I was driving down the winding road to the massive Wisconsin resort complex where the Yoga Journal conference is being held this year when I had a jaw-dropping realization: The Grand Geneva used to be The Playboy Club, which had a kick-ass ski hill back in the 1970s.
Suddenly a flood of memories invaded the mind.
Our high school ski club would hit the slopes at The Playboy Club at least once a month.
The yellow school buses would take us up there after school, pounding the AC/DC and Bob Seger the whole way up. Once we got our lift tickets, we'd spend the night skiing and drinking Jack Daniels out of hip flasks and smoking pot on the lifts. In those days, I also liked to light a minty Salem Light and take a huge drag right before getting off the lift. The cooling menthol created the most wonderful head-rush you could imagine.
Sometimes we'd get tired of skiing and sit in the very fancy night club, which was all black and red and chrome. For some reason they never carded us (in those days the Wisconsin drinking age was 18, while in Illinois it was 21). We'd settle in and get good and drunk. The novelty was that we were waited on by actual Playboy bunnies wearing rabbit ears and hot pants and fuzzy tails. They were always polite, and did their signature sexy bunny dip when they set down our whiskey stone sours.
In hindsight, it must have been quite a scene; a table full of giggly 15-year-old girls being served sugary drinks by honest-to-God Playboy bunnies.
We didn't care, though; we were being served drinks! While on an official high school excursion! It didn't get much better than that.
* * *
We were devouring a pitcher of sloe gin fizzes on one of these trips when we noticed that a table of women across the bar looked rather familiar.
We realized it was our ski club bus drivers.
We averted our faces, and sucked down our drinks even faster - certain we were busted.
But they never told on us.
We never could figure it out.
In fact, it wasn't until last year that I learned why.
Someone actually had to point it out to me: Of course they weren't going to bust us. They were bus drivers. Who were in charge of driving us home. After sucking down drinks at the bar. They had far more to lose than we did.
* * *
After Dharma's intensive today - where I experienced the most wonderful Yoga Nidra (yogic sleep) you could imagine - I drove to downtown Lake Geneva for dinner.
I ended up having a big salad at Popeye's while watching the sun set over the lake. It was beautiful.
Afterwords, I was getting into my car when a vaguely familiar sign caught my eye.
It was for Hogs & Kisses, a bar we used to frequent in the early 1980s.
Slowly a memory began to form. Kathy S and I pissing off two fat drunk girls from Chicago. Regret at bringing a squirt gun to a bar. Yelling and screaming. Kathy talking back and defending silent, sullen me. A large round table being flipped over a la Duran Duran. More yelling and fist-shaking (them). Cowering / being smart asses (us). Trying to leave but getting beaten about the face on the way out. Flashing back to the stepmotha landing blows on the same face, while turning tail. Running down the street, fast. Being chased. Suddenly not so drunk any more, as the cool night air hit our now-stinging faces. Finally taking refuge at the White Hen, where Kathy said so dramatically (and, inexplicably, in a Southern accent), "Call the po-lice! We're being chased!."
Instead, some guys we didn't know sneaked us out the rear, put us on the back of their motorcycles and whisked us to our car.
Which we then drove home, drunk.
* * *
And now I'm here at Dharma's workshop. How I got here from there is beyond me.
But I'm very grateful indeed.