Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Bread Truck

The story you are about to hear is a cautionary tale. The names have not been changed to protect the innocent (namely me) and no animals were hurt in the telling of this tale. Professionals did not do the stunts, but don’t try this at home anyway; that would be pure craziness. Remember children: drugs and alcohol don’t mix; use them separately.

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Things were different in the late seventies. People drank. People drugged. People sexed. People danced. These things happened openly and with a great sense of pride and excitement. You could walk into any office and see lines of coke running parallel across the desk of a company’s president with his workers ranged around him, everyone imbibing. People carried pills around like they were Valentine’s Day confections. Disco bounced and gyrated the bodies of silkily dressed girls and tight pantsed, polyester clad boys. Men wore gold chains around their exposed chests and knuckle rings with big stones on manicured fingers. Women went braless in all of their natural low cut bounty. Life partied heartily.

I came from a very middle class background and found it all fascinating. I flitted from one experience to another, marveling at the alien world I saw other people living.

One of the places that always fascinated me was Go-Go bars. We call them Gentlemen’s Clubs now. I got a job running the business side of the bar. I booked the dancers, ordered the alcohol, hired bartenders and kept the books. The owner always tried to get me to dance or tend bar. He thought a buxom blonde would be good for business. I politely declined as both positions required fewer clothes than I wanted to wear.

I got to know the women who danced (and other things) in these bars. I searched for the poor woman who danced to support her child or the one who tried to better her self by making money for college. Somehow these women never materialized. Most of these girls hooked from one drug hit to the next. Glamour didn’t party with any of them; desperation, heartache and addiction sat on barstools and twisted around poles.

Through one of these women, I found a doctor in Philadelphia who specialized in weight loss using “real” diet pills. Pink, white and green pills gave me energy and took away my appetite. I took sixteen of these in various combinations throughout the day. At night, blue pills would calm my body down enough for it to relax but they had the opposite effect on my mind. Under regular circumstances my dreams are peopled with fantastic beasts and heroes of epic proportion. While taking these prescription sleeping pills, monsters that made Godzilla look like a baby bunny chased me and psychopathic killers lusted after my loved ones. I stopped taking the sleeping pills.

I quit eating (but I looked good.) I slept about an hour a day and some people said I talked to myself in long drawn out and involved conversations. I went for a week like this.

The Go-Go bar owner had a party one night. It was the first time he allowed me to socialize with the dancers, bartenders and patrons. The owner bought drinks for everyone. Men showered me with attention, being the new girl in the group. I drank liberally and soaked up the sweet words directed at me. I became giddy with drink, pills, a lack of food, sleep and accolades. One man even sang to me.

When the bar closed at two, the party moved to an all-night club that had live bands. I drove myself and a few other party goers. We danced and drank until the sun came up. We went to a diner for breakfast. Toast and home fries tasted great after not eating for a week.

I drove home as the sun rose. I gave a lift to one of the dancers who went out with us to the late night club. The air chilled us and the dancer needed her rest, so we kept the radio off and the heat on and all of the windows closed. I’m so considerate.

Someone screamed in my sleep. I woke up slowly, wondering where all of the noise came from and who disturbed my peaceful slumber. I was cozy in the warm car and hadn’t felt this good in months. I heard screaming about someone being dead. I peeked out of my eyes.

On the left, out of the driver’s side window, the dancer ran up and down the highway, trying to flag down other drivers. Through the windshield and on the right, I saw trees. One tree even bent over the hood of the car. I went back to sleep.

I heard some tapping which I totally ignored. I was having some sort of sweet dream and I did not want to be disturbed. The tapping was accompanied by someone calling my name. Someone in a uniform leaned over me and opened the driver’s door. Other people in uniforms lifted me onto a stretcher.

I recognized that some of the people were emergency workers and others were policemen. The policemen kept asking me questions about what happened and wanted to know if I had been drinking. I giggled at that questions and answered honestly about partying all night long.

“Do you know what happened here?” asked one of the policemen.

“I fell asleep,” I answered.

“Do you know you hit something?” asked the other officer.

“Yes, I think I do.”

“Do you know what you hit?”

“I ran into the back of a Wonder bread truck.”

First, there was silence then everyone burst into laughter. The policemen, the ambulance workers, the other drivers who had stopped were all laughing at me.

“What’s so funny?” I mumbled in my half dozing state.

