Sunday, May 9, 2010

"If one is lucky a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities." ~ Maya Angelou

Solitary Drinker in the Revolution LoungeImage by Bill Gracey via Flickr

“What’d you get up to last night?”
“Got wicked drunk.”
“Yeah? Where’d you go?”
“I didn’t go anywhere. I drank at home.”
“You had a party and didn’t invite me? Who showed up?”
“No one. I got drunk by myself.”
“No shit? What’s wrong, man? You wanna talk about it?”

I do wanna talk about it. Not about what my friend wrongly assumed was the dark motivation that would drive me to drink alone, but the very act of drinking alone.
Somewhere along the line people got the idea that solitary boozing is a sure sign that the drinker is about to slip over the edge into something dark and sinister, whether it be suicide, skid row or a staff position at a drinking magazine.
And on the surface, it makes sense. Alcohol is the original social lubricant, after all, it makes any gathering loose and friendly, it has the unique and beatific ability to spin laughter and camaraderie from the dry straw that is the strained silence of the sober. Strangers become friends, friends become cliques and cliques become vast drinking scenes. It is the golden bond that connects you with most of your friends and acquaintances. It sure as hell isn't a collective interest in stamp collecting that holds the gang together.
Drinking alone, on the other hand, is a much more pure and forthright form of imbibing, and I say that because it focuses entirely on the simple act of putting alcohol into your bloodstream. It tosses aside all the half-hearted pretensions about merely using alcohol as a social tool. It gets down to what drinking is all about: getting loaded, and by doing that, getting down to the inner you. The inner joy, the inner madness, the subconscious you, the real you.
Now, there are those who abhor the very idea of spending a moment with themselves. Put them in a quiet room for five minutes and they're picking up the phone or turning on the TV. "Deep down in his private heart, no man respects himself much," Mark Twain was fond of saying, and he was dead right. Why should those people want to hang with their inner selves? That entity is, for all intents and purposes, a stranger, and worse, a stranger who knows all their deepest, darkest, most terrible secrets. {Read on}