It was a working weekend for me, owing to the fact that I’d had three days off the one previous. It was a pretty uneventful one, however, which gave me a good chance to recuperate. I even took advantage of the tiny bit of marijuana I still had to get high Saturday night. It seemed like I should have more left over, but, then again, I was used to my smoking sessions being few and far between. It didn’t make sense at first, when being at work all weekend was a relaxing experience, but became clearer when I looked back at how exhausting the previous weekend had been, when I’d had an extra day off. I suppose the regularity of a fixed schedule is settling and helps you anchor your place in the world.
I felt so good when I got off work Sunday evening that I even decided to take a little break from getting high for a while. It was the middle-class half of my brain taking over. A late Sunday afternoon opportunity to buy a sack of great reefer, however, changed all of that. It’s hard to explain the entire scheme behind these thoughts, but I adopted a philosophy in my younger years that if ever I was offered a drug deal when I was not necessarily looking for one that I should take it. It stemmed mostly from a time when I had, at a graduation party, bought a sack of mushrooms on a whim and tripped harder than I had before or since. A few scattered coke deals had followed similar patterns, but I’d never tested the theory with pot, mostly because in those days I was always looking for pot. Willpower be damned, the shitbag inside of me won out and I went home with a big sack of sticky green. I may have shown some maturity in that I regretted my purchase on Monday morning, but the deed had been done.
The main reason I regretted buying brings us back to the beginning of this rambling tale. Another Monday morning meant another Monday night which meant another football game I’d be at the bar to watch. If I hadn’t the willpower to resist buying in the first place, when I was dead sober, I knew I wouldn’t be able to say no to getting high once I had a few beers in my stomach. Things only got worse once I got to work. Spending the weekend alone and focusing on my new imaginary girlfriend had made me forget about the first one. When I saw her early Monday morning, so full of hope for her new opportunities, I got angry. I wanted to get high right then—to cover up the horrible truths of my lonely existence—to blur reality into a world where I took girls like her home on a nightly basis before promptly forgetting them. What a fucking bitch! Go on ahead! Go back to your fiancé and your healthy lifestyle! I’ll be fine working with whatever new piece of shit they hire to replace you!
Monday went about as I had figured it would, as far as the beers and weed and football were concerned, and Tuesday’s team interviews gave me a window into some of the replacement options. I looked into the situation and my future, while avoiding my duties for the afternoon. When we were together, sharing an office, it was like we had our own movement going. There was nothing that our particular combination of youth, knowledge and hard work couldn’t accomplish. Of the two candidates we interviewed, I would have preferred the older, which I thought odd due to my previous attitude of believing that youth would conquer all. I was trumped by the rest, and forced to adhere to the consensus opinion that I was wrong, which made me even more confused—what were they seeing that I didn’t?
I had a simple, possibly to the point of being ignorant, reason to not like her. She was over prepared for the interview, but had only managed a just-under-B-plus average while getting her bachelor’s. Neither of these on their own would have raised any red flags—I myself had a similar GPA—but combined they spelled trouble in my mind. I made the assumption that she was the type of person who had worked her ass off to make up for a lack of natural intelligence. I graduated high school with just such a girl. She studied and spent hours a night on homework while I copied from others and blew her out of the water in testing. I’m perfectly open to the judgment that I’m no better than a racist, but I hate stupid people who compensate for a lack of insight through hard work. Sure, your hard work will carry you for a while, but when it dries up, where’s the intelligence to fall back on? It’s like a pitcher with great location but no speed—he can throw, but he’s no ace. Those people need to just be comfortably with their average intelligence and get a job painting houses or something. Stay the fuck out of my office!
The short parade of losers I had to deal with gave me another excuse to spend Tuesday night drinking. Perhaps realizing that I had no skills in reading people sounds like a lame excuse to waste a night, but it was one of the better ones I’ve come up with. I gathered my thoughts around a six-pack of strong ale, which I thought would be an easy way to get a bit more drunk without bumping myself all the way up to a twelve-pack. It came on heavy, due to the greater kick each bottle carried, and when I got up for my third the first two thumped my brain into a temporary stupor. I’m not sure what causes it, or why it doesn’t happen on every occasion, but from time to time I get an initial buzz that throws a brick into my thinking—all of the head-fuck with little to none of the loss of motor skills. It’s fun, but always turns out the same—with my body thinking that one more beer will finish me off until I’m blackout drunk from chasing that initial feeling. That’s pretty much how it went that night.
I checked the clock and the six-pack—still four beers left and only forty-five minutes elapsed—then made a plan to have my third beer while I prepared a late dinner. I assumed this would be more than enough to ready me for bed. Instead, the third beer put the notion in my head that I should let the food cool down while I smoked just a tiny bit of the fat sack calling my name. As long as I was going to be empty-stomached and high, I didn’t see any reason to not crack my fourth beer. When I woke up in the morning to six empty beer bottles, over half a bottle of wine I’d been reserving for cooking gone, a pot of cold spaghetti and a splitting headache, I realized I should have looked harder for that reason.
There’s no worse hangover than overly-sweet wine, and there’s no worse shape to be in when meeting a new co-worker than insanely hungover, so I had a lot of cards stacked against me going into the weekly all-staff meetings Wednesday morning. Almost immediately after I arrived, I found that she had already been hired and was going to meet the full team today. If being pissed off after her interview was a somewhat lame excuse for drinking, using having to meet her while I was in a state of ill health that I already blamed on her as my next excuse takes the cake. I spent the day with a thirst for red wine—possibly to counteract the white that had caused me so much trouble the night before—and seeing her happy as a clam every time I turned around only made me want to pop a bottle more.
I went to the liquor store that evening with my mind on Shiraz, but also on the fact that a single bottle of wine wouldn’t do the trick. Magnums weren’t really my thing, as more than a liter was almost a guarantee that I would throw up, so I strolled through the beer aisle. This time, when I’d set in with enough supplies for a good hard drunk, the motivation just wasn’t there. Maybe it was the music or the fact that I got extremely high right away to ward off the recurring tremors in my head from the morning, but I spent the night sipping wine, eventually making my way to putting a dent in the beer I’d bought, but not getting to the point where I began contemplating ending it all just to avoid the deathly sickness that awaited me in the morning. All this is not to say that I can recall what happened that night. I remember, all of a sudden, looking at the clock and coming to the realization that it was ten-thirty and I was still wearing my work clothes. I finished the beer I was holding, changed into some PJs and drank a large glass of water before crawling into bed for a well-needed rest.