So I'm feeling slightly guilty that I may have lured some readers to yesterday's post with a tantalizing title for a memory about folded laundry. I thought I might make up for that by making a confession. It's not crazy juicy, but--except for a few potentially scandalous stories involving romance--it's about the best I've got.
(Note to Mom: I suspect some of this will be new to you. Please don't panic. It was more than 30 years ago and I'm okay. And if you read through to the end of the post, you will know you were right to trust me as much as you did.)
Generally speaking, I've been a Very Good Girl pretty much my whole life. I learned early on that if I have integrity and don't break the rules, I have better relationships and so much more freedom.
But for a few weeks my junior year of high school, I did not want to be a Very Good Girl. I wanted to know what the parties were like. I wanted to cruise around with some of my friends who were edgier than I was. I wanted to know why they wanted to drink and smoke.
So I started to cross over into that world. I went to a few parties. I cruised around with my girl friends. I tried to drink beer a few times. I smoked some cigarettes. (I had already been scared straight from trying drugs because I'd read Go Ask Alice. Yeah, it didn't take much.)
Things started spinning out of control very quickly.
The first party I went to, which happened to be next door to a couple who attended our church, was broken up by the police. The next morning at church, the couple joked with me about being at the party. Of course they assumed I wasn't there. I remained silent. [Update: My mom reports the couple saw our car at the party and suspected I was there. So funny! And so much for thinking I got away with something.]
I ended up getting a ride home from the next party in a crowded car driven by a guy I didn't know, who may or may not have been sober. At one point I looked down at my feet and realized there a gaping hole in the floor of the car. I could see the pavement speeding by. A close call on so many levels. I was lucky.
Then one night I was driving around with my friends in my parents' car (no drinking, by the way), and we decided to stalk a boy that one of them had a crush on. We knew he was with a bunch of his friends, so we drove by the house they were in over and over until we got their attention. They came out to see who we were. We sped off laughing, then turned the car around to see if they were still there. The next thing we knew, the passenger side window of the car was shattered. Someone had thrown something, maybe a bottle. I pulled the car over, got out, and--steaming mad--chased the boys into the woods. They got away. We called the police, but when the officer questioned me, I realized I couldn't snitch. I told him I had no idea who might have broken our car window. And when I told my parents the story, I left out the parts that implicated my friends and me in any way.
At one point during this time, I went on a school trip and some of our antics resulted in two of the boys in our group kicking a hole through the door of our hotel room. Though I wasn't directly responsible for the hole in the door, I wasn't exactly innocent either. I had, for example, climbed from our fourth floor balcony over to theirs, sneaked into their room, and filled their beds with ice. The teacher in charge absolutely lit into me and accused me of being the ring leader (which, I confess, I took as a compliment despite feeling thoroughly chastised).
In just a few weeks, so much danger and destruction and run-ins with authority. No freedom in that! And even worse, at least in my mind, I found myself being less than honest.
The turning point came when one of my friends called to ask me to go to a party. I was babysitting my younger sisters and said I couldn't go. Could I at least give her a ride? She tried to convince me it wouldn't take long, my sisters would be fine without me, and my parents would never know.
Some friend. No way. Rebellion over.