Americaphiles

The Story Of My Fucking Life

Eighty-nine

Posted by ilbebe on February 13, 2012

Like most people, I have a complex relationship with alcohol. In this country, even those people who don’t drink have a complex relationship with alcohol, since you basically have to live on a ranch in the middle of nowhere and have no contact whatsoever with the outside world to avoid it. I can only imagine how hard it is to go to a Utah Jazz game at home.

When I first started drinking as a teenager, it was necessarily furtive, and thus very rare. I was cursed at the time with a relatively stable home life that required covert action to find the space and time to get fucked up, and my goody-goody nature demanded of myself that I be safe, so drinking at the tracks or down under the creek bridge were out. I never got invited to the big parties, and if I had, I wouldn’t have gone. The last dance I went to in high school was the Homecoming Dance my sophomore year, and besides the fact that no girls would give me the time of day, the music was way too loud, and way too horrible. They were still playing the new Michael Jackson slow jam from more than a year ago, and even Montel Jordan. I would have preferred Spacehog. I spent pretty much the entire time talking to my friend Garrett outside. We were out there so long that one of the parent chaperons frisked us looking for cigs, not taking as prima facie evidence that we did not smell like smoke to be compelling proof to respect our privacy. It was bullshit like this that made me stop going to dances, and bullshit like being accused of stuff that I wasn’t doing that made me decide to start doing it.

So, where to get the booze? Why, take it from work. The new boss who does not hesitate to call you a motherfucker in front of customers? Fuck him. Where to drink it? Call up yr friends that live in the next town over, in an unincorporated part of the county where the sheriff drives through about once a night. What to do after yr drunk? Why, walk over to the train tracks and rip apart the crossing arms. Then fall headlong into a bush and spend two hours looking for yr glasses without a flashlight. Sleep in yr car. Don’t worry about the fact that only on this first night will you be able to legitimately call any of this behavior “innocent”.

One of the next times I got drunk involved the same crew as the first time around, with a few significant additions. Besides R and D from the first time, there was also R2, G, and, most intriguingly, S. S was a girl. She was G’s love interest, and I was pretty interested to see how soon it would take D, a burgeoning ladies man, to make things weird.

It was a minimum day Wednesday, so we got out of school at 12:30 instead of 3. This gave us high-schoolers three hours alone at my house until any of my sisters or parents were scheduled to return, so we hustled over to my house and cracked open a handle of Jack Daniel’s I had procured from my work a month earlier. It seems hard to imagine now, stealing booze and waiting for the time to drink it for upwards of a month, given that now I pretty much drink on the job, no matter what that job is. This may have something to do with my current state of unemployment…

Anyhow, being relative neophytes to boozing, it took a while to choke the stuff down, but soon enough we were rolling around in the backyard, talking about Bush (the band), and their glaring inferiority to Nirvana. R made a statement once that “If my band got offered the chance to open for Bush, of course I’d take it, but that last thing I’d say before I left the stage was ‘Bush sucks’.” Teenage rebellion, alive and well? I started to grow nervous as R and D started chain smoking, knowing that the smell of cigs lingered, and that smell could be the thing that busted us. As I’d imagined, Danny tried to make a move on S, asking her to walk around the corner of the house to a different part of the backyard and make out. She shot him down, then put an exclamation point on it by puking a little on the  concrete walk. Danny got discouraged, went back inside to the kitchen, and took a mighty gulp of the JD to show something, prove something, kill something inside; I don’t know.  Twenty minutes later I walked him to my room to lie down on my bed for a while.

After he puked his life out on my bed, I realized it was time to flee. I assigned G and S to finish cleaning up S’ puke outside, and frantically tried to clean up my bed. Drunk myself, I left the house not wearing shoes, because it was hot, and it felt good, and if my friends were going to act like morons then Dammit I was too. There is a definite culture of one-upmanship that accompanies drinking, and to really dial in the teenage degenerate pose I brought half a loaf of sliced white bread with me, and the six of us set out to walk back into downtown Brentwood to get some food and sober up. Oh, and I was supposed to be back at school at 7pm for the once-a-week evening course portion of my advanced chemistry class, a class that merely a month into the school year I hated and knew I would not do very well in. The teacher named was Blase, and indeed, he had a fairly laissez faire attitude towards teaching us chemistry. Of much greater interest to him was reliving his glory daze at Saint Mary’s College in the Seventies, or rationalizing to us that we were all so woefully unprepared for success in such a rigorous course that we may as well spend most of the class talking about last week’s football game. I was rather intrigued by the prospect of confronting this man with such a reckless act of indifference as showing up drunk and shoeless to class, carrying a loaf of bread but not my textbook. As we sat around Rich’s Drive-In eating french fries and ice cream and nursing D back to health, I pictured the confrontation I might have with Blase. I intended to make the most of my eight-inch height advantage.

The afternoon drinking gang split up after we were done eating, and I strolled towards our high school with a fairly empty mind, taking more time to appreciate the way the late afternoon sun hit the buildings downtown than furthering my fantasy of dismembering my chemistry teacher. As I walked in the door of P-3 forty minutes late, I hardly remembered what I was doing there, let alone what I was so upset about earlier. I finished my loaf of bread and passed out with my head across my folded arms on the work table. When I woke up, everyone was gone. I wished I had worn shoes.

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One Response to “Eighty-nine”

  1. chiantidancer said

    I am glad you are writing so furiously the last few months. Very good and very good. I like how you do not compromise your words to make it easier to those who have a hard time listening. You are a true being and you won’t let those dark demons quiet you down. Good man.

    A

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