Last week Chelsea Handler took a lot of heat about high-fiving Jason Priestly on her show when they acknowledged they had both been arrested for a DUI. The generally criticism was that the two were condoning drinking and driving or even making it cool. (Check out the clip on Huff PO). I was arguing with my boyfriend about it when I admitted I hadn’t actually watched the clip, but understood the sentiment. I understood the high-five. He told me it wasn’t valid for me to argue sine I hadn’t seen it. While I agreed, I informed him that society was built on people arguing ideas that they were only mildly knowledgeable of, so why should I be different?
I watched it. I still don’t see the wrong.
Not in driving drunk; there’s plenty wrong with that and numerous statistics and testimonials to prove it. Chelsea and Jason shared a moment of owning their experiences and, sadly, a moment of honesty. Getting a DUI is super common in this fancy little town of unappealing transportation options we live in. Before Lyft and Uber, getting a taxi was just about as easy as finding an actor who didn’t name drop. You know they’re out there, but your expectations are low. I’ve had cabs refuse to take me for not going the direction they wanted or not going far enough. They’ve refused to let me pay with a credit card while the machine was right in front of me and twice even dropped my neighbor off at the bottom of our street because they didn’t want to go up the hill!
I’m no stranger to the bus, and usually don’t mind it. Oh, except when that guy thought I bumped him with my shoe and tried to kill me. That was fun.
So yes, while it is never a good idea, this town pushes the limits of intoxicated driving. And I will add, stupidly so. All in all the DUI cost me over 10 grand, my insurance skyrocketed, I spent 3 hours every Thursday night for four months in a class with fluorescent lights. (I look awful in fluorescent). I blew into a breathalyzer to start my car for five months, super fun on dates and when mom came to visit. Oh, and I probably sunk into depression for a couple months in which I overgrew my beard and looked like Osama Bin Laden.
What I didn’t do was hurt anyone, and I will always be grateful for that. Coming off that ride, while wiser now, the experience is something I would definitely undo if I could. I sat in a class of 20 people who all thought the same thing: I have to do this, it’s my fault, lesson learned. Except for one guy who was just a damn mess and got kicked out, but he was the exception.
Chelsea told Jason after their high-five that you only get one. After that you should have learned your lesson. The lesson? Don’t drink and drive. It’s really not worth it. If you can afford the DUI, you can afford to have private town car pick you up.
The other lesson? A DUI is a mistake many people have made, but we all keep quiet about it because we’re ashamed of it until we do tell someone and they high-five us. They share the same shame. And that makes it…well…a little less shameful.
We’re not celebrating our DUIs. We’re celebrating that, hey, we’re not really giant fuck-ups after all if there’s more of us. We just made a mistake.
Don’t get me wrong. Some of you out there are giant fuck-ups. Especially if you’ve been caught and you’re still tempting fate. If that’s you, take your high-fiving hand and use it to hail a cab.
love and safety,