Remember Being 13 and Drunk?

My wife and I were dining at a popular Italian restaurant the other night.  As I worked through my third bowl of salad, I learned from my wife, who in college had minored in eavesdropping, that the girl in the booth next to us was 13 years old, and had accidentally been served an alcoholic beverage.  She was with her mother, who was standing up and looking around as if waiting for an ambulance to arrive.  The girl was fanning herself and looking like she wished she hadn’t said anything.

I tried to imagine what it would have been like to be 13 years old and consume an alcoholic beverage.  I became Bar Mitzvah at 13, and after the ceremony one my peers became inebriated by consuming several of the plastic thimbles that the congregation used to sanctify the Sabbath.  He spent the next few hours pretending he was a helicopter.  I think he does something with computers now.

The mother at the Italian restaurant, however, was clearly not at any Bar Mitzvah.  Eventually someone came and talked to her, a manager-type dressed in plainclothes and who looked like she was in the position to authorize free meals.  She looked to be about 25 years old.  She spoke to the mother while the teenage daughter fanned herself and tried to piece her life back together after a few sips of a weak strawberry mojito.  After a few minutes the manager left, and I figured that the woman would probably get a free meal out of the deal.  Good for her, I thought, as I signaled for another strawberry mojito.

Then another manager came and talked to the woman and her drunk daughter.  “Probably trying to get a dessert to go out of this, too,” I mused as the front-end loader lowered my entrée onto the table.

I was absorbed in stuffing my face for a few minutes, and forgot about the underage drinking at the adjacent booth.  But when I came up for air from my lasagna-cum-linguine alfredo-cum-chicken parmigiana, I saw that the mother and her daughter were still there, and that the mother had moved over to her daughter’s side of the booth, so that both were facing in my direction.  I was a little surprised they were still there, since at this point the girl must have been sober enough to drive.

Then the first manager came back and spoke with the mother for some time, and then the mother and her daughter got up and I figured, “Okay, that’s really it then.  The manager was just making sure the girl was sober and did not sustain the kind of damages that would lead to diminution in future earning capacity.”

Then a police offer walked through the front door.  And then another police officer.  I couldn’t see what the officers were doing, but I imagined it was not choosing two of the four listed sides on the menu.

I didn’t see the ambulance pull up in front of the restaurant, but we passed it on our way to the parking lot.  As we walked by, the back doors of the ambulance opened and the mother, her daughter, and a man with a button down shirt and a clipboard alighted.  I took the man to be a doctor or perhaps an adjuster from the insurance company.

My eyes locked with the mother’s eyes for a moment.  In that moment I tried to communicate all my respect for a parent who was so concerned about her child that for even a few sips of alcohol arranged for two sheriffs and an ambulance.  I tried to tell her that she was the embodiment of the rugged individualism that made this country great.

And in return, her look said to me, “Go eat your salad.”  Only not in those words.

22 thoughts on “Remember Being 13 and Drunk?

  1. 😃 absolutely too funny. Ppl are ridiculous anyway. I clearly recall being 14 the first time u got drunk. It was at The Spaghetti Factory In New Orleans for my sister’s wedding. Perhaps u should sue… Anyway, I think I just got slipped wine all night by another of my sisterscwho clearly enjoyed contributing to the delinquency – more on that later.

  2. One summer the 15-year-old daughter of a French friend came to stay with us and when we went to TGIFridays they served her a drink. She shrugged, used to drinking wine in France and enjoyed her dacquiri. I think perhaps that kid and mom you saw must not have enjoyed any sedars.

    1. The mother at the restaurant would’ve called the police if the Prophet Elijah took a sip of the wine that was left for him. Gotta hand it to the French – they know what’s important.

  3. An ambulance? That’s really sad and, unless she has some allergy or something, I fear for that child. She is going to go absolutely crazy in five years when she gets to college and has a little freedom to take advantage of. Either that or the episode in the restaurant will forever be the closest she ever gets to having fun. You might’ve witnessed the zenith of that girl’s experimental phase.

    Anyways, great post, man!

    1. Thank you so much. Now that I think of it, I think the girl did have an allergy. The symptoms were a glazed eyes, laughing at things that were that funny, and finding herself interesting.

  4. I want to start saying “Go eat your salad,” now instead of “#$%^ off.”
    hehe. Great story.

    1. Thanks EllieAnn. I bet if you said that people would think it was a real insult that they missed somehow, and would start repeating it without question so that they did not sound like they were out of the insult loop.

  5. An ambulance for a alcohol-induced hot flash?!?!? Hilarious!! I’m thinking that mother and daughter miight be looking for more than a “free-lunch”.

    Oh, and thanks for my new favorite line: “go eat your salad!”

    1. You are quite welcome. Actually, you should thank the mother for caring so much about her daughter. My wife had a theory, though, that the mother was a divorcee, and that she had to take every remedy available so that the incident couldn’t be used by her ex-husband to modify the custody award. One could sponsor a fiction contest based on the fact pattern.

      1. I think that you might be onto something there, with the fiction contest. Oh, the many twists and turns that one could go with… could be fun, if you needed a topic for a novel.

  6. My mom caught me drunk at 16 once… she made me eat Taytos and bread ’til I was stone cold sober. Then I went to bed. That mother needs to lighten up.

    Also, how does a mother not notice if her kid has been given an alcoholic drink? Strange…

    1. She definitely could’ve gotten a lot of bread. There was more bread at our table than oxygen.

      I think the alcoholic drinks were, on sight, indistinguishable from the non-alcoholic drinks. They all were made of strawberry or peach and had pieces of fruit floating in them. That’s probably how the server got confused. And fired.

      1. Ah, makes sense. I was half imagining a scenario where the kid was downing Bud lights while the mother looks on thinking “Was that what I ordered for her??” :p

  7. Wow. Now maybe I could see the medical attention if she had some blood sugar issues, but not under normal circumstances. I’ve heard of helicopter parents, but now ambulance parents? That kid probably needs a drink or two.

  8. I dont see the point of the mother over-reacting to the whole situation. Because that girl is going to turn 18 someday and we all know what that does to us lol.

  9. As the mother of a 13-year-old who recently got himself rip-roaring drunk while at a friend’s house for the weekend, I shouldn’t find this funny at all. But I do. I really, really do. 🙂

  10. I feel sorry for that girl.I really really. Do. I got drunk for the first time at 13, and while it wasn’t a blast, I sure didn’t need that kind of attention. Somebody else said she’s going to go nuts in college and I agree. What a way to teach her kid that alcohol shouldn’t be touched. She’s gonna be beyond curious now.

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