all fancied up to exude the adulthood that we had newly stumbled upon, go out to dinner, invite a couple guys over, drink and watch The Hangover (watching a movie about a night of drunkenness, while intoxicated, knowing that this movie might become your reality the next morning sounded hilarious, but I may have been under the influence when I came up with the idea). Now before you question my morals again, we invited these guys because they were good friends, no one was going to have sex that night, it was a strictly platonic co-ed get together with hormone enraged teenage boys, girls in stiletto heels who were a little less clothed than our parents would've approved of, and lots of alcohol. Well it may not come off as innocent as I would like but I swear our intentions were pure. Plus they were the only friends we had who wen't camping.

The night started off great. We rented The Hangover, went to Wal-Mart to get a cake congratulating ourselves on graduating, checked in and started getting ready. Getting ready included pre-gaming. Pre-gaming is a term we used when we were going to drink before an event that had an after party. So it was kind of like getting tipsy, sobering up, then getting drunk again. I can't explain to you why no one could think of a better name for this activity.

We had plenty of hooch to go around so there was really no holding back. I will admit I had a little more alcohol than I could handle. So much so that when we got to the restaurant I blacked out (don't worry I didn't drive, we had a DD). I was told that at the restaurant I was conversing at a volume meant for an IMAX movie theater. I started laughing, then crying and then laughing again. Then I challenged myself to eating my pasta without any utensils--or my hands. One of the waitresses tipped us off that the manager had called the police. We threw our money on the table and hustled to the car, stilettos in hand. The manager ran after us and tried to persuade us to stay. We apologized and listened to her for a bit but her plea for us to stay and wait to be apprehended didn't sound very appealing so we left. We were scared as hell but we got a good laugh out of it, even if the manager didn't.

One of the few things I remember from the night was apologizing to my friends for the entire ordeal. I felt completely responsible for the near run in with the cops at the restaurant and I told them that if anything happened to anyone that night I would have their backs. If one of them went down I was going down with them. I expressed the sentiment repeatedly. This may have just been me trying to fulfill my need to be sentimental when I'm inebriated, but I wholehearted meant it. "Drunken words sober thoughts," right? That meant I cared about them, I would take a figurative bullet for them (maybe a real one if I was intoxicated enough). Unfortunately the favor wasn't returned.

Once we got back to the hotel the party started to heat up, or so I was told. I passed out for the remainder of the night. I made it to a whopping eight o'clock. I was woken up at about two in the morning by a police officer. I was covered in vomit (which I later learned wasn't my own). I looked around and the hotel room was completely trashed. The TV was smashed, the window was broken, and there was blood everywhere. I couldn't find my friends, the only one in the room besides the police officers, was some kid I had never seen before. I immediately thought the worst and started bawling. I was rushed to the hospital because the officers struggled to wake me from my drunken slumber and they assumed I had alcohol poisoning (I didn't. I hold my liquor very well thank you).

My dad had to pick me up from the hospital. He wasn't very pleased. He informed me that I was going to be charged with underaged consumption of alcohol, my license would be suspended and I would have to be represented in court to accept the charges, which meant an ass-load of legal fees in addition to the cost of the trashed hotel room. The next morning I learned what had actually happened to my "friends." After hearing different versions of stories from the previous night, the friends who went camping called me and told me the only version of the story that seemed to make sense to me.

My friend invited her ex-boyfriend and he brought along a friend, Alex, both of whom I didn't know. They also brought along more alcohol. By this time the room was probably flooded with booze and Alex seemed intent on drinking all of it. Someone joked about the cops coming and Alex, with his heightened sense of emotion compliments of his plastered state, freaked out and punched the TV, maybe mistaking it for the window, then found the window, broke it, and proceeded to jump out. We were on the second floor. Fortunately for him, he survived the jump, but my friend freaked out and told her ex to grab the other friend and get the hell out of there because someone had now actually called the cops. Everyone scattered and my friends found a new hotel room. When the cops came I was the only one in the room, they eventually brought Alex back to the room after they found him running along the highway (he told them he was going for a jog, bloodied and without shoes). The details about why no one got me out of the hotel room are still being disputed. The party friends said that they couldn't wake me up so they just ran. Which raises the question, if you struggled to wake me up for so long why didn't you think something more serious was going on? I could've been dead for all they knew. Granted, calling 9-1-1 would've busted the party and gotten everyone in trouble, but which is worse, explaining a dead girl to the hotel owner, her parents and the rest of the world? or facing the cops? Their answer: "we were too drunk to even think straight, everything got so intense so fast, we didn't know what was going on."

