If you are one of the people on my text message group, you are probably sick to death of the images I send you from my phone of everything I eat and drink. I'll stop. I swear. I've been oversharing. It is a problem that evolved during the Covid lockdown. But as with the over-talking, I'm becoming more self-aware of how irritating I can be. I'll quit sending all those things that make me laugh early in the morning when I'm reading the news, too. Silence is Golden. I heard that somewhere. I can't remember where, but surely it came from someone who was oversharing because, I mean. . . it is really irritating.
So if you want to hear from me, come to the blog. This will be the sole repository for my lonely mind junk. Even as my audience slowly dwindles. . . .
I went to the baseball-themed funeral yesterday. It was a non-religious and touching tribute to my colleague's life. I gave a ride to my crippled tenant and saw my old friend, bandmate, and college roommate as soon as I pulled up. There was a little hill to climb to get to the stadium that neither of them could manage, so I drove them around to higher, level ground. When I got back, parked the car, and walked into the crowd, I saw some of my old department members and some retirees who I haven't seen for many years. I had, it seemed, stepped back into my former position and professional role. After sitting and moping for so long, it felt good and natural to be in a privileged and esteemed position again where my reputation was well-established and well-known. Emotions, of course, ran high because of the occasion. There was a lot of love.
Unexpectedly, I was referred to by name during the testimonials. I got shout outs during a themed, non-religious funeral?
Well. . . of course I did.
After the service had ended, a group of factory kids was going to a nearby bar, but I was not drinking and my roommate is not in barroom health, nor was the tenant who I had to take back home, so I did not go.
After I dropped the tenant off, I drove to Whole Foods to get groceries for dinner--a NY Strip, asparagus, and little red potatoes. At home, I put away the groceries and fed the feral cat and sat out on the deck with some cheese and olives. For some time now, however, sitting out alone on the deck has lost its flavor and its charm. I'm not as self-contained, maybe, as I had been, now that the world has opened once again. Cooking and eating alone with only the cat as companion has lost much of its flavor. The neighbors no longer walk as much and those Covid conversations with passersby have pretty much ended. The garden was wrecked by the hurricanes and then damaged by the freeze. I've failed to keep the bird feeders filled. Still, the neighbor's cat has returned and lies about with my little feral as of old. I can't explain it yet, have failed to articulate it, but something just feels off about it all. I am really done with being alone.
After dinner, as dark descended, I came back into the house. I had an idea. I Googled, "Why do writers drink?"
The results were surprising. There were many. Even "Psychology Today" touted the benefits of drinking for the Creative Class. I don't know which Tea Totalers you enjoy reading, but I haven't any.
Then I stumbled upon this.
"Do you long to trade notes on postmodernism over whiskey and jazz with Haruki Murakami? Have you dreamed of sharing martinis with Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton after poetry class? Maybe a mojito—a real one, like they serve at La Bodeguita del Medio in Havana—is all you need to summon the mesmerizing power of Hemingway's prose. Writer’s block? Summon the brilliant musings of Truman Capote with a screwdriver—or, “my orange drink,” as he called it—or a magical world like J.K. Rowling’s with a perfect gin and tonic.
With 100 spirited drink recipes and special sections dedicated to writerly haunts like the Algonquin of the New Yorker set and Kerouac’s Vesuvio Cafe, pointers for hosting your own literary salon, and author-approved hangover cures, all accompanied by original illustrations of ingredients, finished cocktails, classic drinks, and favorite food pairings, How to Drink Like a Writer is sure to inspire, invoke, and inebriate—whether you are courting the muse, or nursing a hangover. Sure, becoming a famous author takes dedication, innate talent, and sometimes nepotism. But it also takes vodka, gin, tequila, and whiskey."
OMG!, I thought. How utterly delightful. And of a sudden, I realized what had changed. I realized the difference.
I ordered the book from Amazon.
As I sat down to watch t.v., I thought about eating a gummy. But I don't really like them. I don't like smoking pot, either. I have never been enamored of drugs, by and large. And so, straight as a gate, I turned on "Knives Out: The Glass Onion" which bored me to tears just as the first one, that in three attempts I never finished, did. Luckily, nine o'clock, my new bedtime, came around, so I switched it off and went to bed.
And dreamed. All night long I was in the same, extended dream. I was back at the factory. I wasn't working, just hanging out, popping in and out of meetings and events, without duties but still esteemed, joyous and happy. Several times, I woke up grinning, and when I went back to sleep, the dream continued.
It was a happy dream, but this morning, it concerns me. I may be growing senile. WTF? I'm not ready for this. I'm not about to sit around the house and think about "the olden times." Fuck that right up the old bunghole. That's not going to happen.
It was just a reaction to the day, I am certain. I had wondered what I would do in February, wondered if I would stay sober or if I would drink. I can tell you absolutely now, come February 1st, I will make a cocktail without apologies to my sponsors. I will never convert to Islam, I can assure you. Were I forced to convert to some religion, it would definitely be Catholicism. My dead colleague was Catholic, and they ended the service with an informal wake at the bar. And I will tell you a secret, but you can't spread this around. Yesterday at the funeral, I saw lots of old colleagues, and the ones in the worst shape--by far--the ones with debilitating diseases, bad hearts, those limping and walking with canes, the ones who were most out of it, were all non-drinkers.
They were not the creative ones to begin with, either. Literal beings with popular sensibilities.
Jesus. I hope none of them ever stumble upon this blog.
My intentions are to limp back into the living world, as horrible and fallen as it is. I will return to my charmingly corrupt ways, maybe even here on the blog. People desire something beyond their normal, sensible lives. They want wild adventures and questionable behavior. The want danger from a safe distance. They want flawed and tragic heroes.
A glass of wine on the deck with olives and cheese and a grilled steak dinner. A scotch afterwards as I open a book or sit down to write some romantic missive to a long lost or potential love. And perhaps, from time to time, a romantic tryst.
And I'll remain a generous friend. I promise, I won't be the one to steal your money.