Monday, November 16, 2009

A long time ago...

(A story for Anna...)

There was this time when I think I was a jerk. There are at least two versions of the story. Kind of like Choose Your Own Adventure, but not really.


First, the setup:

I was asked to be a parent-volunteer-chaperone, accompanying the Oregon City High School Honor Society on an overnight field trip to the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon. My oldest daughter, Julia, was a sophomore at the time. There were two other chaperones, both young teachers (male and female). This is before I was teaching, but I was in college, working toward becoming a teacher.

I was mostly just along for the ride. Chris, the young female teacher, was the one in charge. I got to go see the Shakespeare plays and bond with my daughter (Julia). Chris did ask me to help her keep an eye on one student in particular, a boy with long crazy hair, who was sometimes a bit of a pill at school.

After we arrived in Ashland, Julia and I went to dinner together at a nice Mexican restaurant before the play started. When the waiter asked us about beverages, Julia ordered a virgin Margarita. “Oh,” I thought, “It’s a special occasion, maybe I’ll get one, too.”
HERE’S WHERE THE STORY SPLITS:

VERSION ONE:
 So, as an afterthought, I asked the waiter to bring me one of the Margaritas, too. (Just for the record, I wasn’t that impressed with it. It was kind of bitter.)

We had a nice dinner, then went to the play. It happened that I was sitting between Julia and Mr-Long-Hair-Problem-Kid. I turned to chat with him, and I smelled alcohol on his breath! I got up as casually as I could, pulled the teacher (Chris) aside, and shared my observation with her. She pulled Mr-Long-Hair-Problem-Kid out and grilled him. He denied any alcohol consumption, and Chris didn’t observe any smell on his breath, so she let him stay, but we all kept a really close eye on him for the rest of the field trip. Whenever he saw me for the rest of the trip, he gave me a dirty look. THE END

VERSION TWO:
So, as an afterthought, I asked the waiter to bring me one of the Margaritas, too. But instead of a virgin (non-alcoholic) Margarita, the waiter assumed I wanted a regular one. Of course I would never drink an alcohol Margarita. Only problem is, how would I know the difference? I’d never had any Margarita before, virgin or otherwise. What I thought was “bitter” was actually “naughty,” but I didn’t even know it.

We had a nice dinner, then went to the play. It happened that I was sitting between Julia and Mr-Long-Hair-Problem-Kid. I turned to chat with him, and I thought I smelled alcohol on his breath! Of course, really it was on my breath but I didn’t even realize it. I got up as casually as I could, pulled the teacher (Chris) aside, and shared my observation with her. She surely noticed the alcohol on my own breath, and I’m sure she knew that our family is Mormon, but she was too polite to say anything to me about it. She pulled Mr-Long-Hair-Problem-Kid out and grilled him. He denied any alcohol consumption, and Chris didn’t observe any smell on his breath, so she let him stay, but we all kept a really close eye on him for the rest of the field trip. Whenever he saw me for the rest of the trip, he gave me a dirty look—naturally, since he knew that I was the one who ratted on him, and since he had smelled alcohol on my breath, sitting next to him in the theatre.
THE END

EPILOGUE:
Which version is true? I have no idea. The events here described occurred about 18 years ago, and it didn’t even dawn on me until about 10 years ago that Version Two might be a possibility. Ever since then, every time I tell this story, Version Two seems more and more plausible. If it is true, I was a major jerk to poor old Mr-Long-Hair-Problem-Kid.

But who knows?

8 comments:

Annemarie said...

I can't stop laughing! Just the thought of my straight-ahead friend Kathy casually sipping an alcoholic margarita on a school trip is enough to make me want to lie on the floor and shake until my sides hurt. The best part is, you're actually fessing up to this possibility.

My favorite part about this story is that there is no possible way we'll ever know whether version 1 or 2 is the truth.

It's a good lesson about humility, though. Thanks for being brave enough to write these words.

Dorothy said...

I wonder where the long-haired kid is now? I bet he'd like to hear this story! :)

Anna said...

Hahahaha! Very nice. I am kind of sad Margaritas are bitter. They sound so nice. Also, this story is funny because you were (maybe) accidentally jerk-faced. I knew you didn't have a story where you were straight out, intentionally a jerk.
Ha!

Lisa Lou said...

This is too funny! One time I ordered a gin and tonic, because I thought it was just bubbly water. (I guess I didn't know what gin was?) It was pretty nasty though, so I didn't drink it all.

Katie said...

Man, and to think I felt guilty after eating some coffee-flavored ice cream on an elementary school field trip once.

...What is it with our family and being naughty on field trips?

David Mayer said...

Speaking of naughty (unintentionally) on field trips, Katie, something funny happened when I was on the Choir cruise my senior year.

So every student had a card which could be used to buy things on the ship, and it would be charged to your onboard account. This included souvenirs, photos, and, of course, drinks.

Because the cruise was on the ocean, and part of it was in Canada, the minimum drinking age was 18 instead of 21. All the same, every student was supposed to get a hole punched in their card to make sure that it could not be used to purchase alcohol. Well, for whatever reason (I think I was running late for the ship orientation) my card did not get punched.

Several other students couldn't believe their bad luck that the ONE student who was over 18, and didn't get his card punched was also one of the only students who wouldn't even consider buying them drinks, regardless of their bribes and begging!

P.S. Mom, you did nothing wrong in this story either way. Long-haired boys need to be chewed out on occasion whether they've done anything or not. It's just a matter of principle. (Or a matter of principal, if you happen to be a school administrator.)

Patricia said...

Oh, my! The stories that come out on blogs. The innocent Kathy drinking away on a field trip. Katie eating coffee ice cream. And
Lisa, gin! Wow, this is eye-opening!

JuliaKoponick said...

Okay, I think I am the only one who knows the "truth" although I never knew about the long-haired boy part of the story.

Mom had me taste her margarita. It tasted bitter to me too, and not the same as mine. I remember that she even decided not to finish the last part after I had tried it.

But, a number of years later, I ordered a virgin margarita that tasted just like the one my mom had all those years ago. I was with someone who did drink, and who tried the drink and told me they had brought me one with alcohol. The waiter promptly replaced it with a virgin one.

I actually shared that story with Michael on one of our dates early on in our friendship. We were trading funny Mormon/drinking stories from when he was in Utah for business a lot.

So, I have no idea if the long haired boy was drinking, but I do know that mom had about half of an alcoholic drink, and I had a sip of one that day.