Here is an excerpt from my memoir, The Complex Mind Of A Good Kid In A Cruel World”
Who’s Up For A Road Trip!
In Spring 2007, I went on a road trip to Miami with four of my friends. I was totally anxious when we agreed to go on this Spring Break trip. I am not the type of person who likes to go out of his comfort zone. I had barely gotten used to my Houston surroundings and now I was agreeing to go on a road trip with four other people to Miami, Florida.
But it was at this time when I felt like I was slowly coming out of my shell. My social life outside of going to class and attending the social group was basically non-existent. Going on a road trip to Miami felt like a perfect opportunity to expose myself and take risks. Get out of my comfort zone and see what else exists in this place called America.
And so it was agreed that we would rent a car, budget for fuel and motels, and set off on Sunday before the Spring Break week started. Our itinerary would include stops in New Orleans, Orlando, Miami, and on the way back, a brief stop in Alabama.
What’s the worst that could happen?
I Got Drunk On Bourbon Street
We arrived in New Orleans just in time for Mardi Gras. Ahmet, my Turkish friend, knew someone in New Orleans who we met up with to take us Burbon Street (A name which did not disappoint). We hang out at his place for a bit. Just drinking and trying out his hookah. I had no idea those things were flavored! I smoked one that had an orange flavor. It was delicious.
We all headed to Bourbon Street after that. I was basically the baby of the group. I was 20 years old at the time and the drinking age was 21 in New Orleans. (I think it’s kind of ridiculous because America allows 18-year-olds to officially own guns but having a 20-year-old consume alcohol is where you draw the line? Whatever.)
Me being 20 years made getting in bars a bit tricky because bouncers would always ask for ID and me being “Mr Goody Two Shoes” didn’t have a fake ID. This ID Card theme played out in other places along the way. But that didn’t stop me from having fun. There was one spot along Bourbon Street in which I managed to sneak past the bouncer at the entrance by wearing a hoodie and basically camouflaging myself into the club.
Now I knew why I didn’t like going to places like nightclubs in the first place. It was an overload for my senses. A lot of people, loud music, drinks and hot girls. I was really out of my element. There were girls dancing on tables, seductively looking at my camera as I took their picture.
As the night went on, one of my friends brought me a drink. The drink was called a grenade.
A grenade? Yep. That’s what they called it. Imagine a long green transparent hollow cylinder with a grenade looking shape at the end of it. It looked like a weed bong but it was filled with an alcoholic beverage.
It was great. You could taste the liquor in it but it was disguised to be so sweet and so I can’t help myself and just kept drinking. I drank it like it was a soda drink which turned out to be a BIG mistake.
When the blurry vision started, walking a straight line became a problem. Plus, I was SUPER hungry. If I didn’t eat something soon, I was going to pass out.
Luckily, Bourbon Street had some food spots. I found a little food joint along the way and that’s when I realized that I was low on cash. I spotted an ATM close by and went to withdraw money.*
*Pro-Tip: Don’t go to an ATM when you’re NOT sober. What I’m saying is, don’t drink and withdraw. Thank me later.
I don’t remember how much I took out of the ATM. All I know is, I pulled out way TOO much cash because I couldn’t figure out if the machine was giving me the option of $20 or $200.
When I got back to the food joint, I could barely order what I wanted to eat. I was slurring and couldn’t speak well. Probably the effects of the alcohol. I somehow managed to blurt out (or rather point out) that I wanted some Po-Rice with beans (A New Orleans meal).
I was halfway through my meal when I felt some of the food I was eating started to rise up in my throat. I felt like I was going to puke. I don’t think I would have been able to look my friends in the eye if I just puked my meal all over the floor because I couldn’t handle my alcohol. I stopped eating, took a few minutes to regain myself and the feeling of throwing up passed. Unfortunately, so did my appetite. I had barely eaten half of the meal. It was a waste of money and good food.
The next thing I remember is that I’m sitting upstairs at some make shift bar and club. My friends are on the balcony chatting up some girls and I’m sitting on the couch drinking a bottle of water with my camera in my hand. I’m just nodding my head to the music when this gorgeous blonde walks upstairs into the bar. She made everybody turn heads. But it wasn’t because she was attractive. It was because she was wearing NOTHING but a pair of knee high black boots. I am saying that this blonde woman was nude and wearing nothing except for a pair of boots and a couple of Mardi Gras beads around her neck. She had a cigarette in one hand and a drink in her other hand. So I did whatever half drunk young man would do in that situation and I just stared at her boobs from my chair. They were huge and obviously fake. But do you think my half drunk self cared about that? Not in the slightest. I was getting a free nude show and didn’t have a care in the world.
