True God, she made me angry! When I am drinking, I just want to get blasted and here she was telling me about what to do on my 18th birthday!
“You’ve got your mobile haven’t you?” I yelled as I stormed off.
She did, and she used it. I thought she would call a cab, but she called her father who came and got her immediately. Not before telling me off did he take her home.
I drank until I was blind but the others nagged me about driving my father’s car. Eventually, I walked off on them and got into the Audi. Everything was alright, and I kept telling myself,
I was driving OK……
Then, I saw a blue light flashing. I was relieved the cops were pulling over someone else, but I could feel the panic rising. I got that sleazy feel you get when you are trying to get away with something and decided to sneak home the back way. What happened next took me by surprise.
A car was coming towards me even out there on the back road, and I realised I was driving all over the place. Sometimes the car was on my side of the line, but it also veered this way and that. Either that or I was careening haphazardly. As the car came closer, I swerved hard trying to get back on my side of the road, and as you would expect, I lost control. I felt and heard what happened next, but I don’t remember seeing anything.
The blood felt warm and sticky as it dribbled from my forehead onto my chin and I groped in the darkness in a stunned and numbed way. All I knew in my confusion was that I was in pitch blackness and pinned against the steering wheel of the car, which was pressing against my chest.
I could hear Dad saying, “Oh my God, he didn’t have a seatbelt on” and the desperate sound of his voice frightened me.
I still wasn’t feeling pain when hands gently lifted me from the car, but I could hear an ambulance siren blaring towards us from the distance.
As my trolley was lifted onto the ambulance, I could hear a policewoman saying, “I take it your son was driving?”
I could hear real concern in Dad’s voice as he said, “when his girlfriend’s father rang to tell me Sepania was drunk, I came to get him but thought I would check he wasn’t trying to sneak home the back way. Unfortunately, I wasn’t wrong!”
“No-one ever gets away with drinking and driving”, she said not unkindly. “I’ll see you in court”.
The judge was very stern with me, but I narrowly escaped doing any time. I just had to do community service for a year.
My dad is a good bloke. He took me to community service every day until the agony was over. I say “agony” because I had to do cleaning and packing with a busted collarbone.
A year went by, and I worked hard at getting my certification in the hospitality trade. When I did the Responsible Serving of Alcohol ticket, I realised why everyone had picked on me the night of the accident. They fined one of the guys at the pub for allowing me to drink so much.
My punishment seemed to just drag on and on.
Then one day Dad came into the lounge and said, “I figure you need these to get to college?” and tossed me Maisy’s keys.
“Oh,” I said, “are they for me. I am not responsible enough to drive the Audi.”
“You are not reliable enough to drive the Audi – YET!” he said.
We talked about drinking and driving for the rest of the day. George told me that he had been in a DD accident when he was about 20.
“People in the other car were injured,” he said, “but no one died.” I decided never to drink again. It just seemed easier that way.”
I didn’t make the same decision as Dad. I drink responsibly, which means I never drink and drive. I work in the hospitality industry now. The near stupid accident I just told you about, and the stories my father told me about the mistakes of his youth, mean that I take my certificate for Serving Alcohol Responsibly very seriously. Sometimes I see young blokes get themselves in a spot of bother, and I like to think that I try to help them the way my father patiently helped me that night. From time to time, I just take their keys and call them a cab.
“Face up, front up and fix it up”, is a saying that worked for my dad and now it works for me!