Brushes with the law on a Flashback Friday

If Bryan Adams had the Summer of ‘69 and Kristy McNichol had the Summer of Her German Soldier, then the Summer of ‘82 qualifies as that "time of my life" period.

I graduated from high school; worked the best hours ever (2-10 pm) in the best job ever -- as a lifeguard/swimming instructor; had a totes mcgotes boyfriend and was getting ready to expand my horizons, my knowledge and my keg-pumping skills as a freshman at the University of Florida. Music was good then, the fashion fun of the '70s was in the rearview mirror and, most importantly, the drinking age was 19.

Life was good. I was tanned, rested and ready for whatever the future held.

It was those pesky run-ins with the law that put a wee damper on things.

My boyfriend and I had settled into a nice little routine -- he would drive me to work at the pool in the afternoon and then pick me up afterward for our date -- that way I wouldn’t have to worry about where my car was during the evening. Those dates usually involved grabbing a bite to eat somewhere, usually with a fruity cocktail for me and then doing what healthy, red-blooded, hormone-driven teenagers did. We drove a bit, parked the car somewhere and made out (yes, just making out. Hush.) For hours. Listening to the boyfriend's favorite cassette -- Kenny Rogers’ Greatest Hits. I can’t hear “You Decorated My Life” to this day without smiling. And giggling. Which is a mortifying thing to admit, but there you are.

Living in Florida by the water, the heat, humidity and critters were always a factor. And so we would make out with the air conditioning on full blast -- which did nothing to stop the windows from fogging up. Teenage passion is a powerful thing. One particular evening, we chose to park in a cul-de-sac in an alley behind some houses in a fairly nice neighborhood. (Ironically, this is the same neighborhood through which I now run.) And as luck would have it, one of the residents got a little leery about the strange car with the foggy windows camped out next to his back yard. So he called one of our town's finest. Thanks to all our steam heat, we failed to notice Officer Friendly approaching the car until he came and tap-tap-tapped on the car window. And yes -- it was as awkward and embarrassing as you might imagine. We’ll just leave it at that.

Now, you’d think that would have given us the motivation to be a little more savvy about where we parked.

But no.

A couple of weeks later, we were engaged in some tonsil hockey, parked in a different location -- on a dirt road near a lake close to my house. Private, secluded. No nosy neighbors. Excellent. Until the boy tried to start the car. Clink, clink, pffft. Dead battery. In the middle of nowhere. And my curfew approaching. With me behind the wheel and him pushing -- a Honda Civic didn’t have a lot of heft in those days -- we made it to a main road. Along with about 37 dozen mosquitoes. There, as luck would have it, we encountered another police officer who nicely gave us a jump so that I could get home on time. The looks on our faces when he asked what we’d been doing were priceless -- talk about a rhetorical question. Between that, the mosquito bites and my curly hair all hubba-hubba askew, we could have been the bad example on an ABC Afterschool special.

Fortunately for my long-term relationship with the police department, we didn’t have any more encounters or incidents for the remainder of the summer. Although I often wonder if we gave those officers something to talk about around the water cooler...

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