So, it’s 1970-something and I’m visiting my family for the milestone 50th wedding anniversary of our beloved grandparents. Everyone was there, I mean everyone in our family from all corners. The perfect stage. And what do I do?
I had been partying with my cousins for hours. About 11:30pm, I leave the party to go sneak me a joint. I will not dispute the fact that I was inebriated, and as I stumbled along a residential street, I was doing the Dance of the Drunk, swaying to and fro. Out of nowhere, a black car pulls over to my side of the street (I was walking against traffic on the sidewalk). I had no idea who was jumping out of their black car near midnight in East Los Angeles and reaching for me. I didn’t hesitate. I reacted. I hit my (what turned out to be an undercover police officer) assailant square in the jaw and dropped him like a bad habit. The next thing I hear: “Police! On the ground. Now!” Another young officer was pointing his drawn weapon at me.
So, I am taken to LA County jail and arrested for the first time in my life. What a charming place. Saturday night in this jail is a writer’s dream. I am sitting in this cell with about a dozen characters straight out of a Tarantino flick. It never occurred to me that I was in danger, another indicator of my brainlessness.
It turns out that the little film clip of weed that I had on me was enough to be charged with possession of a controlled substance. This was a felony. No joke (none of this is a joke); I was the last person arrested in the State of California under the felony charge because (get this) the law changed at midnight, changing the crime to a misdemeanor. I left the jail with a new outlook on life. I couldn’t wait to get stoned.
So I somehow make it to LAX to catch my flight home to Tucson. My cousin Al made sure I was a mess as we made our way to the departure gate. There were two ladies walking next to us and I could hear their conversation. They were talking about Hawaii and the great time they had there. They veered off to their gate and I could hear another couple chatting. Hawaii this, Hawaii that… I had Hawaii on my mind as I found my seat. Then, my polluted mind started wondering. Was I on the right plane? I didn’t want to go to Hawaii! I had to be back to school.
The couple next to me started a conversation about (you guessed it) Hawaii. My head still swimming, I resisted the urge to ask someone where the plane was headed. I din’t want to look like a horse’s ass. I started to panic because, well, I told you I was blasted. So I am holding my tongue as the plane taxis down the runway. The plane lifts off and heads out right over the ocean towards Hawaii. I had enough. I stand up and shout: “Turn the plane back! I am not going to Hawaii. I can’t! I have to get back to the U of A. I am on the wrong plane!
As laughter rippled through the cabin, an amused stewardess (that’s what they were called) approached me. “Sir please take your seat. All planes departing LAX fly out over the ocean before either continuing west or banking and heading back east. This plane is headed for Tucson.”
Man did I feel like a horse’s ass.