Everyday Answers to all our Psychological Problems
Mr. Greenal's Prophesy
“One day you will all come home drunk and make a complete fool of yourself in front of your parents,” disclosed our drama teacher Mr. Greenal to his class of 15 year olds. He was known to overshare vividly so the class always loved his crazy stories and cautionary tales.
“Yeah, that won’t ever be me.” I say confidently to myself.
He read my mind: “Just you wait, Honey. It happens to the best of us.”
In Hong Kong, there are no laws against open liquor bottles in public. So typically you might see road workers enjoying a beer on the street after hours, but that’s about it.
However, if the alcohol in question is a giant handle of cheap vodka passed around by four sixteen year olds who were still wearing their plaid school uniforms, and the public place was actually a neighborhood playground, passersby might take notice. This was just the scenario that led me to fulfill Mr Greenals prophecy. And to do so in a matter of months, not years.
It was mid-May and my group of friends and I had just finished the last of our IGCSE exams - a two year program from the UK that many international schools also follow. Our last exam was Physics and ended at 2 PM. We left the exam room cheering and charging through the halls in delight, throwing our school notes in the trash cans with glee. After two years of preparation, countless hours of studying and stress, we were finally free of any academic pressure. I recall taking the public bus with Noah, Temmy, and Lawrence, planning how we could celebrate this newfound freedom. Since we all lived near the same subway station we decided to go straight to the nearest supermarket and buy a jug of the cheapest vodka along with a gallon of orange juice. Once the supplies were acquired we headed to a public playground and settled down by the swing sets to commemorate the special day.
We looked absolutely ridiculous. The massive bottle of vodka hoisted against our blue and green school uniforms and our enormous school bags were still stuffed with books. We all took turns taking swigs from the handle and hastily grabbed the orange juice to chase down what tasted like rubbing alcohol. As we reminisced over the past two years we gradually became less and less sober. We clambered around the playground, looking like ghastly giants on the child-sized tunnels and slides.
Let’s not forget this was around 2:30 in the afternoon. Children were being let out of a nearby kindergarten and their parents were all picking them up and bringing them to a space that drunk teenagers were currently occupying. Some began to walk over to us threateningly but gave up when they realized it was probably more trouble than it’s worth to deal with foolish teenagers and steered their kids away. The four of us noticed the attention, but that just emboldened this group of 16 year olds. We were finally free! The entire playground, or what we could see of it, had become our domain.
The four of us eventually decided to part ways and head home. Considering the state I was in I’m surprised I made it to the correct bus that would eventually take me home. I clambered up the steps to my front door and was greeted by a warm hug from my mom. “Congrats on finishing your final exam, you must feel so relieved!” She strangely didn’t question my late arrival nor notice the stench of alcohol in my hair. After greeting me she rushed back to the kitchen, “I’m making your favorite noodles to celebrate! Could you fold the laundry so we can all sit down as a family and enjoy dinner later?” That’s when I noticed the massive pile of clean clothes on our couch. I’m not that drunk, I thought to myself as I started folding the laundry. I can do this. I’ve been folding clothes for years. This is nothing.
As I laid my hands on the various shapes, colors, and styles, I began to feel very uneasy. I cannot say this was an unfamiliar feeling. I felt cold but was sweating profusely. My stomach churned and the room started to spin. (The citrus booze bomb inside me was churning and getting ready to blow.) [I needed to vomit. But I didn’t have time]. In a second, there she blows, and the brightly orange noxious cocktail spewed all over my family’s freshly cleaned clothes. I looked down in shock but I didn't have time to process my disgusting creation before a second wave hit. My mom poked her head out of the kitchen and looked at her sick daughter in utter shock, followed by extreme disappointment. “It's food poisoning! It’s food poisoning I promise, I ate something weird after leaving school,” I yelled before I vomited all over the clothes again. “I swear it's food poisoning!” *vomits*. My mom isn't stupid, but if she knew it wasn't food poisoning, she chose to keep that to herself.
As I washed my face and rinsed my mouth, I heard Mr.Greenal’s words echo in my mind. At least I got that done with soon enough, I thought. He was right all along, this does happen to the best of us.