A Frogs Eye View of South Carolina
I think the legal term for why our French friends went to jail would be ‘excessive drunken frolicking.’ A mostly innocuous walk back from the bars ended in arrests when one of them pressed an emergency button, which are positioned around campus and immediately contact the police, to tell them that the amount of fun they were having was surely illegal. Turns out it was.
They faced a night in jail, excessive legal fees and last week had to attend a mandatory alcohol awareness meeting on campus. The group of students at the meeting, most of whom were in for underage drinking, were a small focus group of a much larger one: South Carolinas criminalized youth. These future leaders of America who, at this time of their lives, are deemed adults, so can therefore buy assault rifles, have families and go off to war yet cannot go to a bar without the chance of them being thrown in jail.
One night Digger and I stood in the queue to a bar not worth a queue and watched two young girls being led out in handcuffs by undercover cops. My initial thought was that the fashion police were finally cracking down on shit sportswear being worn on nights out, Digger’s first thought was somewhat kinkier… However these were just regular twenty year old girls unlucky enough to get thrown in jail all in the name of a white wine spritzer. A jail where, if their bad luck continued, they might well have encountered some rather pissed off French exchange students.
“I am Matthew and zis is Alexis and ve are ‘ere because we broke a bicycle rack” they were required to say when the Gamecock stressball, which was passed around in the meeting, reached them. Then they had to sit and listen to the rest of the groups stories which included corkers like the girl caught short on her walk home who had to take a piss in a carpark. As if being caught by the police with your knickers round your ankles wasn’t embarrassing enough she then had to relive it at a meeting full of other students, led by two (probably virgin) postgraduates with big, white, condescending smiles. When the stress ball reached one guy, lets call him Cody, he had to talk about getting in a fight with his roommate whilst under the influence. He was told to explain the reasons for the fight which, as far as our cheese eating friends could make out, was for his roommate having a too loud shower.
All in all the meeting lasted just over two hours, Digger said he wouldn’t have minded going if the girls who were taken out of the bar would be there, saying “You’ve gotta admit there’s something about a girl in handcuffs.” In fact, if I remember correctly, that night he was seen chasing after the squad car shouting, “take me! take me!” leaving me to explain away the misinterpretation to some local homosexuals who’s ears had pricked up.
In the meeting they talked about the importance of thinking of others whenever they made any decision in their lives, to which Alexis pointed out, “ven I choose to eat a banana I do not ‘ave to sink about other people.” Despite his sarcastic response this two hour meeting sucked the life out of Alexis . From that day on, whenever uniformed policemen came into the bar, which for some reason they regularly do, hopping off their hilarious segways, chests puffed out and guns in holsters, Alexis goes quiet, mumbling under his breath the Carolina code of conduct over and over as though saying Hail Marys. The lines “az a Carolinian I vill practize perzonal and academic integrity; I vill respect ze dignity off all persons; I vill respect ze rights and property of otherz” can be quietly heard as the cops walk around the bar, shamelessly breaking up intimate couples to ask for their id. (The guy in the video is actually another Leeds exchange student..)