The Zimbrics bought a used Audi instead of a new Buick because of the rings on the hood. The dad was a manager at a Styrofoam company and mom worked as a travel agent. The youngest of their boys, Zombie, was my classmate and we’d spend the summer driving Titlists at the convent 200 yards down the street from his backyard. The older boy had split his head open on a boulder when he dove off the waterfall in the park and now spent his days in his bedroom recreating April Wine and Foghat album covers with colored pencils and construction paper. They weren’t bad for a dude that had 50 stitches holding his skull together a few years before.
Back to school shopping for me meant mom would spend $20 at Farm & Fleet on a good year or patching up one of my brother’s Wranglers on a bad year. I hated the first few weeks of middle school because my friends would have new Levi’s, Nike’s and Lacoste polos while I was stewing in my sibling’s skid marks because the dummy liked going commando.
In 8th grade, Zombie showed up to the first week of school with a different colored Lacoste everyday. We were sitting in cafeteria at lunch on Friday when I noticed the alligator’s tail was starting to curl up. I reached over and yanked the reptile off his polo. The other six kids at the table looked at me like I had just knocked a dry cell off Robert Conrad’s shoulder. “Look!”, I said as I grabbed Zombie’s collar and flashed the Farm & Fleet tag on the back of his polo. Don’t remember if Zombie’s mom bothered to stitch the alligator back on or not.
I’m not trying to make the Zimbric’s sound like an asshole family. They weren’t. They fed me almost as regularly as my own family did. I did Zombie a favor by ripping that lie off his chest. He might have walked around school for a year with this deceit eating at his soul. Being shamed isn’t bad. Being ashamed of being shamed is bad. And that is why I drink in parking lots.
How much pride are you gonna have drinking here?
When the owner of the white sedan walks past you and your buddy are chugging Carlsberg in the shadows, do you get a lot of social status points?
Cement counter and the vent pipe looks like a straw.
This parking lot, my Thursday night haunt, faces a noodle restaurant that belches out the aroma of sweaty socks.
Maybe you want a TV screen devouring your rods and cones. My Sunday bar is decorated with windows that you expect Sadako to crawl out of at any minute.
Parking lot drinking is not without its dangers.
A coworker about 10 years ago busted me drinking in the parking lot across from our office. “What are you doing?” “I’m having a beer. Want one?” Over the years, I’ve had various coworkers, clients and friends join me. At first, they correctly think I’m weird, but that doesn’t stop them from coming by at the right time and to the right lot. Dropping all the pretenses and forgetting about trying to impress anyone is a wonderful way to drink. Rip that gator off your shirt and give it a try sometime.