I’m not in college anymore. I can’t keep pretending that it’s okay to be drunk all of the time. Living in Los Angeles, my weed is my medicine. But I’ve been using my prescription every other day to deal with “insomnia: trouble falling asleep or staying asleep through the night.” Not to mention the procrastination of Netflix, my under-appreciated acoustic guitar, porn on my iPhone 6.
I’m slipping to be honest. I told myself I was in the city of angels to be a writer, but I’ve been flirting with demons and not doing a shit’s worth of writing. I’m worthless to be honest. I have a moleskin in my pocket, but the beer in my hand is too heavy to find the pen in my pocket. I still love the first girl that I gave multiple orgasms. And I call my grandma on a regular basis…when I remember…when I’m waiting for the bus.
Hangovers have become my mornings. Not just on Saturdays after celebrating a successful week. Every morning is a hangover and every hangover is a morning. I’m trapped in the monotony of spending every paychecks on well-vodka and Red Bull. And dead set on the idea that what you do when you’re 23 is spend your paychecks on well-vodka and Red Bull. I eat Clif Bars to settle the stomach pain. I smoke cigarettes after coffee to stop from shaking when I’m getting more coffee from a Keurig. I masturbate in a Denny’s bathroom where I order the grand slam with an orange juice. I spike the orange juice with vodka.
Being alive is too boring. Being blurry and irresponsible is the best. Except when it means parking tickets and ignoring warrants in envelopes and selling your favorite watch for rent checks. But when I am overpaying for old fashions at a rooftop bar with a guaranteed fuck, I am happy to be drunk…and poor….and in fact I embraced it. It becomes part of who I am. It is my story and my dad’s story. Someone to put blame on. A reason to be unable to be my dad in the mirror.
I sometimes I think I’m living in a dream. Up until this point in life, everything was like a fantasy. The world my stage and those around me, my supporting actors. The illusion that my reality was a reality show seemed to be working out fine. I guess that’s how I wound up in LA. Entangled like marionette strings in a puppet show. The ever-present sun simply a key lighting that is always capturing my good side. When I realize this. That I am starring in my own movie that I write, produce & direct in my head. I think I’m living a nightmare.
The hours drag on. I still shake from fear. Still telling myself I deserve a DUI as I scratch my car tires against the curb in a questionable parking spot in a questionable part of town. As I turn the keys in the ignition to stop the engine, I speak to myself in the third person. Asking myself questions like my mother would. Thinking of my mother with blue-and-red lights spilling on her face as she drags my body from a cop car. The cops drove away and now I’m okay. I’m not okay, I say to myself out loud.
I don’t know when neon signs became my new nightly ritual. When happy hour was really happy. The only happiness I will feel for the rest of the week. Weak. So weak that one drink turned into two and four. My hand turned to bloody rags. A messy mass of cartilage through a glass door. One glass and I’m done. It only takes a one glass, and then I convince my fake friends that I’m fun. My stories turn into a blur. But it’s fun.
It’s sad to say, but I should be dead. I’m betting my days on shots of Fireball that go down smooth and come up like fire balls. Black vomit in kitchen sinks. I’m sinking into a new low as I take my cigarettes from the elastic bands on my skinny jeans pockets. I breathe in deep through a kinked nostril as powder jump starts my consciousness. Substances make me feel alive even though I’m dying.
Not dying in the literal sense. I’m too much of a pussy to shoot myself. Too much of a light weight to dig drugs in my arms with a needle like burying the family dog in the dirt. I’m too afraid to hang myself because I hate the idea of not being able to inhale. But I inhale from a blunt just enough to feel okay with being alive. That’s the point, isn’t it?
There’s much worse than dying. Living so fast that each night you convince yourself it’s the last is much more sinister than a burial ceremony and a life insurance payout. The idea that dying young is glamourous. Your face on some tee shirts in a head shop next to Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse means that you lived every day to its fullest. That’s the worst drug of all. Because you’re dead set on the idea that living isn’t worth it unless your bottle is full of whiskey and there is a fresh pack of cigarettes every time you tap your front pocket.
I say, “I’m quitting alcohol.” I’m done. I’ll never be afraid of LAPD slamming me on my car hood again. I’ll never take that girl home from the bar who has never met herself. I’ll never pay for a round of shots before my electricity bill is squared off. I’ll never max out another credit card. I’ll never go to another funeral and say goodbye to a best friend. But I know I’m lying to myself. I know sobriety is a lie that requires faith in some bullshit god to accept. A twelve step program that preaches addiction to the Bible rather than addiction found on the chalkboard of your regular watering hole. The only difference between a nightclub and an AA meeting is the shitty coffee and donuts are replaced with lines of cocaine and bottle service.
“Another whiskey sour,” I say to the bartender as I scribble an inaudible manifesto into a notepad full of shitty poetry. “And another for the lady.” My line feels cheap like the half-off mimosas and table bread. She doesn’t even look at me. It doesn’t bother me. I can’t even look at me.
I shook away the shadows with another sip. I can’t complain. No one can complain in Los Angeles. I mean, everything is beautiful when you’re fucked up. Los Angeles is as beautiful after a few drinks as a shy girl at the bar who still orders appetizers with gluten and refuses to get contacts. Fucking Hollyweird. Everyone is just stuck in thinking they will be the next big thing. It’s this illusion that the shit of today is enough to hope for bigger in the future. Overpaying for an apartment with a view of a parking lot is justified because you’re full of shit and really believe that one day you’ll have a view of the Hollywood sign. Things get worse before they get better. You have to earn, not even happiness, just the feeling of content. Some days I pretend that this is what I’ve always dreamed of. Some days I remember that I’m living a lie. Today was like the latter.
I say: “I’m quitting alcohol.”
I polish off a can of Budweiser before pissing on the porcelain rim of a toilet. I spit a viscous bile like motor oil or a cheap moonshine onto a pink urinal cake. I talk to myself in the mirror like you always do when you’re drunk.
I know you do it.
“I’m quitting alcohol.”
Actions speak louder than words. And right now I have a cold Modelo sending condensation between my fingertips. It’s not my first and it won’t be my last. I feel okay with knowing that this drink will never be my last.