My camping friends told me that the party friends drunk dialed them and mumbled something about leaving me and cops and another room. They believe that they only got each other out because they went to church together (the last people you'd expect to be backstabbed by) and if one of them gets caught they both would go down because their parents knew they were together. Kinda sounds familiar right? I told them I had their backs no matter what and I wouldn't let them go down alone. They kept reiterating the fact that they were too wasted, but devising a complete escape plan that included evacuating someone and packing up your belongings requires some sort of competence. Something keeps telling me that if there was time to emancipate one person there was time to free us all.

Long story short, I'm facing the consequences of a night that I wasn't conscious for, while my friends and a few strangers who were participated get off scott-free. I don't know if I will ever know the truth about what happened that night. You would be correct in assuming that we aren't close anymore. I know I can't change what happened and I'm not one to hold a grudge but with good reason, I can't see us attending any parties together in the near future.

I got my summons in the mail and through an act of God (don't think I've changed my mind on this whole God hates me matter, the story isn't over), the magistrate let me off with, ill admit, a slap on the wrist. He actually pitied me after hearing the story and reading a letter from my dad explaining our family's rocky year (I won't go into any detail). He referred me to an ARD program and after paying a small legal fee and tuition for the classes (the fact that they refer to the fee for the underage drinking program as "tuition"is laughable) I would get to keep my license and the charges would be dropped. Thankfully Alex agreed to pay for the damaged room. I payed the legal fees and now all I had to do was show up to the two, three hour long Saturday classes. I'm assuming for three hours they ramble on and on about why drinking is bad and how much trouble it can get you into (a concept everyone in the class is obviously familiar with considering we've all been apprehended). I say assumed because I missed my first class this morning. I was actually excited to get this over with and put this whole ordeal behind me. The class started at 12:00 and I arrived twenty minutes early. Actually I should say I arrived in the area twenty minutes early. I spent twenty-three minutes driving around the same few block trying to locate this place. The street that the program was located, North Park Row, was only about two blocks long, but because the area is comprised of nearly all one way streets, it seems like you have to drive around the entire city if you miss a turn and want to go back to your starting place. My smartphone's navigation confused me even more ( I don't know if this is a reflection of my phone's intelligence or my own) and once I actually found the place, I couldn't get in. It was 12:03. Erie's DUI program (like I said I wasn't driving, but the DUI offices handle all alcohol related programs) is apparently very adamant about the "students" arriving on time.

So even with God gracing me with the opportunity to have all of this essentially erased from my record, keeping my license, and coming out of this whole situation alive, I still manage to screw that up--by three minutes. I guess if I hadn't found 36 North Park Row at all I wouldn't be as pissed. But I did find it. Three minutes later. I also wouldn't be as pissed if the 36 posted on the building wasn't so large. (I'm still considering the idea that the address was mounted on the building by God's own hands somewhere between 12:00 and 12:03).

Theres obviously nothing I can do about this three minute time discrepancy. My only concern is the boldfaced warning printed at the bottom of my "class schedule" stating that failure to appear to my scheduled classes would result in the court exercising jurisdiction being notified and additional fees being charged. I tried calling to reschedule and explain that mounting 36 North Park Row on the building once I would be denied admittance was what I consider to be cruel and unusual punishment which is frowned upon by the US Constitution, but the offices were closed for the weekend so no one answered the phone. Hopefully no warrant for my arrest will be issued between now and Monday. I should probably leave a message…





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