By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
"Just go home," the guard said as he went back inside.
"Keep walking, you small-ass dick motherfucker!" the girl yelled back.
"Just go back to the 909, you stupid bitch!" yelled another guy trying to eat a taco.
The girl walked over to him and slapped him—open handed—right across the face. She yelled at him, mostly more obscenities directed at him and Newport Beach residents in general, as the crowd joined in cries of "go away!" At first she just pretended to walk away, then would return a minute later and yell some more, her pitch higher now, almost like she was about to cry. Then she and another guy left for good.
I looked at Dave. "You wanna get some food?"
"Sure," he said.
* * *
Dealing with jerks is part of volunteering. After all, these are drunks. A guy once called right before 2 a.m., when the service shuts down. He was at Pierce St. Annex and needed to go to Dana Point—and he had a Dodge Viper. That seemed pretty cool, and my partner Cliff and I enthusiastically took it.
We wandered around the cold, empty Pierce Street parking lot, but we found no Viper. So I called the guy's cell phone.
"Yeah, we're in the parking lot across the street," he said. "Blue Jeep Cherokee."
I was so pissed I had Cliff drive the guy and his two buddies while I followed in Cliff's car. After the ride, Cliff said the guys were obnoxious and farted a lot. Oh, and they also admitted lying about the Viper to get us out there. The funny thing is they didn't have to lie—we would have taken the ride anyway. I never saw Cliff after that night.
Just about every volunteer team has gone to a bar expecting a ride, only to find out somebody called just to see if we'd show. Almost as irritating were the fools who tipped with household kitchen items.
You heard me.
"They gave me a spatula one time," said volunteer Robert Stevens. "Oh, it was a great spatula. Stainless steel, beveled edge. Real sharp. Now I just need to get a barbecue."
But at least those guys called. At least they understood that drinking and driving kills people—more Americans so far than all our wars combined. A couple months ago, I was driving some rich types to their East Bluff home in their Land Rover at 2 a.m. We were cruising down Pacific Coast Highway to Jamboree when we saw the flashing lights of some police cars across the street.
"Yeah, look at that!" the guy next me started yelling. "We don't have to worry about them tonight, do we!"
The others in the car started cheering, too, until we got closer. Then they all got real quiet.
In front of their cruisers, a couple of officers were standing outside a small truck that had careened into a tall, stone streetlight. The light was completely gone, crumbled into chunks that had crushed the truck's already mangled cab. The officers didn't seem in a hurry to get inside.
I don't know if the guy in the truck had been drinking. Who knows? Maybe he had one of our cards in his wallet.
If you'd like to volunteer with DDA or just need someone to drive you home, call (866) 949-SAFE.