My hometown is a small town crushed between two sides of America. The working professionals who moved there to raise their children, and the rural locals who have been there for generations and in many cases, struggle in blue collar jobs to barely survive. Growing up there was not nearly as pleasant of an experience as you might think. Throughout high school I saw the effects of such a great divide in population as it tore apart the members of the community, especially the kids who called that town home.
Over the five years since I have left I have seen my Facebook newsfeed clutter with teenage mothers, prison sentences and tragic deaths. The town is awash with hard drugs and underage drinking. The wealth of the white collar kids brings in cocaine, heroin and all matter of illegal substances. Predictably, and incredibly unjustly, it is the drugs never seem to hurt them. However, the poverty of the blue collar kids keeps them drowning in the chemical sea introduced by the upper middle class. That is the town I grew up in. I am glad I got out when I had a chance.
The only time I was a designated driver and actually stayed sober.
There was a time, sophomore year of College, when I didn’t drink. It was half a conscious decision, with the other half decided for me by my then girlfriend, Ella. The reason that I did not do much drinking is a story for another time, but my sobriety was the rationale behind the events of a cold November night. It was no later than nine pm when I left Ella’s room to go back to my own, at least in theory. In reality, as I entered my building on the quiet New Hampshire campus I was stopped by a friend, Ben.
Ben was as close to a NH local as you could be while still being a Massachusetts yuppy wasp. I loved the kid, but he was one of the quirkiest people I had ever met. We had become fast friends the year before through our shared predilection towards 4am cigarettes and voluntary all nighters. Whenever he smoked a cigarette he would spit after nearly every drag, many times on himself in fact. New Hampshire mountain wind was not the most forgiving for someone with that habit. He was from a well off family but one of his front teeth was chipped, a remnant of a beer bottle taken forcefully to the face, from another friend of ours. He could have gotten it fixed but he didn’t. Amazingly none of this stopped beautiful girls from dating him with a surprising amount of regularity. Continue reading “The Mazda”