Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Tailgating Memories

Speaking of tailgating at NC State, I recall a funny story from September 1989. I had finished grad school at State a month earlier, and I was ready for a serious party. This particular day was just right.

The Rolling Stones and Living Colour came to Raleigh on a Saturday, which allowed my group of friends to spend the entire day getting "prepared" for the show. Just to sweeten the pot, the oldest and wildest member of our group was turning 30 at midnight after the show, so we had the right mix of elements for a memorable evening.

The drinking commenced well before noon, and it never slowed down, not even during the concert. The guy next to me was so plowed that he kept leaning/falling forward. I spent the whole night grabbing the back of his belt and pulling him back into our row.

After the show, our crew started piling into the back of my pickup truck. The first guy who jumped in...I'll call him Brad...made perfect contact with the dew-moistened bed liner. In a move Wile E. Coyote would envy, both of his feet flew above his head and he crashed to earth head first. We hit the ground laughing right after he did.

Traffic patterns after a stadium concert are never well defined. It took a while to sort out lanes of traffic and proper merging etiquette. We were trying to find a place to get into the flow when a state trooper locked eyes with me.

We were edging along at maybe 2 mph, but he gave me an emphatic signal to stop. He reinforced his gesture by storming to my window and saying "If you move that truck one inch, I'll break both your damn arms."

I was in shock, but the rowdies in the back were sufficiently lubricated to respond. "Brad" immediately asked "You're gonna break both his arms?" The trooper glared at me, then Brad, then walked a few feet away to talk to another trooper. I was trying to figure out how to avoid a certain ride downtown with broken limbs.

A student helping with traffic control saw my confrontation with the trooper. Sympathizing with a group of students, and perhaps wishing he join the rowdies in the back of the truck, he stopped five or six merging lanes of traffic, then vigorously waved me through. I drove straight through the opening he created as the trooper watched, helpless to stop me in a sea of thousands of cars.

I'm still not sure what would have happened had that student not rescued my gang and me.


<< Home

© Copyright Patrick Eakes 2004-2010