In Uncharted Waters

, , , , | Related | July 5, 2018

(In the early to mid-90s, our family is on a barbecue picnic outing with several other families in a park. I’m around nine or ten, and the other families all also have kids about my age, or even younger. The adults are all busy putting together side dishes, arranging picnic supplies, and grilling meat. Meanwhile, us kids are just milling around or playing. There’s a bunch of supplies people brought just lying around on the ground and tables. After running around a bit, I happen to become thirsty, but we don’t have individual water bottles back then. So, not wanting to bother the adults, I just go over to the supplies and pick out what looks like a perfectly normal liter-sized soda bottle with clear water in it, and begin taking a drink, not touching the bottle itself with my mouth. All of a sudden:)

Adult #1: “Noooo!”

Adult #2: “Stop!”

Adult #3: “No! No! No!”

Adult #4: “Oh, my God, [My Name]! Don’t drink that!”

(Totally confused, I pull away from the bottle while several adults come running over in a panic, and take the bottle away with shocked faces.)

Me: “What? I just wanted some water!”

Adult #2: “Oh, Lord!”

Adult #4: “[My Name], that’s vodka!”

Me: “What?!”

Adult #4: “Didn’t you notice the taste?”

Me: “…”

(I somehow managed not to notice. Even as an adult, I can’t tolerate the taste of alcohol, so I can’t figure out how I wouldn’t have noticed it then. Maybe I never actually got any in my mouth. The other kids thought it was very funny and kept asking me afterwards what it tasted like. That bottle was completely unmarked regarding what it really contained, though, and during the brouhaha, no one seemed to own up to having brought it, though clearly everyone knew what was in it. Who does that on a picnic outing with young kids?)

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