That One Time I Stole my Best Friend’s Car

Where do I begin?

Huzzah Valley Float TripI guess I’ll start at the beginning…with the float trip. When I was a noob adult, fresh out of college, I would spend a long weekend in the summer with a large group of country boys from Central Illinois and college friends. It started small with about 15 people, but by my last year, it was up in the high 40s. We’d caravan down from Chicago to Missouri in a snowball fashion, picking up more cars along the way.

We had walkie talkie communication between cars, as this was before the days when everyone had a reliable cell phone with unlimited mobile to mobile talk time, back when roaming was expensive and people could go off the grid for whole weekends without Facebook or MySpace or whatever it was that we used. Nobody went into withdrawal or anything either. It was nice. And entertaining. We’d pass each other on the road and make commentary on the other cars/people we were passing.

We’d drink, camp, drink, eat, drink, swim in the river, drink in the river, float down the river, drink on the rafts that float down the river…and so on and so forth listening to country music all weekend long. Basically, we spent an entire weekend hammered, eating breakfasts of Beerios (Cheerios in beer when milk was scarce) and lunches of Pringles and jello shots.

One such float trip, I convinced my dear friend Mark (name changed to protect the innocent) to come along. Little did I know, he hated camping. Drinking, he loved, but when the opportunity to sleep in a bed jumped at him after night one, he was all, PEACE OUT BITCHES.

His best buddy from high school lived close to our campsite and he spent half the weekend with him. Which would have been fine if he returned to the campsite before everyone else had left.

One of my girlfriends and I had ridden down with him from Chicago and on Sunday morning, as everyone else packed up their stuff and rolled out of town, we sat there. Waiting for Mark. The last man standing, the guy who organized the trip stuck around with us for a while longer, waiting for Mark’s imminent return…but it wasn’t happening. We tried to call him, but the campsite was getting zero reception for our phones. The other guy was ready to leave. And we were two twenty-something girls in the middle of Missouri. This was a bad horror movie waiting to happen.

So we did the only logical thing we could think to do. We got into Mark’s car and started driving. The plan was to go somewhere with phone reception (and people in a public place), call Mark and wait.

Except that Mark was driving past us with his friend and kind of freaked out when he say his car.

There was some serious yelling. On both sides. I was clearly pissed that he would leave me stranded in the middle of nowhere, and he was pissed that I “stole his car.” I mean, to be perfectly honest, I can’t blame him. My driving record at the time wasn’t the greatest…To say that the 6 hour ride home was stilted and awkward was an understatement. Sometimes, I wonder how he still loves me. But the best kind of friends forgive, I guess.

Have you ever done anything really crazy and really pissed off your best friend? What’s the worst fight you’ve ever had with a friend?

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Knock Down Drag Out What?

One of the few times I saw the sun come up before going to sleep, happened about a year after I graduated college. We decided that once Flaherty’s closed, it would be a good idea to go to Galways, the nearest 4am bar, which closely resembles a frat party. One 30 dollar cab ride later, the cabby was trying to screw us out of another 10 dollars, because we were 3 drunk girls. Unfortunately for him, I was smart enough to catch that shit. So I handled it and we proceeded inside. We went in, and found it was exactly like a frat party complete with the typical Talky McOld Guy who would always manage to find me and not leave me alone at these places. Finally, we were hiding pretty decently. Beth was getting her mack on with some very nice guy, Elizabeth disappeared and I was chatting up some random cute guy.

Fast forward to my showing off to the cutie and hanging out in the DJ booth, talking to the DJ, who somehow remembered me from the night before when I was at a random bar singing karaoke like a rockstar.

Out of the blue, I saw this security guard slam some dude against the wall, grab him by his neck, put him in a head lock, drag him out of the bar, and I swear to God I thought he was trying to break the guy’s neck. Elizabeth was right there in the line of fire when this craziness ensued and she managed to get slammed equally as hard by the security guard, who cared about nothing but his pride, apparently. Elizabeth was standing between the miscreant and the wall, hence being slammed into.

So Elizabeth walked over to me in the DJ booth, and started speaking strangely and acting really weird. For the soberest one in our group, she looked and sounded pretty hammered… The next thing I knew, she had dropped down to the floor like a noodle. My brother was there in seconds to help me out; thankfully he was there, too. He picked Elizabeth up and said in his most dominant don’t-argue-with-me voice, “We’re leaving now.”

I thanked the DJ and waved goodbye to the cute guy as Elizabeth was trying to stumble out, hanging on to my brother. Before we even left the dance floor, she passed out again. I grabbed Beth and told her that we were leaving immediately, as my brother and some other guy carried a limp Elizabeth out to the parking lot. I was yelling at the security guards trying not to cry, basically freaking out because my best friend since forever had come to visit me and this shit happened under my watch, so to speak. I was PISSED.

So we made it out into the parking lot, and the paramedics came to look at her. They were yelling at her, Talky McOld Guy refused to shut up and kept saying that she was fine and didn’t need anything, and  I was sitting there watching her unable to focus because 10 minutes earlier she was FINE. There was no way that she was drunk. Either she was drugged or she had a concussion.

The paramedics were all over the place saying she needed to go to the hospital, threatening Ella’s impending death. I asked them very nicely if I could ride with her so she wasn’t alone and would have someone with her at the ER.

“NO,” they tell me, “Don’t you have a car?”

Um HELLO?

I told them, “I’ve been drinking, and I can’t drive.” What? Do they want me to get a DUI on the way to the hospital because my friend got knocked out by a security guard?

I may have started to make a scene, arguing with the paramedics and police…The police officer yelled at me, “No, you don’t have to get a DUI. Take a cab.”

I had two dollars in my pocket and I wasn’t really sure how I would get home from the hospital even if I could get there.

So finally, my brother came around and said “Get in the car, I’ll drive you but then I gotta go home, you’ll have to find your own way home.” In the hopes that someone would come pick us up and for fear that I may have gotten arrested, I got into the car.

We beat Elizabeth to the hospital, snuck our way into the ER, and finally (after her arrival) ended up in her little curtained corner of the ER world. The super bitchy registration lady and the evil/awful nurses shot us dirty looks every time they passed. I really wanted to say to them, I’m sorry, do you SEE my friend laying there shaking like a freakin’ Mexican jumping bean? She’s alone and scared and this wasn’t her fault. I’ll show you bitch ass nurses what you can do with your dirty looks.

So finally, this adorably hot doctor (Doctor Rob) came to the rescue. He checked out all of the important stuff, got Ella’s CT scan taken care of, and spent a little time chatting with us.. He told us that Ella had a concussion, and he said we could go home. The bitchy nurses took their sweet time getting things unplugged, but Dr. Rob talked to us for a while like we were actual people. We told him our story, including the nasty paramedics who yelled at drunk Chrissy and told her to drive herself to the hospital. And he sympathized and joked with us.

Finally, we got to go home. Joe, this guy that we all met at the bar (the one with Beth) who’s a friend of my brothers had graciously stayed at the hospital with us, and kindly offered us a ride back to Flaherty’s for our cars. Thank God for small favors.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!