This is Part 2 of my three-part series about my high school prom. For my American readers, please note that the legal drinking age in most parts of Canada is 18 (hence, I wasn’t breaking another law by imbibing). If you missed Part 1, it’s here: My Prom Date, circa 1989. Part 3 will be posted Friday.
All goes well enough until the night before the prom. When Option Z, my date, doesn’t turn up to help erect my tent for the after-prom party (as he promised), it quickly becomes clear that my life bears little resemblance to all those Danielle Steele novels I read when I was too young. I manage to set the tent up on my own in the rain and leave, driving down the highway until I see flashing lights in my rearview mirror.
“Where you headed?’ Officer Noseworthy asks. I know his name because our community has one cop. Thankfully, he doesn’t know my name. Yet.
“Home,” I lie. I am smart enough not to tell him I am rushing to the bar so I can make it before ten o’clock, when the buck-a-beer special ends. In fact, many of my fellow graduates are doing the same beat-the-clock drive, and they offer a sardonic wave as they zoom past my vehicle.
“You were going twenty-two over,” he explains, before taking my license back to the cruiser.
I turn on the radio and hear our prom song, Rod Stewart’s version of “Forever Young.” I lean my head back in resignation and smile: regardless of the cost of this speeding ticket, tomorrow is my prom, the nineteenth hole of my high school career.
My reverie is interrupted by a knock on the window. Officer Noseworthy returns my license, then hands me a carbon copy of my ticket. “Rip this up when I drive away,” he says.
I pause, rewind what he just said, and sputter, “Pardon me?”
“It’s a warning,” he adds before walking away, turning off the red and blue lightshow, and pulling a U-turn to drive away. In hindsight, perhaps I should have heeded the warning more seriously, as a symbol of the impending doom of prom night.
My misadventure has caused me to miss happy hour, but I go to the bar anyway and discover that my classmates have put two beers on layaway for me. In the excitement of explaining my “warning” to several young men who have criminal records thanks to Officer Noseworthy, I forget that Option Z forsook me earlier in the evening. I am an optimist with a short-term memory problem.
Late the next afternoon, Option Z arrives at our family farm, sidesteps our golden retriever, and presents me with a pin-on corsage the size of a rose bush. For obvious reasons, this doesn’t work with a strapless gown. My mom attaches an elastic band to the bouquet and lassos the corsage to my wrist. Gravity, which is not to be my friend that night, rotates it to the underside of my arm. Excellent: now I’ve got a grapefruit-sized growth as my biggest accessory, besides my hair. The situation is further complicated by the color combination: a black and hot pink dress accented by a peach rose bush. Despite this minor catastrophe, when we exit the house I am thankful for small miracles: no rifles or shotguns make an appearance.
We drive out of the yard, through the small town, and on to the big city, where we meet friends and climb into the obligatory, tacky stretch limo. Sipping Baby Duck, I realize that I must have missed the health class on strapless bras that my girlfriends obviously attended. Newton’s Second Law of Motion is taking its toll: objects with mass, such as my breasts, fall to the ground when released. I look down at my Flamenco-style dress and recall seeing it in Seventeen magazine on an anorexic with perky breasts. Why didn’t the saleswoman tell me I needed a strapless bra?
One false move and I will become a photo op for National Geographic.
To be continued…
Tell me I’m not alone on this one:
Have you ever been pulled over by the police? Ever got a speeding ticket?