Stumbling Home

Edward Hopper, “Automat”, 1927


I haven’t been drinking. In a way, I wish I had been drinking.

I haven’t been out. Okay, I have been out: to the grocery, to the hardware store, to pick up dog food.

There’s plenty to drink here at home: half a bottle of single-malt. My favorite small batch bourbon. An unopened bottle of excellent vodka. There’s even a bottle of absinthe. I meant to take up absinthe, but I never got around to it.

This would all make more sense if I’d been drinking.

But I do remember this cocktail of ennui and exasperation. Once, after a death in the family, I went to see a doctor, she was a friend.

“Isn’t there something you can give me?” I asked. “I’m so tired of feeling this way.” She gave me Ativan. She neglected to tell me that I shouldn’t take the Ativan with my usual dinner of extra dry martinis and a dozen raw Malpeque oysters.

I took one tablet. I felt worse. So I took another. “Hell,” I thought as I downed a third, “these things don’t work very well.” Before long I’d consumed the whole bottle. “Uh oh,” I thought and drove myself to the hospital.

There’s no point in recounting the sordid details as to the hospital’s response, except to say it involved syrup and charcoal, and in the morning a long discussion with a doctor about the current trend in biographies of Thomas Jefferson.

Walking out of the hospital into the bright sunshine, I felt restored.

I don’t know what it is this time: no one’s died, thank God.

It’s just like I stepped off the train and watched it pull away. I haven’t been here in weeks. I had made a resolution to make this about the struggle only, and not about all the other things that people my ordinary existence. It turns out I can’t write exclusively about dietandexercise. I don’t want to.

For damn sure, I haven’t done anything in either area of diet or exercise. I have existed everyday on stacks of toast with butter and cinnamon. A little tea. A bit of yogurt. The occasional cheeseburger.

I didn’t see this coming, this gap, this work stoppage, this collapse. I thought I’d gotten it all neatly lined out again, ready to start anew. I’m sick of starting anew. I’m sick of the ongoing narcissism it takes to write about yourself everyday. I should really be on my knees in gratitude that I am only sick at heart and not otherwise afflicted.

I think I’d like to get gloriously, ridiculously drunk again one of these days. With friends. I  miss that. I bet that’s the sort of event that blows up those little fitbit things. I don’t have one so it doesn’t matter. I can’t count anyway.

Yes, I’m down. But I’m not sad. I’m just not enthused about anything. I feel like I set out six months ago on a journey to the coast of Maine, and I’ve only traveled as far as Erie, Pennsylvania and I’m sort of trapped here, in my own personal Erie. Eating toast.

So that’s where we are.

I’m going back to making this a kind of online journal. You’re welcome to come along for the ride if you like, though I can’t promise how interesting it will be. I suppose I can promise that it will not be fascinating every single day. It might not ever be all that fascinating. There’s a lot of dull stuff between Erie and the coast of Maine, but I’m hoping for a few high points along the way.










4 thoughts on “Stumbling Home

  1. Are you going to stop at Niagara? Dad and I always talked about doing the trans Canada rail trip one way and then shuffling off across America with a trip to Niagara Falls for sure. As you know it is the journey my sweet friend. I must admit…on occasion I make it an occasion to have a long cool yummy beverage with no desire to get drunk but I now treat it like a yummy dessert. Frozen blueberries in lieu of ice (and then look at all of those antioxidants), raspberry lemonade and some of that good Vodka! It is worth the calories and with the morsels you are eating I think you can afford some of them.

  2. The trip is a metaphor. Though I am anxious to return to the Maritimes. Sheryl, Julian and I went to Niagara two years ago on our way to Canada. It was wonderful. There are photos in the FB album. xoxo

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