A couple of weeks ago, my two closest friends and I went to a small live-music venue to hear a band. While at the concert, someone “slipped me a mickey.” I remember nothing about the rest of the evening, but I was told that the police officer found me lying alone on the sidewalk. I came-to in the hospital E.R.—alone. The entire experience was frightening.
Since then, I’ve tried to piece together what happened. Apparently, at the end of the band’s set, I left for the ladies room with my purse—and didn’t come back. My friends figured I had left, so they left, too. Later, when I called them from the street, sobbing in hysterics and asking for help, they told me to go back to the club and that they would have an ambulance pick me up there. When my mother—who lives 2,000 miles away (and hopped on a plane the next day to be with me)—later called these two friends of mine to beg them to join me while I was recovering, they refused. It wasn’t until I told them that the hospital wouldn’t release me until I had someone to drive me home that they came to pick me up. They then angrily drove me to my car, and I drove home alone. By then, it was the next morning.
The friends don’t seem like the greatest, but some of the reactions seem over the top. (From another Salon article
I think ditching your friend is lame, but a safety issue? Especially five blocks from home? I dunno, I mean, I’ve never really considered “getting a friend home” to be an obligation. If someone seems more or less okay, then…I dunno, I usually trust them. All of this stuff seems to assume a level of paternalism that I don’t often operate with when drinking with friends.
Well, to get home safely. Like, if someone wanted to stay at the bar and I wanted to leave, I wouldn’t feel obligated to make sure they got home safely since at that point, it’s out of my hands. Or if they said they weren’t drunk and they’d be fine walking home, it wouldn’t occur to me to get them an escort or a cab.
No, I wouldn’t do that. I’d wait till they came back to let them know I was taking off. But I don’t know, I mean, I’ve been a “lone, drunk woman” walking around on my own when it’s dark. I suppose I don’t see myself as all that vulnerable, and I generally hang out in really safe areas. I mean people often go to bars to drink and hook up–if I’m with someone who wants to do that, wouldn’t that necessarily entail going off alone drunk?
Wow. I think that columnist was wrong about a lot of things, starting with her attitude that only the people you’re fucking have any obligations about your well-being; and ending with her idea that everybody makes mistakes that end in ambulance rides.
As soon as I saw the title, I knew the article you were referring to. I was so offended by her answer! Particularly the fact that she wouldn’t go to the hospital to help her friend after she knew what had happened! Really. How dangerous do you think the world is that you can’t get in your car in your driveway and drive to a hospital at night? She wasn’t asking her to drive to the local crackhouse.
In my opinion, the author and the friends should be dumped post haste.
Ditching her without even bothering to check the restroom was at worst kind of irresponsible and at best just bad manners, but I can’t imagine not going back for a friend (male or female) if they called me afterward in desperate hysterics. First things first I’d tell them to hang up and call 9-1-1, and then I’d do it myself for them just to make sure, but if this is someone I feel is a friend, you’d better believe I’d be on my way too. Granted, I’m a guy, so maybe I’m less uncomfortable sallying out into the streets in the middle of the night, but still, a woman alone who’s been drugged is a hundred times more vulnerable, and it seems to me that if someone won’t take risks to help a friend, then they aren’t really very good friends.
Now, if by the time I heard from them it was 3:00AM and they were already safe in the hospital, I probably wouldn’t feel obligated to haul myself out of bed and drive over right that minute either, but I’d surely make time for a visit as soon as possible. I certainly would never begrudge a friend a car ride from the hospital, as the people in this account seem astonishingly to have done.
One thing that would change all this is if this “friend” made a regular habit of just drinking themselves stupid I was usually the one stuck peeling them off the sidewalk. But if the woman who wrote that letter is telling the truth, she needs to find new friends.
Uh, of course I would be out there with my friends. Generally my friends are people I like and whose company I enjoy–so even by extraordinarily self-centered standards, I would want to keep those people around so I could be entertained. It’s in my own best interest to keep them in good working order.
That, personally, is not what I think–if one of my friends called me panicking from the ER at three AM, I would be over there so fast it would make lightning jealous. What the hell else are friends for?
It takes all of five minutes to wait for someone to come back from the pisser and tell them you’re leaving/see if they want to leave with you. If nothing else, I’d tell my friend I was leaving so she wouldn’t come back and worry about me. And yes, if one of us came back from the restroom and the other was gone, or one of us went to the restroom and didn’t come back, we would worry. It’s just how we work–we watch each other’s purses, coats, and drinks, and we count noses before moving on somewhere.
Also, I just cannot imagine being close enough to someone that they would call me from the emergency room and not going to them.
I can see thinking “Jane probably met some guy and left” if Jane was the type of person who would meet some guy and leave. I can sort of excuse the friends for that one. (They should have checked. I would have checked. But I can come up with a situation where not checking is not completely out of the question.)
At the “call from street, sobbing in hysterics” point, the “friends” behavior became inexcusable. Of course they should have made it to the hospital without being begged, by either the letter writer or her mother. They definitely should not have begrudged her the ride home from the hospital.
It’s not really paternalism if you’re all looking out for one another. If you don’t have your friends’ backs and don’t mind them not having yours, then there’s no problem. If you’ve ever held a friend’s hair back while she puked in an alley, watched her drink while she went to the washroom, took her keys so she wouldn’t drive, told a creep to back off and would expect her to do the same – and she doesn’t – then there is.
Also, if anyone’s being paternalistic, it’s the advice columnist who wrote the following
Not only is the advice columnist a proper cunt (and probably the type of woman who sobs/brags about how all her friends are male because women are just too catty and jealous), the real icing on the cake is her basically accusing the woman of lying about being rufied, and comparing it to a ‘disastrous drug trip.’ I’m not a long time reader, so maybe she displays this level of skepticism with every letter she gets – Did you really get fired from your job? Were you really molested? Are you really diabetic? – somehow I doubt it.
I wonder if it is possible that the woman was not really “slipped a mickey”, she just got drunk or drugged up on her own. If that happened often enough, maybe my friends would run out of patience as well.
It’s not unusual amongst my set for ditching to occur because my social scene was more of a ‘scene’ where everyone knows everybody and people go off in different directions. So showing up to the party together isn’t that much in line with who we leave with. Usually though good-byes are said if the people can be found, or at least a text message is sent. I think it depends on one’s relationship to the destination really. I don’t agree about the local bar thing, but keeping tabs on your people is important.
As far as I am concerned though, those people were not her friends. If someone I was only kind of acquainted with went to the hospital and had no one else to go with, I’d go with them and see it through. I’ve stayed at the hospital overnight with friends when their SO needed to go home and get some sleep very badly. This actually happened at a Dopefest several years back.
As I’ve gotten older I have become a lot more choosy about who I consider to be my friend. Though, ironically I have far more friends today than ever before. I don’t put up with lack of quality in my friends. Basic decency is the only real criteria in terms of whether or not I’ll give you the time of day. If you’re annoying or in some other way off-putting I might not hang out with you, but if you went to the hospital I’d still come, maybe begrudgingly, but I’d do it.
I thought about that, but if it’s the case that she abuses drugs/alcohol and then cries wolf, what her friends need to do is confront her and say “you have a problem, you need to get help, and we’re not going to go out with you” - instead of going to bars with her and then rolling their eyes when the inevitable happens yet again, gosh isn’t that a surprise, and their friend goes ‘wtf, you always help me out of jams otherwise!’