The naked blonde must have been drunk or high because she looked like she was in her own world. Ignoring everyone and just doing her own thing. I taped the whole thing but unfortunately, I lost the video footage and pictures somehow. (Sorry perverts)
My friends and I continued our escapade throughout the night. We went to different spots and bars, threw beads on girls who flashed us their boobs, sat through a swimsuit beauty pageant. I drunkenly made out with a woman which I don’t really remember because I was drunk (duh). We even run into the naked blonde again who was still drunk or high.
Getting close to 12am, we decided to call it a night. We had to leave in the morning for our next location. As we walked through Bourbon Street, girls were yelling on top of terraces. They were teasing with their shirts with some guys on the ground yelling for them to flash their boobs. Some of the drunk ones take their shirts off and beads shoot up to the terraces.
What a party. Welcome to Mardi Gras.
PSA: Thank You For Smoking
Let me take this time to tell you about the time I tried smoking cigarettes. It was an experimental thing. Before we packed and left for Spring break, I had gone into a store on campus and bought a pack of Rothmans cigarettes along with a lighter.
What made me decide to try smoking at this point?
I never understood the point of smoking. I had read different experiences online from people who were smokers. Some shared good experiences. Some shared bad experiences.
Being the naturally curious person that I was, I researched about smoking. I read about the risks of smoking and even watched Youtube videos on how to smoke. If I felt like I was getting addicted, I would stop at once. The goal of the experiment was to smoke a whole pack and see what the end results were. So I started my cigarette smoking experiment after New Orleans.
So what was my first smoke like? Weird. Bad. Awful. It left a “smoky” taste in my mouth. It wasn’t great. But it wasn’t that awful. Just wanted to see it all the way through.
The experiment keeps going as we continued towards Miami. I was halfway done with my cigarette pack when we were in Orlando. At this point, I didn’t get the point of smoking but I could see where the addiction came from. I did notice my anxiety would go gone down a bit when I lit one up. Some say the nicotine has that effect. I can also say that cigarettes definitely affects your appetite. That taste in your mouth definitely makes you not want to eat a meal. Eating a cheeseburger after you smoked a cigarette just didn’t seem appealing.
My cigarette pack was almost empty by the time we were in Miami. The experiment was over. No more cigarettes for me.
The lesson I got from smoking cigarettes? It makes your mouth taste like shit.
We finally got to Miami. Ahmet insisted that we play Will Smith’s “Miami” song through the car speakers. It was definitely a cheesy moment but it was a cool cheesy.
Miami. My goodness. Miami was glorious. The weather was great and the girls were very good looking. But Miami was expensive. My goodness. If you want to live near Miami Bank, your bank account better have a lot of 0s in it. The price for fuel at the time in Miami was about $4.20. Back in Texas, it was about $2.50. Huge difference.
The first thing we wanted to do was to go to South Beach. It had to be done. Unfortunately, it was spring break and so EVERYBODY was on the beach. Trying to find a place to settle at the beach was hard. I was not a fan of crowds in the first place so trying to relax at a crowded beach was no challenging.
So we skipped the beach after a couple of minutes and take a little stroll. There were just hot girls everywhere. A lot of expensive cars too. I think I saw two Lamborghini back to back drive down South Beach.
Miami, Beaches, Girls
At one point we all split up and agreed to meet up later. During my walk, I stumbled upon a tattoo parlor. I don’t know if it was the excitement of the whole Miami trip or if there was something in the air but I made very rash decision to walk into the store and get a tattoo.
(PSA: Don’t try to get a tattoo in the spur of the moment. It’s not smart. Ask all girls with tattoos on their lower backs)
When I walked in, I saw this gorgeous lady talking to the tattoo artist about getting a new tattoo. She was wearing jean shorts and an orange top which showed off her stomach. You could have eaten ice cream off that stomach. But let’s not go there right now. The artist told me to look around and he would attend to me soon.
This was a bad idea. I knew it was a bad idea. What the hell was I doing trying to get a tattoo in Miami Beach?? Thankfully, I came to my senses and walked out of there before I made an awful decision.
The whole Miami experience was a bit much for me. A lot things were expensive. The girls were way too pretty and out of my league. It was all kind of superficial for me. Miami was way out of my league. I’m a simple guy and I like simple things.
After our South Beach experience, we left back to Houston. Our Spring Break road trip was a success. It had been a great experience. I wish I could have taken more road trips with my friends. We even spoke about doing one to Las Vegas. Unfortunately, that never came to fruition.
Perhaps, one day, we could all get in touch and do another crazy trip.