When I was in college there was nothing I enjoyed as much as a good party. These were the days before I found my favorite drunk activity: un-friending people on Facebook and forgetting about it the next morning. I was the girl who talked to everyone, who danced on sofas, who played beer pong really badly but kept on trying. I didn’t get a rep as a party girl in the way that some girls did because I didn’t party with the frats or sports teams. I partied with the people I enjoyed spending time with sober.
Issues arose, however, one fateful night in the end of January during my junior year when the party I was at got busted and I got arrested for underage drinking. I am not proud of that, but I’m not ashamed either. I was breaking the law and I got what I deserved. The punishment fit the crime (har-dee-har-har). I don’t suggest that anyone break the law if they can help it, but I will add that if you are going to get arrested you might want to do it like I did. Because I thought the entire thing was hilarious.
The party I was at got busted because my friend was yelling at his girlfriend in the driveway of the house in the residential neighborhood where the party was held. He was very drunk, and I was attempting to get there. I ended up trying to talk to him inside, and I recall that he was crying and being upset and whatnot. I tried to be supportive, but I was sort of not listening. Then my friend, whose party it was, came up to me and said “Megs! Are you 21?”
“OK, the cops are here…you gotta go. When you leave go out front through the front yard.”
I get up and talk to a few more people, put on my pink moon boots and my black pea coat and leave. I followed his directions, leaving through the back door and turning right at the end of the driveway to go through the front yard. What he hadn’t mentioned was the foot of snow that had accumulated and the enormous hill of plowed snow in the middle of the yard. I sort of shrugged and started across the yard, snow getting in the pink moon boots, and made it possibly 6 feet across when a flashlight beam hit me, and someone told me to stop and turn around. So I did.
I trekked back through the snow and talked to the flashlight-wielding policemen.
“You, have you been drinking?”
”How old are you?”
“And how much have you been drinking?”
“Too much because I’m not 21 so I shouldn’t be drinking at all!”
I laughed. The cops looked at each other.
“OK, why don’t you wait here with officer *white-noise*.”
It was pretty cold, and I just stood there fidgeting for a minute before informing the officer that I could get really upset about being arrested or see it all as a joke and keep my buzz, at which point he told me to go wait in the cop car.
Inside the car I discovered a girl I played tennis with freshman year freaking out because her 16-year-old boyfriend who was on parole and didn’t have a license was currently driving around the neighboring town to avoid getting pulled over. Then she informed me that they were engaged, and I congratulated them because I didn’t care. I took a minute to call my mom, since the police didn’t take my phone, and she was rather surprised (understatement) and told me not to say anything and she would call my friend whom I had gone to the party with who was still inside. Another passenger showed up shortly, the girlfriend of the party-thrower. It was freezing and I was sitting in the middle of them with any belt buckle devices that could have been useful shoved where they didn’t need to be, but I talked to the girlfriend about what was going to happen and who got arrested. She was explaining to us about this kid we’ll call Grant, and how the cops couldn’t hold him because he was of age and didn’t have anything on him. Then we heard some shouting behind us, so we all watched out the back of the car as Grant was released to get out of there, at which time he yelled some inappropriate things to the officers and they straight up pepper sprayed him in the face and arrested him. It’s like the situation was the definition of “Well that escalated quickly.” My reaction was something along the line of “Well shit dude, that sucks. I have to pee.”
We were driven to the police department, where I was allowed to use the bathroom alone. Apparently the police department was going through renovations because it had 2 or 3 chairs in the waiting area and looked like it was in the middle of renovations. Because of this the cells were not finished, so instead of being forced to pee in front of any and all girls in the cell with me, which is how things went down with friends who got arrested in the future, I got the enjoy the privacy of the cramped bathroom by myself. Winning!
(Another interesting thing I learned about this police department after the entire process was that they didn’t have to read you Miranda rights. I don’t remember the reasons, but I looked it up when I realized that they never read me mine. In fact I wasn’t cuffed or anything, they just did paperwork on me.)
When I went out to the seating area there were more kids from my school there in different levels of unhappiness. I turned to a kid I knew and started talking to him, which apparently was a bad idea because he was super angry and I sounded like a cheerleader at a pep squad rally.
“Hey, how are you!? It’s been a while, how’s your night been? Oh, not talking to me? OK!”
This kid was not having it. He started going off about how he only had one beer and that they got him for having beer in his backpack. I was very sympathetic.
Things got quiet again and I turned to a girl I’d had a class with and we started talking about her absolutely killer high heels, which was nice because everyone else was being all upset and I wasn’t having it. I covertly pulled out my phone, texted my mom, and started playing Tetris. Grant showed up and started talking to the entire room about civil rights and how he was going to make his family sue the cops, which I didn’t expect to happen but he was all fired up.
I was called in to be processed for internal possession, and blew a .14 on the breathalyzer. The officer said that I was very put together for how drunk I was, and I smiled and thanked him. Having listened to my mother’s advice about being quiet I answered any and all questions, then started chatting with the officer about how his wife was from Bangor, Maine, and then I showed him my tattoos. I only had two at the time, but I was quite proud of them!
The worst part of the experience was not that I had to wait in the seating area sitting on the cement floor, or that I was getting really tired and desperately needed a cigarette… It was hearing my mother’s best friend’s voice when she came to pick me up.
My mother, in a panic, had decided to call her friend who lived 45 minutes from where I was in school. This woman is wonderful and I love her dearly, but she has a strong Italian/Boston accent, and for a 5 foot nothing little spitfire with big hair she can sure command a room.
She started yelling at me as soon as I was in the car.
“What are you doing getting arrested? I told you to have fun in college, I didn’t say to get arrested!”
I was exhausted, but thankfully the ride was under 5 minutes to my dorm. And when I pulled out a cigarette when I got out of the car to give her a hug…
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING SMOKING? ARE YOU KIDDING, DO YOU REMEMBER HOW MUCH WEIGHT I GAINED WHEN I QUIT?”
“Uh, do you want one?”
“NO! GO TO BED, I’M CALLING YOUR MOTHER. LOVE YOU.”
So she left me to smoke a cigarette and call my mom. I found out later that she had told my mother that I looked wicked cute and was surrounded by black guys and I was definitely going to have sex with one of them. She’s a little dramatic.
After talking to my mom I started to freak out and called my best friend from high school to cry. It wasn’t until then that I started to process the night appropriately, but I’m fine with that. I would have been a hot mess of tears and snot had I started to take it seriously before I got home, and I didn’t have tissues on me.
So that’s the story. I had to go in and get my urine tested for 12 weeks and take a FAST class (alcohol prevention) to get the charge sealed or expunged or whatever. It’s funny, when I fill out job applications I always ask the person if I should put it down in the area that asks about being arrested and they usually say no. In fact, most of the people I ask basically wave it off like it’s nothing. Now, that doesn’t mean I would do it again, by any means. But I will say that I am proud of the fact that I didn’t just get arrested for underage drinking, I didn’t let getting arrested stop me from trying to enjoy my night and annoy the crap out of the grumpy people I was stuck with.