Perspective Shift on being a DD

In Honduras, right and wrong take on new meaning. For instance, it's not necessarily wrong to show up an hour late to work and pretend you're on time. It's not necessarily wrong to start drinking green beer for breakfast either. Nor is it wrong to drive after drinking large quantities of green beer

Alex was a really good driver intoxicated or otherwise. I know, since I use to often ride with him into the main port town. He would be drunk at eight in the morning; Andrea and I would arrive at the shop at seven or seven thirty, get a list of supplies needed if any and Andrea would hang around the shop chatting or reading while Alex and I would take off in his little red pickup. I just went with the flow. Years earlier, I had been in Tegucigalpa, the capital, and went to the hippest bar in town, a parking lot where kids would sell liters of rum and cheap vodka to drivers. Not only was it legal, there were M-16 toting police in the lot guarding the patrons from potential carjackers.

Anyhow, I would buy Alex’ gas with my boss, Justus’ money and we would fill up at a little roadside shack. There wasn’t a gas station on the west end side of the island, but rather an entrepreneur selling gallons from milk jugs. Each milk jug had a slightly different color. My unproven hypothesis is that the roadside salesman peed a little in each one to make it go further. Alex and I would cruise to town at ridiculous speeds picking up every hitch hiking island laborer along the way. By the time we made it to town, fifteen to twenty large men would be riding in the back and sometimes in the front with me. They would pay Alex what they could and jump out without any communication at various stops. It was the Island’s short bus for the crazy kids and I always enjoyed the ride. We never did wreck but had many close calls. What a thrill.

I'm not blaming this experience on my most recent run in with the US policia, but it sure didn't help me survive in our strict .08 drunk driving world. Back in Colorado, one night living the bachelor life, i.e., Andrea being in Seattle and myself staying behind in Eldo, I had a nice little nightcap at the local burger joint before heading on home five miles down the road. It was a Wednesday night and I had been out climbing with friends. I hadn't had a bite to eat in six plus hours, and with the kitchen closed at the Southern Sun, had decided that one calorie is as good as another and opted for a pint glass of Perl Street Porter. Then another and finally one more on the house, by a smiley bartender offering love, happiness and free beer.

I was in my car with flashing lights behind me before I realized that this might be a problem. Needless to say, I failed my intoxication test by blowing a .19 and headed to the police station on the North side of Boulder in the back of the car. I had the option of repeating the blowing exercise or a nice pin prick for a blood test and went with the latter. With my blood drawn, my photo taken and my finger stained with ink, I had nothing to do but sit shoeless in a plastic chair watching info-mercials for the rest of the morning. The cop was nice enough to not tow my truck and at 5:30 I was released. The police called me a cab who delivered me safely to the point where this whole fiasco started and I drove the remaining three miles into Eldo.

Ok, a needed perspective shift, I get it. Learned my lesson well, no more drinking and driving when outside of Honduras. However, this is where it gets confusing. Two months later, at a friend's house party in Denver, I had another run in. A female police officer came to the door and let us all know that the party was over. We needed to go home immediately. This seemed strange to me as it was only 10pm and the party was only beginning to liven up. Nevertheless, everyone was exiting the house and I followed suit. Andrea and I walked around the block and returned via the backyard. In the backyard stood a huge police officer with a big fast food belly and a booming voice. "You!" he yelled across the yard, pointing in my direction. "You, need to get in your car and go home!" Well, I'd had it. What was it, was I supposed to drive drunk or not?

Confused, I took the most logical option. I didn't drive, and I didn't leave. Instead, I brilliantly yelled back, "**** you, I'm drunk, I'm not going anywhere!" I then had that awesome cataclysmic feeling of complete weightlessness, the kind you get when you're rapidly leaving solid ground and falling into the abyss. The cop, prepared for such a chess move, had put me in check mate and before I knew it, my hands were behind my back and his sour breath on my neck. I remember my friend's voice pleading with the police man in her sweet southern manner, "awe, he didn't mean it. He's silly like that, says **** all the time."

The police man, ignored her pleas, pushed me to the ground and warned everyone else, that they too could take a ride in his Chevy. Everyone cowered, and I sat there in the wet grass carrying on about how unjust this whole thing was. How I was being arrested for not driving drunk. I kept asking if everyone was seeing this, as if not watching a train wreck is an option for anyone with a pulse. Thinking back, I guess that was a dumb question, but at the time, seemed very appropriate. Anyhow, we took a nice ride down to the detox center, all the way arguing like teenagers. I informed him, that he failed to read me my rights. He agreed, countering with "I'm not arresting you." Man, this threw me for a loop. I asked him to let me go, but he ignored me. I then told him that he was endangering me, as he hadn't fastened my seat-belt and in fact he was causing me to break the law. In fact he was an accomplice to my lawless act and could be prosecuted. He ignored that one as well. I carried on and on, thinking about how I could go on Democracy Now, write a book and speak at nation wide rallies. You see, I was drunk and all this made perfect sense.

Finally, we got to the detox center, where I was processed and once again got to watch some info-mercials. My number came up, I blew in a little machine, that confirmed yes, I was inebriated, but and this is the best part. I was just .001% over the legal limit to drive. So, I was released immediately, hailed a cab and met my friends at a local bar.

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