Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Late Into The Evening
Years ago, I attended a writing conference in west Texas, the kind of conference where everyone drinks all the time and "forgets" to wear their wedding rings. Many of the participants were a rough bunch, the kind of men who make jokes about Tailhook and didn't see anything wrong with Clayton Williams' suggestion that if a women was being raped that she should just "lie back and enjoy it." My friends and I were drinking margaritas late into the first evening in the big ballroom that had been decorated with chili pepper lights and sombreros. George Jones on the jukebox, singing "He Stopped Loving Her Today." Late into the evening, I declined the offer of another drink, a rare act of self-control. I was delivering a paper the next morning on some bullshit about workshop structure and needed what little wits about me that I could collect. One of my companions, a deeply alcoholic dude named Will said, How did you do that? I didn't have a clue what he was talking about until he said, Turn down a drink. Just stop. I could never do that.
I looked at him, saw that he was serious, and shrugged my shoulders. Mostly glib, a whole lot irritating, fairly handsome, Will exuded an ease that seemed completely natural, but in fact was almost always chemically enhanced. I didn't think of him as an alcoholic -- to me, alcoholics were people like my Grandpa Charlie who drove around tossing beer bottles out of his window and kicking anyone's ass who so much as looked at him. But at that moment, I could see into his soul a little bit, the loss of control that had begun to bleed into his life. I forget almost everything else about that conference, all the fake intimacies and promises to write about this or that subject, the drivel people talk about because there's no other common ground. But I remember the moment with Will; we did not speak of the subject ever again. Like a secret SOS, it drifted into the ether, never to be addressed, not really, but it was heard, and I suppose that's something.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things: One is that God loves you and you're going to burn in hell. The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth and you should save it for someone you love." Butch Hancock
Drinking movie suggestion: Sorry, Haters
Benedictions and Maledictions