For some reason my mind decided to think back to the last few days of my youth. It brought me back to the final days of high school, and to my prom specifically.
It has been a very long time since I have given any of this any thought, and all that I remember now is that one, beautiful bottle, of Peach Schnapps.
It was the first bottle of alcohol I ever bought. It was also the first time and the last time I ever put Peach Schnapps in my mouth. If I look carefully at my life after this moment in, I might reach the conclusion that I have also consumed less peaches over the years.
I remember myself as a nice, sky, innocent kid. I had never been drunk in my life. I had a sip of something here and there, at Christmas or during Easter, but never in large qualities, or without family.
I must admit that prom was fun.
We decided to fight the romantic pressures of finding a date by going stag. There was twelve of us in total. Six girls and six boys. We both bought a table separately and by default decided to hang out and dance with each other. I don’t remember doing any dancing. That would come much later at University and involves a sexy shirt and some tables.
We rented a decent hotel room, somewhere close by, and filled the bathtub with ice and all kind of goodies. It was really pretty to look at it. Unbelievably exciting.
The whole experience of my new freedom and adulthood was amazing. My ability to make my own decisions, like buying Peach Schnapps, felt like a great promise of things to come.
And they came.
I learned that alcohol and the propensity to being cheap is a lethal combination.
When you come from an oppressive and poor country to a country of wealth, cheapness is not really that difficult to develop over time. It has been a curse in my life ever since, but I’ve been steadily fighting it and winning. You would be proud to know that I stand victorious, on most occasions.
I had a deep philosophical dilemma that evening.
As much as I pretended to be independent, at some point the next morning, I had to face the reality of finally going home. There was no way in hell I was bringing back bottles of booze, back to my house, like it belonged in my possession.
My family has always struggled with alcohol, and this would have been very immature, if not insulting.
This is cheapness comes in.
If you cannot bring back the leftovers, and you are too cheap to pour the rest out, there is only one solution, and that is to drink it all.
That is exactly what my naïve brain did, having to experience of future consequences.
At first everything was amazing. I was light on my feet. Giddy. Happy. Everything was funny and comical. People were laughing at my witty jokes. Hanging on my every word, or so it seemed.
I was at the top of the world.
And then it all turned.
I couldn’t run to the bathroom fast enough. And that is when the real laughter started. There I was, in a Buddhist, meditative position, hunched over the toilet, contemplating my wretched existence, and desperately trying to see if I was smart enough to create a time machine.
I wasn’t. But there was nowhere to go but through.
The ride home the next day was horrific.
I took the local bus for a whole hour, but because it was Saturday morning, the traffic was light, and the anxious bus driver wanted to teach me a lesson. He drove the bus fast, or faster, over every pot hole and every crevice he could find. This did not sit well with my suffering insides.
When I got home I went straight to bed, and I think I slept until Monday. My parents never mentioned it, nor did they try to help me in any way.
I vowed to live a monastic life from this point forward, but that didn’t happen either.
Looking back, I realize that there is a great lesson here somewhere.
Cheapness is definitely something to watch and poverty is not much better.
What I learned the most that day, is that no matter what your shit is your shit. We are free to choose whatever it is we think we want, but win or lose, the consequences of our actions are all ours. They are the only thing we can claim as our own.
Peer pressure is a bitch.
It is the underpinning and foundation of all great stories. One day I will recount how I came to have the Goodyear name impressed upon my forehead, in the early hours of a frosty morning.
I have great sympathy and feelings of immense pride looking back and embracing that awkward young man. I am very glad he helped to shape me who I am today. Despite everything, I don’t miss the Peach Schnapps.