Ride or Die

1, 2, skip a few, 99, 100.

Remember, we don’t have to go in order. I reserve the right to go back in time at any time.

It was the summer of 1990. I was 17 and I had just graduated from high school. My roommates, Cynderella and Ten, also recent graduates, were in Hawaii on their grad trip. Mine wasn’t until the following week, so me and Feli were left alone to wreak havoc on Greenhaven.

Feli didn’t actually live with us, but she had first dibs on the couch. The living room at Greenhaven Lake Apartments was her bedroom. If she wasn’t at Rita’s, that is. Her mom liked her to come home. We were all ok with that, cuz she mommed us all and we needed it. Her tacos were the best. She fried each one by hand. She taught me to use toothpicks to hold them closed, so you could fry them with the meat inside. She can be in my cookbook, too. Recipes of a Neglected Childhood. She fed us and asked us questions. Where are you going? Who are you going with? What time will you be back? Do you have gas? Be home by 12:30. Or at least 1. I want the house clean before you leave tomorrow. Lines in the carpet from the vacuum. Did you do your laundry? What about homework?

Like a real mom.

She taught me that you should always fill your tank up on payday. She taught me that you gotta live your life the way you want to, you gotta take risks, and you gotta have a safety net. Nobody gets to hurt you, and if they do, you can leave. You are strong enough to stop the cycle of abuse. You can stand up for yourself and the ones that matter will still love you. She taught me that good moms will do anything for their kids. They will work two jobs if they have to, just so their kids can have new shoes. So their kids can jump off and go wherever they want in life. They ask questions and they are present. They make sure there is food in the fridge and they treat their kids friends like they are family.


And so, Feli and I had been somewhere that night, I can’t remember if it was a party or just hanging out at Jesse’s. That’s another one I want to write about, my friend Jesse. It’s easier to write about dead people, you know. You can’t hurt them by telling the truth. It’s the living you have to be careful for. Choose your words wisely. I will get there. But not today. Today it’s Feli’s turn.

So we were already lit. It was late. We went to Ernie’s and got 40’s. I can’t remember if I used my fake ID to buy them. Part of this memory is a blur. We were rarely sober. My ID said I was 27 and blonde. I looked nothing like the photo. I can’t remember what happened to that ID, I might have lost it at Fanny Ann’s. They were the only ones that ever gave me a hard time about that ID. The only bar in town that didn’t let me and my tits in, using that ID anyway.

So we got our 40’s of Old 8, and we drove around Greenhaven doing Chinese Firedrills. Please don’t cancel me, I know that’s a racist thing to say. But that is what we called it then. I don’t even know why it was called that, to be honest. I would never use that term today. I’m learning as I go.

There was no one else on the road. It was late and the streets of Greenhaven were our playground. Everyone was asleep or parented in Suburbia. Feli would stop the car and we would each get out, run around the car and switch drivers. Then I would stop the car and we did the same. Each time we added new challenges. “Ok, this time, run around the car, do 5 jumping jacks, shout Fuck the Po-leeece, and get back in your seat.”

Done. Laugh so hard you almost pee your pants.

Next, we were in front of Greenhaven Cabana Club South. Where the pedestrian overpass thing is. By the green belt. “Ok, this time, take your beer with you, run around the car, up over the overpass, pass each other and “cheers” as you pass and take a drink then run back down to the car and whoever is last to get to the car has to drive. Ready, go!”

So we go. And it is fucking hilarious. Still no people or cars to be seen. While running as fast as I could, I drop my 40. Glass everywhere. My shoes are in the car. Barefoot, with momentum. Can’t stop. No cheers. Drunk brain doesn’t think to swerve to avoid the glass.

I ran over broken glass with bare feet.

I am bleeding, we are dying laughing, and we get in the car. Feli drives cuz it hurts and I’m bleeding everywhere. Bloody footprints everywhere. In her car, on the pavement, all the way into the apartment, on the carpet, straight into the bathtub.

Feli hand picked the glass out of the bottoms of my feet and then we soaked them. You can’t really use bandaids for this type of thing. Feli helped me hobble to the couch, put a towel under me and the she cleaned up the murder scene. I wish we had taken pictures of the bloody footprints. It was a lot of blood. They eventually did stop bleeding, we avoided the ER and the popo, and we survived another night drunk in Greenhaven.

I could hardly walk for that whole week. They were mostly healed by the time me and Nadia left for Puerto Vallarta for our grad trip. I did have to clean the sand out of the cuts and gouges, though. Mas cerveza por favor. That grad trip is another story, lol.

10 out of 10, do not recommend drinking and driving at any time. What’s done is done and we can’t change the past. Nobody was permanently hurt and it’s one of my core memories of friendship, survival, comedy, and proof of how stupid we were. And how fucking lucky we all were to survive those years, unparented and unpoliced.

But it is highly recommended that you get you a friend that makes you laugh until your belly aches, is by your side in good times and bad, doesn’t leave you while you are bleeding in the street, gets you home safely no matter what, picks the broken glass out of your feet and cleans up the mess aka gets rid of the evidence while you lay on the couch contemplating your life choices.

That, my friends, is the definition of ride or die.


1996ish, Manhattan Beach, at some bar. Feli, Cynderella, and me.

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