JESSICA GIANNONE — Opinions Editor
A couple of hammered American 17-year-old girls run off with two random kids to a Paris night club at 12:30 in the morning with nothing more than $50, two IDs and a camera. Sounds like a cut scene from “Taken,” huh? Close.
It was my friend and I, accompanied
by a girl our age and her 20-year-old brother we met on our little excursion throughout Europe—one of the many stupid things I’ve done in my eventful life.
It all began one fine day when my friend, my parents and I had arrived in rainy old London. Oh, we were thrilled by the weather—a great muggy start to our highly anticipated trip of a lifetime (which it turned out to be). Being the emotional
drama queen I was, I began to complain about the clouds and later stomped my way into the shower (not to mention I had just gotten over my rag, couldn’t phone my boyfriend and hadn’t had sex in three weeks–my family was in good company) when all of a sudden, a loud bang went off. I jumped out of the shower, shouted at my friend to call my mom on her cell and ran down the hall in a towel with my purse, after my panicking friend had noticed bright lights and mobs of people from a distance out of the hotel window. We couldn’t get a hold of my parents. We were freaking out, recalling the terrorism threats going on in England at the time.
It wasn’t until five minutes later that we discovered (when my mom had, in fact, been trying to contact us via the hotel room phone when we were in the hallway trying to figure out which room was my parents’) all the commotion wasn’t terrorism–it was an anniversary remembrance
of Princess Diana’s death.
Day 2: a dramatic run down old English streets accompanied by tears, buses and mud. After we had left the play “Wicked” and eaten, we were on our way back to the hotel, treading yet again in the rain. If I recall, the taxi had dropped us off somewhere within the vicinity of a restaurant near the hotel, and we were walking the “short” distance back. Why not? It’s always sunny in London.
One of my parents had said something that set my teenage hormones on a fuse, and off I went storming beyond the stony walkways of London in some off-set direction. So, naturally my friend chased after me. It was just what I needed. Not because she was of comfort (sorry Becca), but because a city bus had driven by and splashed her in the face at the curb while driving through a giant mud puddle—just like a movie. Needless to say, I can’t remember what I
was mad about.
Day 3: our tour group went shopping, and we were ordered to report back at a specific time. Well, if we didn’t cause enough commotion already,
of course after Becca and I got ourselves sidetracked and lost in some shopping square, the angry bunch of tourists, including the bitter tour guide, were impatiently waiting an extra 20 minutes until we scurried back to the bus.
Midweek/week two, destination: Paris then Rome. It must have been somewhere between
the grabbing of our asses by old Italian men near the Trevi Fountain and the snobby snickers of old, angry French women as a result of our big mouths that always seemed to do the trick when it came to getting ourselves into trouble—but we never failed. I can’t possibly name all of the naïve things we did; including getting annihilated at a Moulin Rouge show then being too hungover the next day to complete
the Spanish Steps in our young, fit bodies (which my then 54-year-old parents completed, I should add) after a two-hour plane ride from France to Italy.
The night of the “bad decision” in Paris, before the wild clubbing went down, my parents, Becca and I had been at dinner. We were all discussing
my future, as well as Becca’s, over some nice French cuisine. Again, I can’t tell you what “degrading” comment my mother made that set off my raging hormones once more, and out I was in my little black dress and five-inch heels. I ran onto the dark, unfamiliar street of Paris, pushing aside the restaurant’s greeter, who gestured to me and exclaimed, “Mademoiselle?” (or something along those lines), to which I tearfully
replied with a dismissive “No!” Then off Becca went chasing after me for the millionth time on the streets of Europe. I remember her calming me down near some random alleyway until we decided to walk back to the restaurant after some creepy French guy took notice of us. That night we were getting drunk.
I made up with my mom, said goodnight, and then the mischief began. Our friends (Rachelle
and Tyler) we met happened to be our next-door neighbors in the hotel. They invited us over their room for drinks and a night out in the city of Paris—who could refuse? The funny part was my parents heard our drunken
voices on the way to the elevator, and as the doors shut, my dad said “Jessie?” and that was it. See ya!
To sum things up, we apparently went in more than three bars, danced on a table, got gypped at a club admission, became separated for half an hour when Becca went for “a quick walk” off with Tyler down what I like to refer to as an alley (don’t worry,
they didn’t do anything), and Rachelle pissed on a car. Oh, and we met another kid along the way who hitched a ride with us back to the hotel. Did I mention we walked to the clubs?
The best part was, the next morning I heard my mother’s morning wake-up knock on our hotel door from our neighbor’s bedroom (which we passed out in because I stupidly broke the hotel card key into the slot for the second time—the concierge must have hated us). Usually, Becca would be the one to answer as I snored away, but I was quick to defensively say “Hi Mom!” She obviously knew something was up.
So we confessed to my parents, got the lecture, and Becca puked in a barf bag on the plane to Italy while I had the worst hangover of my life, to this day. Oh, and when we arrived to Rome later that evening, we missed the lovely “Dinner with the Tenors” as we were snoring away our hangovers.
Of course, the next day we had to listen to Tyler and Rachelle’s grandma the whole two-hour wait into the Vatican as she went on about cheese, whipping random unwrapped pieces of cheddar out of her giant yellow tote bag offering
it to all of us. The clearest thing I can remember about that cute little old lady was her response to our recollection of getting hit on at the bars as “I’ll whack him with my umbrella!” in her little German accent.
I don’t know if it was our ignorance to danger
or our endless drive for fun that led us down the mysterious streets of Europe, in and out of bars and beyond diverse crowds of people. Fortunately, our trip had a happier ending than “Taken.” I cringe at our oblivious choices, but I would do it all again.