Sleeping. A minute or two at a time. Mark. This guy hit somebody. Awake. Coat on. Front door out. A silver hatchback is parked blocking our driveway. Drivers Door opens. A man with dark hair gets out. Italian maybe. Takes three steps. Sees me. And at once without any acknowledgement beyond eyes meeting he is back in the car. And it’s all you can do to stare at the rectangle of pressed aluminum. It’s white characters on green. 638 UAR 638 UAR. And then his car is gone again but not before you glimpse the passenger side front quarter panel. What’s left of it. Man he did a real smack. And then Still in Costco house shoes You listen to the scrape of his tires drive away and walk the outer line of the front fence along the line of cars parked in front of your house and up the front door of your rather dory sort of spry 84 year old neighbor. As you reach her front door You see it is open and only the glass screen door is shut. Think about rapping but reach for the doorbell instead. And there she is. Hi you say. A guy hit one of your cars out front. Four cars parked out front. two silver two reddish. Well come in she says. You apologize for the house shoes. A dad don’t. As you step inside you realize how close to Christmas it really is. Her entire house. Silver & red. Four women Sitting around The dining room table. Someone’s car has been Hit 84 says. The murmurs at the table soon turn into realizations. And questions. Which car? I don’t know. He left. I just came here straightaway with the license plate. You realize you’ve been saying it aloud this whole time. 638 UAR. And now you and 5 bible studiers walk back outside. It’s the first car. A white silver one. Joy for not much damage but Enough to pray over.
Originally Published April 14, 2014
Me Not Drinking is A Bird Not Flying.
Or at least thats what I always believed to be the Gospel Truth. I was a true booze believer in this supposed axiom right up until the moment I ceased drinking unceasingly. And what did I have to believe in now?
I loved drinking. Loved loved loved it. I loved alcohol so much that I stopped noticing anything else in my life. Eventually I drank so completely that I stopped noticing it as well. Kind of like a Blasé blah marriage of addictive attrition, alcohol was my infernal internal companion. It never strayed nor ever cheated me. ‘Twas extraordinarily dependable and pleasantly blendable too.
But you know what? I’m happier now. I have purpose beyond my elbow’s reach. Purpose deeper than the bottom of any bottle. Alcohol may have been all of those things I just mentioned, but it really became my life’s filter. But not the kind of filter that removes all impurities. Rather a filter that kept any and everything out of my life that didn’t include alcohol. Devious huh? My ‘filter’ worked like so:
If I wanted to Laugh? I’d need a few shots before the funny could start, and after a few more drinks the funny wouldn’t stop… Even when what I thought was so damn funny was actually so damn painful it made everyone miserable and want to go home and cry.
If I wanted Love? Or Sex? I’m gonna need to be hammered before I even attempt to express the former, but not too hammered or there’s no recompense in attempting the latter. Every facet of my life had to get in where it could fit in, always sublimated beneath my HNIC alcohol. If a job didn’t let me drink, my drinking let that job go. The list of let go’s is breath achingly long. Small sample? I quit guitar, I quit family, I quit joy. About the only thing I didn’t give up on was cigarettes.
The inelegant mathematical constant made plain by my life was drinking. The proof would look something like this:
Me/T = S
to explain it as a constant:
Me over Time is always equal to Shitfaced.
It was a given.
That finally had to give.
It’s only been ‘less than a long time’ since my last drink. It’s been a little while, but compared to the number of times I’ve circled the sun (almost 40), it feels insignificant. This means I need to keep the memory of my marbles being misappropriated by mixologists muy importante en mi cabeza.
That last sentence was mostly for me, Mark. So is this next one. Perhaps I can potentially ping-pong my perspective on how long it’s been since I drank. I could make it seem like half a lifetime has passed since then. And I think I could. If I was a toddler.
Me Not Drinking?
Me Not Drinking Is The Sun Shining.
Me Not Drinking Is Zaria Smiling.
Me Not Drinking Is Broncos Losing Superbowls. (Sorry Colorado)
Me Not Drinking Is a Life Meant to Be.
I can see now just how drab & gray life’s kaleidoscope becomes when viewed wholly through an alcohol filter. So i am sad to say goodbye, but i am more sad it took us so long to part ways. Alone I can smile and can sigh, perhaps even cry. (if I get something in my eye). Because I am human again. I feel all the feelings again. I am a me again.
I am filterless.
And some 13 months after publication, I am happy to say that i am still not drinking alcohol. I am always ready to listen if anyone out there wants to talk. 313.744.3031 Finally the video addendum. My cousin Thomas Martin shot this video of me doing something while sober that I never would have had the courage to do while drinking. He proffered it to me as a Mitzvah, a joyful reminder of the conceit in this essay’s title.
Love you T! Thx again…