Thursday, June 3, 2004


Funny how the only time I write here is when I’ve been drinking.
People’s accents are always thickest when drinking. In the same way, my old neighborhood ways come back every time I hit the bottle.
Drinking was an everyday thing in the old neighborhood. All my memories from then are fuzzy, blurred by the drunkenness. Every time we fought, I was drunk. Every time we stole, we’d drink before and after.
Now, when that drunkenness returns, all the same mental routines kick in—whether I like it or not.
That means when I get drunk, I automatically get shady. I get quiet, and I start watching instead of talking. I fall into a routine where when people say things I don’t like, instead of laughing politely and changing the subject—what regular people are supposed to do, and what I do everyday in my professional life—I fight off the urge to tell them to fuck off, and am usually forced to leave the room. That makes it hard to drink around anyone in my new world.
This has begun to affect me professionally. Lots of deals get done over drinks. For most people, the buzz of a good beer evokes happy memories—days at the frat house, out on the golf course, sunny days on the boat. But for me, it reminds me of the neighborhood, and all the fights and guns and everything else.
The more I drink, the more my slang from the old days returns. It gets harder to hide my old roots. That makes it impossible for me to drink around my boss or colleagues.
I listen to the pansy Ivy League assholes in my new world talk, and it drives me nuts—the passive aggressiveness, the bickering, the conversational one-upmanship. I’ve learned how to deal with it in my day-to-day life. But once I’ve had a few drinks, it’s impossible. All I think is, “if you shit heads were in my old bar talking this pansy shit, you’d be getting the crap clowned out of you.”
I always figured this would go away someday, and maybe it will. But it sucks for now.
Tonight was my girlfriend’s birthday. We had a party, and all her friends from school came. Lots of Ivy Leaguers, lots of political types, lots of very rich kids.
I could tell they were all disappointed when they met the guy who’d finally landed their friend. They were expecting somebody charming, about 5’ 8” with sandy blonde hair, well heeled and a degree from Brown. Instead they got me.
And the more I drank, the less I felt like intelligent banter with them. Pretty soon, I was fighting off the urge to fucking strangle them.
It’s funny how when you meet people, you know so little, and it takes so long to learn all their stories.
Sometimes I wish I could tell all the old stories to these people, and give them my context. Maybe it’d excuse my social gaffes. Maybe it’d explain my reactions to them.
But that’s the conflict of a complex life—learning to deal with the fact that no one can ever truly know you, except the people who’ve been there from day one.
The hard part, of course, is when you leave all those people who understand behind, and start a new life without them or the context they provide.