A straight line, the wrong wristband


Ordering is as simple as lifting your hand and nodding for one more.

By Alejandro Rodrigues, Staff Writer

The passport photo was childishly old, but it worked. So much had changed when I had awkwardly posed for it in a CVS two years ago. Yet, as time passes so do opportunities, but this one was not going to get away from me. Forget the reason, I was going to the Bahamas.

A week long, all expenses paid, vacation in the sun soaked, party country famous for good times. I was a year short of the age of “fun”, but I was so unbelievably nervous as the hotel receptionist wavered at putting on my wristband.

He had switched twice; from green to red until he settled on green. He gave me a wink after inspecting my passport. Bohemians are cool like that.

“This wristband is very important. It will give you access to all of our facilities and lets staff recognize you as our guest. As such, you have access to our buffet, bar, and private beach, no need to pay or show I.D. Replacing the band is a charge of $200. . .”

He continued from his invisible script but I stopped listening. I had heard all I needed to confirm my options. People told me I looked and acted 20, I just had to get past ordering. It’d be a breeze.

But I knew nothing, too timid and scared to get caught in the act of ordering. I goofed off for three days listening to orders, eyeing that glorified bottle rack, intimidated.

“One royal flush”, I said with faltering confidence that died in the middle of my throat. I made sure to casually flash my wristband.

No hesitation, just a glass with a red concoction and ice. She went back about her business leaving me to my curiosity. It was bitter. An aluminum taste lingered at the back of my throat and tongue.

Sex on the beach. Dirty banana. Hard lemonade. Khalik. Sands Platinum.

Different names that all mean a special way to pour from more than one bottle into my glass.

My next hurdle was to find my limit. I needed something to brag about to the party kids back at home. I spent my whole last day, trying to find out what the difference is between a “buzz” and being “drunk”. From the unruly hour of 12 pm to almost 1 am.

I drank. A lot.  Too much!  Driven by curiosity, I tried an array of “tropical” beverages.

Why do people drink alcohol?  The gradual loss of control of how my head swayed slightly. I felt as if my eyes were a camera lens zoomed in, I couldn’t see a whole picture. I had walked in a straight line everywhere I went.

Was I drunk yet? My feet rolled slightly as I looked down to make sure I walked the straight line the colorful tiles made. My hand slipped using my fork. I moved too fast and my spaghetti almost came off of my plate. A straight line to the elevator. A straight line to my hotel room.

I had walked a straight line all my life, avoiding temptation. Yet, as I lay pondering the lack of sensations in my legs and the feeling of weightlessness, I realized something.

This insecure feeling of not being in control, of being forced to let go, people die because of it. Families are destroyed by bottles such as the ones I partook in. Cars crash, lives are ruined, careers stop short, all because curiosity turned into a habit, a need. The curiosity that drove me, came face to face with reality.

This feeling solves no problems. The length of this escape is a short one and only adds more danger and stress to one’s situation. How could drinking ever be justified? I had taken a detour and it wasn’t worth it.

I had walked a straight line and wavered. In life and in the halls of a beach resort.

I had learned about myself. I learned that I like the straight line.