I went to boarding school for my high school years. On breaks, we returned to our sandy, over heated, oil drenched homeland, Saudi Arabia. We reunited with our childhood friends and hung out with our parents, whom we hadn’t seen in nearly three months (wow. imagine. having a teenager…and getting three-month breaks. that’s not really fair.)
We had changed. We had boyfriends, or new boyfriends, new hairstyles, more ear piercings, and stories galore. We rehashed our tales over glasses of illegal siddiqui (known during prohibition and still – for some reason – in the south, as MOONSHINE). We would steal the evil 180 proof alcohol from our parents and meet at a house to imbibe and be ruthless teens, while hopefully avoiding going blind in the process.
I had a routine. My parents would be watching a video. I would sneak into the garage. My dad had put his 400 lb tool box conveniently in front of the still room door. For you novices out there, a still is what you use to brew your moonshine. They are dangerous and a really bad idea. That’s why we go to liquor stores and consume alcohol from companies that have to pass certain tests, in this country. Chances are that a fifth of Baccardi won’t blow up your house, or make you go blind. I pushed that tool box out of my way. Was I super human in my quest to get loopy? Nah. There were wheels on it, silly. Once that was a few inches to the side, I would squeeze into the still room and fill up a cup of siddiqui. It didn’t take much. Normally I would fill up a jar or a Tupperware cup, but one time I made the mistake of filling a styrofoam coffee cup.
The bottom fell out after 45 seconds. Well. Hmmm. Wonder what it is doing to my liver? It eats styrofoam. Anyway, I am a teenager, who gives a damn. I just want to have an illegal drink! So, I grabbed another container to put it in, instead.
And off to the party. Parents none the wiser. I always added some water to offset what I had stolen. Since they rarely drank, I think that by the time they got to their stash a few years later, it was 95% water. I probably saved their livers. Mine probably has mutant life forms attached to it by now. Sorry liver. I’ll make it up to you now by giving you all sorts of organic produce.
I arrived at the teenage drunk fest, siddiqui in hand, and ran into a guy who had orange juice. Yay! Chasers are a necessary part of drinking 180 proof alcohol. There is no enjoyment factor, it is all about getting it down and attempting not to taste it in the process. And so I began my evening.
Oh GAWD… give me that chaser dude… QUICK!
Gulp Gulp Gulp.
Ahhhgggghhhh! That’s not orange juice! It’s orange juice CONCENTRATE! So not helpful to my revolting stomach. Of course, being a stupid teenager on a mission, I continued to drink it. Durh.
Somehow I ended up back at home, very very very early. My parents were still awake as I stumbled through the kitchen, looking for the bread-like equivalent to a sponge… hoping to absorb some of the alcohol. I wasn’t even laying down and I was spinning. I managed to get my drunken teen ass into my bed, and after writing the 80’s version of a booty call to my boyfriend back in the states, and cutting off a piece of my hair to mail to him, I passed out. I only briefly woke up when I realized I had barfed in what was left of my hair. I washed up, and went back to bed. I’m sure it was the orange juice concentrate.
At the crack of dawn, my parents woke me to head out to run errands. I managed to grab the milk before we left. The gallon of milk. Oh. It tasted SOOOO good. I just kept drinking it and drinking it. I must have consumed half the gallon before we left.
Did I mention that I was in Saudi Arabia? As in, the desert? Not the most comfortable location for a hangover. If you think they hurt in the cold, just hop in a sauna and see how you feel. You feel disgusting. Trust me.
I made it through the grocery store. I groaned as my parents started munching on fragrant donuts. I staggered into the gold souks. It was shiny and pretty in there. Red velvet walls. The smell of incense floated around my head. über gorgeous gold hung from every wall. For some reason it reminded me of intestines. Aesthetically pleasing, yet kinda gross.
All the bling was messing with my guts. Or maybe it was the milk. My parents haggled. The owner of the shop bargained. They haggled more.
A wave of milk was rising in my stomach. I fought hard. I swallowed it down. I did not want to mess up that man’s velvet walls. And then my parents made the mistake of asking my opinion.
I ran. It was just too much. The milk and the orange juice concentrate. The heat. The smells of sewer mixed with donuts. The haggling.
And there it was. I ran to save the gold. I ran to save the walls. I ran to save my parents. I aimed for the gutter. Unfortunately I missed and nailed the sidewalk in front of the beautiful gold souk with what resembled cottage cheese.
Too. Much. Milk.
My parents laughed. I sniffed. They laughed some more. The poor store owner came out and mopped up my whole evening of illegal boozing. I crawled into the air-conditioned mecca of our car and covered my face.
All I heard from the front seat was laughter, the entire drive home.
I’ve learned some lessons in my bubble…
Number one: don’t drink homemade moonshine. Not ever.
Number two: don’t drink concentrated orange juice. Not ever.
And number three: never follow up a night of 180 proof teenage angst with milk. It curdles.
I wonder if my boyfriend was confused when he got my hair. Well, at least that was one thing I hadn’t puked on.