Thursday, October 07, 2004


I have always been the designated driver. I am always the appointed chauffeur. It is assumed and taken for granted that I do the driving in this family. In Ireland when he had to assume the role, it was a major problem. Hence, the extra grey hairs, the new swear words and the kissing of the ground at the Return Car Rental Area. It was the same in Boston. It began with me driving off into the night after our flight arrived at Logan around midnight, happy and naive, sporting the glad to be alive attitude. I paid the toll and as I approached the tunnel I realized the twelve lanes were merging into four and that I was being squeezed and had no idea which lane I needed to be in......Then the screaming began.....Well, do you all remember that scene from "Clueless" when she inadvertently enters the LA Freeway? It was very much like that. The Boston experience will have to remain in my memory treasure chest for another time....This entry is about Louisville Friday night.

The Octoberfest at one time was a great event in Louisville. When I lived there in the 1980's it was held in a section of Louisville known as Butchertown. An empty lot was fenced in and the vendors set up booths, a stage was built for the center piece and a tent was erected for Duckdancing and other polka type dances the Germans love. Back in the '80's I could go and actually run into people I knew. But that was a long time ago before the world changed.

Now it is being held on Fourth Street downtown. It seemed like a fun place to check out, so Joe and I went down there. I expected to stay a couple of hours eating, watching Joe throw back a couple of beers, Duckdancing all that great Octoberfest activities. The festival was spread out over the block between Broadway and Chestnut with the stage at the far end. The closeness that the fenced in lot had and the compradery that it demanded was missing at Fourth street. The enchanting quality was gone. I threw back my one beer and settled in for people watching. Joe wanted to leave.

So we left.

I am the designated driver for several reasons. The most important is that Joe drinks much faster than I do. The result of that is that he has to go to the bathroom about five times as many times as I do. I think he was tiny tanks. I know every bathroom pit stop from Mass to Florida. I know most of them in Ireland, for the love of God! It begins with Joe saying "You better start looking for a stop." Friday night I quipped back, "Is it code orange?" He replied, "It feels more like a yellow."

A minute later, IT'S RED, IT'S RED !!!! I am use to this frantic tone and know when its serious, and it sounded serious. I pulled over on a side road that runs alongside the Waterworks and I darted into the main drive way. To both sides of us was a large concrete retaining wall with huge columns at the entrance, Joe ducked behind one of them.

He must have really had to go, because he was back there for a long time.....and then the police officer pulled up next to me. I panicked.....Flashback to the 1970's......My heart was pounding and I was ineffectively trying to roll down my window, which is electronic! I could only think about the beer I had drank 15 minutes ago. My professional life was passing before my eyes. I finally wrenched open the car door and almost fell out, "Are you okay?" he asked.

All I could think of was, "Peeing in public is a crime", so I said the first thing that popped into my mind, "I pulled over to use my cell phone!", he nodded and drove through the iron gate that opened for him. Joe hops into the car, "That was a close one." he says.

It took five minutes for my heart to stop pounding. The '70's ruined me.

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