I’ll be seeing the sleep doctor on Monday morning, and I’ll have plenty to tell him. Seroquel is helping me sleep, but I can’t stand the hungover feeling I have when I wake up. There are few things as bad as a hangover after having done nothing enjoyable to cause it to happen.
We put up the Christmas tree/Hanukkah bush Sunday night, after Steph and Susie came home from a singalong. The days of going out and cutting down a live tree are long gone–I heroically brought this up from the basement and Steph and I assembled it, all the while I was wondering if the damn thing was alive after all, since it refused to stay still during the assembly process. Children’s art projects of the Holy Family and the shepherds hang side by side with Greyhound and Eric Cartman ornaments–the ultimate in inclusiveness.
Earlier Sunday, I watched a Lou Grant episode called "Skids," about a strangler stalking Skid Row in Los Angeles. I watched Lou Grant religiously during my junior high and high school years, and was grateful when Hulu began posting the episodes extant. "Skids" was interesting to watch as a onetime lush. (Go to http://www.hulu.com and go from there.)
The Skid Row type of drunkenness was never the type I could understand. In high school and college, getting drunk was usually associated with having fun, socializing, seeing bands, etc. (I was in high school in the late 1970s, where parents would hear about a party where their kids got falling-down drunk, and the response was, "Well, thank God they weren’t doing drugs!")
The most extreme example of alcoholism I’ve personally experienced was my downstairs neighbor in Cincinnati. He was in his 50s, and lived in an apartment with his 85-year-old mother and equally old stepfather, and you could count every working brain cell in their apartment without taking off your shoes and socks. (The drunk was known in the neighborhood as Toast.) He was a permanent fixture on the back porch for hours on end, drinking cheap malt liquor and pissing in a bucket.
One night, when I was working third shift at the Cincinnati post office, I finished work early and came home about 3:30 a.m. As I came up to my apartment building (the venerable Burwood Apartments on W. McMillan Street), I saw the squad parked out front. They were bringing Toast out the front door on a stretcher. Apparently, there was no booze in the house, so our hero decided to partake of his Aqua Velva instead.
I contrast that with a trip I made to D.C. once, seeing a lot of yuppie and dress-for-success types, both men and women, on the Metro subway. They were singing prep school fight songs, chinning up on the straps, etc. They were a few sheets into the wind, and my guess is they were just knocking off after a long work week–I remember speculating in my diary that they were staffers who had just sent the latest issue of The New Republic to the printer, or Congressional staff aides celebrating the start of the August recess. Hard to believe they shared the same condition of a guy so ruined by alcohol that he lacked the strength or motivation to go in and use the bathroom.