I have done a lot of stupid things in my life, after all I am a white middleclass straight male. In my late teens and early twenties these knee jerk actions all revolved around my girlfriend turned fiancé turned wife (and ultimately ex-wife). I don't know if it was the heavy influence of 80s/90s movies or just an inferiority complex and drive to prove my love.
In the fall of 1998 I went off to college in St Joseph to attend Missouri Western State University and a year later she started school at Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg. We visited each other often and spoke on the phone a lot (remember this is pre cell phones though). I got a job working at the McDonalds down the street from campus to try and pay down my student debt as I went and usually ended up working the evening shifts. We had been arguing as of late for whatever reason and I formed a plan to show my affection as soon as I could. I concluded to drive from my campus to hers as soon as my shift was over. Neverminded that it was 2 hours one way in the dark, I had driven it many many times and was still at the age that I fashioned myself as indestructible.
We closed at 1:00 AM and if we did enough cleaning leading up to it could get out the door by about 1:30 AM. Knowing she would be asleep my plan was to drive to her dorm, leave the rose with a note and drive back for my morning classes. She called McDonalds before I left though and asked me to talk to call when I got back to my dorm. As such I had no way of keeping my plans a secret and she convinced me to come out and just stay with her and get a few hours of sleep before returning.
On the way out I began to struggle to stay awake and tried everything from splashing water on my face, blaring loud music and rolling the windows down (it was pretty cold). Each would get me down the road another little bit but the stretch from Lee's Summit to Warrensburg on US-50 had vary little lights and the lack of traffic at night time lead to highway hypnosis pretty quickly. Finally I remembered a trick a truck drive once told me.
He said reach into your wallet and pick the largest bill you have (mine sadly was just a $10). Pinch your fingers as tightly as you can around it and stick it out the window. You will be so paranoid you'll lose the money you'll force yourself awake. Now I wouldn't say it is as fool proof as he made it sound but sure enough I kept alert enough to sail through the last 30 minutes.
When I arrived her campus was very quiet and the parking lots were all pretty full. She met me and took me inside avoiding the RA. I was exhausted and only had a couple of hours to kill but she was a teenage girl with a lot on her mind so we ended up sitting up and talking about our feelings instead (yikes, I know). I got a quick nap of less than an hour before driving back and sitting in my biology class like a zombie. I know my head must have dipped a few times because I would suddenly become aware of people near me staring and snickering. I called in sick to work that night and crashed early. Not the stupidest thing I ever did but considering the gas I spent, the danger I put myself in and the impact on my classes just for a couple of hours with my girl it certainly ranks.