"One for the Road: The Lost Art of the Drunken Drive"
It was a time in this nation too sweet to recollect. A time when Playboy was still a titty-magazine and Penthouse wasn't even in existence. A time when busts of Cortez adorned every upscale, suburban living room. A time when local governments issued every new homeowner a riding mower and case of Schlitz on the day the closing fee was paid on the house. A time when "one for the road" was polite etiquette.
Back when cars were made of solid steel and bumpers could take a 25-mph collision, drunk driving wasn't the offense it is today. When the police found you driving drunk, they gave you a ride home! Or if they found you passed out on the side of the road, they would remove your keys from the ignition and PUT THEM ON THE ROOF OF YOUR CAR. The logic was sound: by the time you were coherent enough to find your keys, you were sober enough to drive home. "Sober enough" - you just don't hear that any more. Times sure have changed. No more casual drinking. No more endearing drunks. "One for the road" has become cause for suit, and drunk driving is the pet taboo for every small town PTA. And no one is EVER "sober enough" to drive. Let's say you've been drinking hard in your living room, alone, for the last six nights. Some new faces would do you good, some strangers to look at, some unfamiliar humanity to disgust you, remind you of your own superiority. But how're you going to get there, drink your fill, and successfully drive home? Take these tips from a man with the experience. Plenty of it, baby.
Move to the city. It's the simplest solution to your drunk driving problems. DWI checkpoints and idle policemen inhabit the suburbs. City cops have plenty else to do besides worry about some drunk crawling 10 blocks across town to go home. Of course, if you go tearing down Broadway at 4:00 in the morning, you're fucked. But, then, you're also stupid.
Face it - the suburbs breed angry, arrogant police. Town cops were teenage losers, kids too stupid and insecure to break out of the hometown. Suburban cops will put a flashlight in your face while you're kissing your date goodnight. Suburban cops will pull you over because a turn signal bulb is broken. Suburban cops will proudly bust your ass for DWI. It gets the Sheriff re-elected and gets their pathetic hides closer to that promotion. City cops, though, they've got bigger problems. If you live in a city, then drink and drive home in the city. Keep it calm and you'll make it home to drink more.
Aside from checkpoints, how do drunk drivers get caught? By hitting something. Hitting someone. Driving too fast. Or driving erratically. Yes, driving erratically, swerving down residential roads, weaving in and out of traffic, wobbling down the highway. But this can be prevented, no matter how drunk you get. As long as you know how to drive your car. It doesn't really matter what you're driving. Each car has its quirks and its subtle tricks for smooth driving. For example: a 1989 Volkswagen Fox has a push-switch headlight control on the left of the dash, a finger's distance away from the steering wheel. On straight roads, you put 2 fingers of your left hand along the "On" portion of the switch and use this makeshift anchor to keep the wheel straight.
Similarly, a 1984 Nissan Sentra has a ledge along the driver's side window which is the perfect place to secure your elbow, locking your arm in place and keeping the wheel straight.
But there's more. You need to shift without stalling. You need to drive in the rain without slipping. You need to keep your windshield defrosted at all times. You need to drive well consistently, drunk and sober. Period.
Absolutely never. Let them take a fucking cab. Why? Because people are assholes. And drunk people are just drunk assholes. They will jump around in the car. They will yell out the window and harass girls, they will drink while you drive, like it or not. Drunk passengers attract cops like evangelists attract Southerners. Flies to shit, baby. Being a nice guy is a one-way ticket to DWI, complete with a night in jail, an expensive lawyer, and insurance surcharges so far up your asshole you'll need a second mortgage to get them out. Use your brain, fuck the other guy. That's why the government gave us public transit. Make them use it.
Imagine: a cop pulls someone over 15 minutes after last call and he's frantically chewing down a pack of Wrigley's. The cop should have the right to throw Miranda down the sewer and haul that person into jail just for being so stupid.
The same thing with cigarettes: If you smoke, then smoke. But don't light up as soon as you're being pulled over. It's just too obvious, eh? Tic Tacs. Breath Mints. Whatever. Shove a handful in your mouth as soon as you start the car. If you get pulled over, swallow them or chew them up. Don't spit them out. Don't scramble for more. Just take it easy, pal. Nice 'n' Easy.
Because you stink. Like a bar. Fortunately, bars smell like smoke, which isn't against the law. With the mints mentioned previously and an open window, you're cooking with gas and making it home.
Sure, it seemed like a good idea at the time: let's cut through that neighborhood, less cops around. But it's not a good idea. It's a stupid idea, if you think about it. More cars drive the main roads at 3:00 a.m. than drive the back roads. If there's more cars, and you're following these tips, then someone else is bound to look far more drunk than you. And that person will get pulled over and arrested.
In most towns, it looks suspicious to drive a backroad when a perfectly fine 2-laner is available. That's why towns build roads - for people to drive on. If you're not driving on it, then you're avoiding it. And if you're avoiding it, then you're either drunk or you've got a body in the trunk. Either way, you're fucked.
As long as you play the odds, you're fine. Odds are that someone is worse off than you. Someone always is. Let them get fucked. They'd do it to you.
Copyright 1995 Wired Ventures Ltd. All rights reserved.