I used the excuse of a drunk parent to steal a car and drive around at fourteen years of age. I don’t remember where my father and grandmother were when we ran out of cat food on Thanksgiving night, but I used my mother’s drunkenness as an excuse. I took my mom’s Dodge pushbutton automatic car and drove my brother across the Golden Gate Bridge in the night. I paid Bridge toll to the toll taker and drove through San Francisco by way of the Presidio tunnel to the Richmond District. I knew where I was going because I was a hypocrite. On weekends I got drunk with friends and cruised in a Ford Falcon with Julie and Lindy. I blamed my mother for my theft.
I ordered my ten year-old brother,“Get in the car, we’re going to get cat food,” and took off. My drunk mother blithered on her bed and didn’t notice we left.
Brother Brian sat shotgun without a seatbelt, staring at my Indian braids, “You are such a foxy sister.” I taught him that revenge was the way to go with drunk parents.
I drove the wrong way down Highway 101 toward incoming traffic from Sausalito. Whoops. I almost killed us, stopping before the on ramp before I pushed the Dodge button into reverse.
“That was a close one.”
Headlights whizzed by at sixty miles an hour, and my brother never told.
Looking back as a sober adult, I justified my parents problems to break the law and go wild. It makes a good story now, but what was I thinking could possibly go wrong?