Ode to Day 29: Oh, how I do not long to be that drunk kid who fell onto his face in the subway. DUDE. Thank God(dess) he wasn’t near the tracks. He was at the bottom of the escalator and literally tripped and went SPLAT onto his chest and face. Ouch. Of course, I laughed after I got past him (two other people helped his drunk ass up), mainly because it was one of those falls so utterly lacking in grace that you can’t perform it unless you’re totally shitfaced and your limbs are approximately 95% out of your conscious control.
How often have I done — and not remembered doing — something like that? I cringed and immediately took a reality check: I could have been him and could have done that, and something really bad (breaking my neck comes to mind — I know someone who did) could have happened. I suck in my breath a little at the thought of the absolute possibility.
I remember walking around [cold east coast city] a few years ago, pretty soon before I left (man, that sounds so sad; must get back). I was still drinking and blacking out, but it was taking its toll and I was moving into my serious-problem phase. (That makes me smile — which was what, pray tell? Rage-dialing a recent ex AND banging your laptop to death in the same night?). Anyway, it was dark and as I was crossing the street with the hoards of mainly 20s kids, I saw this 20s kid stumbling, lit as fuck. He could barely stand up, and kept weaving in and out of this wide swath of land that he considered his “dotted line.” He looked like he was in a trance and had no idea where he was or what he was doing. He’d move toward people, nearly fall on them, and they’d back away. Or, just pretend not to notice him at all.
It stands out because I remember wanting to go over to him and like, HELP HIM. I was worried that he might walk into traffic or trip over an open manhole. Or worse, fall into one of those storefront openings in the sidewalk that lead to the shop’s basement level. That could have been/probably was at some point ME. Did anyone help me? Did anyone care? Would strangers just let ME stumble about through the streets of [cold east coast city]? What makes him different than me?
I guess I must never have stumbled THAT badly around strangers in the bar, or outside on my own after my friends took off, or trying to find a cab… I doubt it, though, as I have more than one memory of “coming to” somewhere totally foreign and not in my ‘hood (sometimes not even in my borough). I know it’s happened here…when I got arrested and spent the night in a sobering cell in [cold west coast city], or when I blacked out for hours and ended up getting mugged and losing my glasses somewhere that felt like the Mission but to this day I have no idea where I was in the city, or when…the list goes on.
The point is, it gets worse. Kind of like the opposite of the Dan Savage anti-bullying campaign. It Gets Worse. Hopefully, though, that kid in [cold east coast city] didn’t turn up dead or seriously injured, and hopefully he’s not relying on the “kindness” of strangers anymore after he’s had too much to drink. If you think about it, HOW MANY times have we gone home shitfaced after a night out drinkin’? How many times have I walked, taken the subway, hailed a cab, climbed up seven flights of stairs or taken the elevator to my apartment COMPLETELY blacked out, or at least in severe brownout? Innumerable. Literally. I might as well count backward from 365. Now? Today? Today I don’t even think I’d trust myself in the shower drunk. IT GETS WORSE.
This post is all just to say, I’m consciously glad — finally — that I’m not falling onto my face at the bottom of a subway station’s escalator (which wasn’t even turned ON). Dude is going to hurt tomorrow.