“You ran into a bread truck, alright,” said one of the cops, “you hit the back of an armored car.”

~ ~ ~

I suffered a fractured sternum and whiplash. The innocent dancer had a cut on her forehead. The car did not survive. No tickets were issued and no one lost their license. I gave up pills, cut down on my drinking and quit my job at the Go-Go bar.

24 comments:

  1. Weren't you only like 20 in 1979, so what year in the 70's did you work at a go-go bar and do all those drugs. I love uppers though hee - they make you look fabulous and you usually end up with a super clean house because of all the energy

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  2. I'm glad you survived.I was nevber part of that world so it was interesting to read. Now I am glad I wasn't part of that world.

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  3. Are you kidding me? An armored car? I'll never see another armored car or bread truck that I don't think of this story. Glad everyone survived. No tickets?

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  4. (Uses stoned hippie voice)Wow, there was a lot of bread in that armored truck, man. I'm glad you got out of that environment, Nessa.

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  5. Oh my! You've had the exciting life, huh? What a crazy story, thanks for sharing. I guess it's probably a good thing this happened before you really screwed yourself and/or someone else up (sometimes wake-up calls come just at the right time).

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  6. Nibbs, I think I was at that party. All I remember was you asking me, "Can I borrow your car for about a half hour, Gawpo? I'll be right back." Now I know what happened. Great story. You are an excellent writer, too.

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  7. Great story, particularly in your telling of it.

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  8. If it weren't for the fact it involved people being injured this story would be hilarious... lol...

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  9. and you say i'm a crazy woman!

    what a fab story!

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  10. Libragirl: I was in my really stupid mid-twenties. I know what you mean about uppers. It’s a shame they are so bad for you.

    Dr. John: Unfortunately, my curiosity lead me to a few places I was lucky enough to get out of without too much wear and tear. Actually, I had quite a bit of fun but don’t tell anyone.

    Swampy: I have an armored car on my route to work and it makes me giggle when I see it. I was very, very lucky. Back then I don’t think anyone got DUI tickets.

    Grunty: Thanks, me too. Not a healthy lifestyle.

    Anita: Yes, it was a wake up call and I’m glad I was paying attention.

    Gawpo: Thanks. For the compliment and the use of your ride.

    Mal: Thanks, I’m glad you liked.

    Brooke: Since no one was permanently injured it is more than ok to laugh (at the foolish me.)

    Tina: Thanks. I think you may have a little silliness in you too.

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  11. Nessa -- I remember those days. Luckily I mostly remember watching my peers doing just the things you describe. I did have a brief fling with the diet pills, but a 48 hour nap (luckily alone in my own bed) put an end to that.

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  12. Wow...different times.

    If this had happened now, you would've been sued by everyone and thrown in jail.

    I hope at the very least, you were wearing clean underwear.

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  13. I missed all this, by the time I was of an age to find these things interesting it was all
    "Just say NO!" and
    "Safe Sex"
    Quite the adventure there, Nessa.

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  14. It seems almost surreal Nessa, like it all passed in a sort of dream - there are no consequences to dreams.

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  15. Ahhh we are of an age, but I was soooo the good little girl. I did NONE of those things. I'm glad you got out of that environment!!
    YIKES, armored car!

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  16. I'm sure we've all got tales to tell, but that one will take some beating!

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  17. Woah! That must have been scary! Glad you came out of it alive! Whew!

    Women went braless in all of their natural low cut bounty.

    Ah, those were the days. :)

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  18. No tickets! They must have been thrilled it wasn't a robbery. So glad you lived to tell the tale.

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  19. Wow, what a story! Yeah, nowadays they'd at least have made you go to some class and do community service or something.

    How much money did the dancers make, do you remember? Compared to regular waitresses? I think the general public thinks that strippers make a lot more than most really do, but maybe this is because they really did make a lot more 20-30 years ago when there was less competition.

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  20. Holy crap! What a great story! You never cease to surprise me...crazy girl!

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  21. Your blog ate my comment Nessa, jeez nothing is safe on blogger any more! Great story, I really missed out choosing the military over the go-go club in the late 70's. Who knew?

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  22. This story was as interesting as the first time I read it and I am still glad I wasn't part of that group.

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  23. Ah the good ole days. Yikes. Glad you made it through them. I have to agree some of them were pretty fun. I do know people with stories not too dissimlar, I'm related to them and of course they're in 12 step recovery programs :)

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