Daddy/Daughter Fun Time is feeling nostalgic.
Did I tell you about the time I almost got arrested for domestic abuse in Solvang? Funny story.
In 2009, we went on a camping expedition to Lake Cachuma in Santa Barbara County (two hours north of Los Angeles) with Julianna’s pre-school class. It was on a beautiful lake in the middle of nowhere.
In the pitch black darkness at 11 o’clock…
One of the mothers was escorting children to the bathrooms a quarter mile away. Holding both hands with the kids, she stumbled and fell face-first onto the roadway.
Patty (not her real name) needs to go to the hospital. Her face is a mess. Who can drive her? She’s bleeding!
Among the still-awake, word spread quickly. Around the fire-pit, no one offered. The bottles of Fireball Whiskey and Tequila and something smoke-able and God knows what else had made the rounds.
Who can drive her? Everyone looked at each other. (not me… not me… not me…) And, then,
I raise my hand.
When I am the most sober person at a campfire in the middle of nowhere after the smores and the tall tales and the bourbon, you know there’s going to be problems.
I volunteer to take Patty to a hospital 45 minutes away in Solvang, on uncharted roads. (The guard says, drive 20 miles that way, then 10 miles this way, then 8 miles. Then left. Don’t miss it because no U-turns for 15 miles on the totally deserted 2-lane road. Yeah, right.)
Angela (actually, her real name. Also a great name for a story like this) comes along cradling Patty’s head wrapped in a towel.
I haven’t even started telling this story, and look how enticed you are. And here is where it begins.
Someone gave us a Garmin GPS device, because it was the Dark Ages before they were standard in-dash items. “In 12 miles, left turn ahead…”
We arrive at the hospital around 12:30.
Walking in are Patty, Angela, and me. Patty has a bloody towel covering her face.
Now, the Solvang Santa Ynez Hospital Emergency Room doesn’t get a lot of action, even on a Saturday night. Maybe a heart attack once in a while. The occasional weapons discharge.
But, one thing I’m sure they get a lot of cases are: Domestic Abuse.
We all walk in, Angela is holding Patty. I come in a few steps after.
The nurse/receptionist notices the bloody towel and asks what is the problem.
Patty says, matter of factly: I fell.
The nurse’s eyes dart at me like sabers.
The nurse calls the doctor.
Nurse: She fell.
Doctor: She fell?
His eyes dart at me.
And, I’m like… What the fuck. Yeah, she fell. And, I’m doing my civic duty, helping a friend in need. Angela is not the Sister Wife. If Vincent didn’t blast through half a bottle of Jaegermeister, he could have brought his own damn wife here. But, I did it instead. She simply fell.
I’m the hero.
The doctor insinuates: Well, we’ll see.
He nods to the nurse, who picks up the phone. I couldn’t see the number she called, but she only tapped three numbers. The first one may have been a 9.
The doctor takes Patty and Angela behind the screen. I am shown to the waiting room. I don’t know exactly what questions the doctor asked Patty. I’m sure some of them included: Did he hit you? Did he push you? Did he hurt you?
And, none of: Was he the soberist guy around the fire pit talking about William Mulholland and the waterways that get water to Los Angeles. (Yes the topic du jour before I was called away)
It takes quite a while for the ER doc to gently pull the gravel and dirt and schmutz out of Patty’s face, and stitch up.
Apparently, Patty and Angela answered true enough that the patrol car turned around and headed to its next meth lab.
When all was said and done, Patty thanked me vociferously for my help. At 2:30am. She said that the nearest ER plastic surgeon was 30 minutes away in Santa Barbara, because it was her face and all.
I volunteered to take her, because my night was already busted. But, “No,” she said, “you’ve already done enough.”
And, I’m like, Dude… I didn’t get arrested yet. Let’s go to Santa Barbara!
But, I was actually very sleepy.
We rolled back to the campground around 3:30 a.m. With a story to tell…