Friday, March 20, 2009

Teri and Oliver

Oliver was a black man who had to be at least in his forties but had a youthful appearance. He took an interest in my knitting and told me about the clothes his mother used to sew him back in New York when he was a kid. She was apparently rather strict. He knew how to do some crochet, but hadn't done it for years. He had a fast way of talking, words tripping over each other as they flowed from his mouth. He thought I had to be from out of the state, no doubt picturing me as some country girl come to the big city.

Teri was 55, he told me so himself, and looked like he could play the sheriff in some old b-western. He was shocked at my age, and wanted to know why I had a degree in film that I wasn't using. When given my usual vague explanations about nepotism and Hollywood, he told me that you could even find that in alleyways. He then related to me stories about living on the beach in the 80s, and being ticketed by the police, and how he'd almost gotten his associates degree. He wished he had a job and focused on taking care of himself even though he lived in the alley.

Both men made allusions to how drinking had gotten in the way of their lives, and seeing their charming smiles, hearing their colorful life stories, and smelling the alcohol on their breath, I felt sad.

The Boy and I have been watching the first 48. A vast majority of the murders on that show are in some way or another drug related. The Boy and I agreed that while we had no real moral, ethical issues about getting high, the violent and ugly nature of the business really soured us on the entire institution. Drugs may not be evil, but some of the people involved in them are.

I realize the world is numerous shades of gray. Boiling things down to drugs and alcohol = bad, prohibition = good is overly simplistic and ultimately not useful. The violence and murder and drugs in the first 48 also has a lot to do with poverty. Both Teri and Oliver no doubt have demons they don't bring up at bus stops, and if they didn't drink alcohol they'd find some other self-destructive outlet for their issues. I've seen people spend money on yarn in a way that made me feel they were searching desperately to fill some hole in their lives, not a few relaxing hours of knitting. People's demons find all kinds of outlets.

Still, I'm sticking with tea these days.


Gina Black said...

Alot of it isn't simple self-destruction. It's about self-medicating away the demons of which you speak.

Bob Mount said...

This is anecdotal and not really a "correction". The demons won't leave with medication. They are not even distracted by it but instead wait in rapt, perpetual fascination for their next available unexpected moment to surprise their victim at the appropriate trigger of which the victim is usually completely unaware. Because of that usually unknown trigger it becomes a pointless excercise in futility to stay high and obviates the potential for a wonderful reality w/o the high in the way. -- I have simplified the florid response I originally wrote. ;-) By the way, good to have you visit. Very much enjoyed the conversation on the way to the airport, too.

Our new cats think we might eat them. They are still hiding in the bathroom.