Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Go ahead. Get drunk.

You really should learn to enjoy being drunk more often. I recommend it to each of you. Why? It’s simple. Being drunk helps you live in the moment. And living in the moment is therapy for all the stress and bullshit swirling around you, all the projecting into the future with deep questions of whether such and such will work out the way you’d hoped.

I live in an Art Deco building in Gramercy. It is a fine structure with a series of nice doormen. Like many other older buildings, we have a range of tenants, including many widows, some of whom appear fairly infirm, yet who remain residents. I don’t mean your grandfather who can still swim 40 laps a day and who is learning Capoeria. I mean the sadder end of the spectrum. Walkers. Blindness. Tremors.

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When I first moved to New York full time, I found it shocking that all of these older people remained in this fast-paced, hectic and potentially dangerous city. I was a little appalled. And, at times, such as when I was forced to walk behind them, I was a little annoyed. I realized some time later that these people retained a much larger sense of involvement than had they moved to a retirement community. They probably couldn’t drive. And, as such, living in a suburban environment would essentially make them housebound. In New York, they could walk to their favorite coffee-shop, pick up the paper, do their own grocery shopping, see a movie…whatever. The city is an alienating place to be alone and surely, a fast moving taxi could spell instant doom…but in some way, what a better alternative this is to similar alienation through sequester among other old people far removed from the lively bouncing world of the city streets.

There is one older woman, who has to be in her 90s. To her credit, she gets around pretty consistently. Pushes a little cart to the grocery store every day. She moves pretty well, but is a little shocking to look at. I don’t know what it is. It’s like her teeth are too big for her wizened face. Cheap dentures maybe? She looks like a living skeleton. This is mean, but it kind of makes me sick to look at her. I was interested in this sensation and have contemplated it. I believe I understand why it bothers me. Memento Mori. That’s what it is. And I should treat it as such.

I’m 32 now. That’s not old, and it’s not young. For those further along, it seems young to you, sure. But as much as 32 seemed like yesterday to you, so it seems to me that only yesterday I was a crafty 1st Former at Eaglebrook playing Zonk for the first time and not knowing how to handle my buzz. Time moved quickly. And you never feel old on the inside. It may not feel like so very many years until I am the teetering old son of a bitch in the elevator, freaking people out with my shaking and enormous dentures.

It’s a fact that we’re less firm, less healthy as we age. All the more reason to live. To embrace today. To take hold of those things that please us. The joy of live music. The movement of women on the city streets in their various stages of summer fashion. The first sip of a extremely fine bottle of wine. Whatever it is that moves you. Whatever moments make you most happy…seek them out. And be happy within them.

And drink more. It helps put you in the today and now. Plus, it takes years off of your life. And that will save on the years spent scaring people in the elevator.

Hell, maybe next time I see Mr. Jenkins and his walker, I’ll ask him up to the apartment for a glass of scotch.



Anonymous Anonymous said...


1:02 PM  
Blogger Jill said...

I'm 43 and my husband is 52 and let me tell you, we are about to remove all the mirrors because getting old really really sucks. It doesn't just suck a little, it sucks a lot. You think it's disgusting to see that old lady and her big teeth? Now imagine having to look in the mirror and watch it happen to your own formerly beautiful face. Or try looking at photos where your skin is puffy and your hair is no longer shiny and gorgeous and the one thing you could count on to get you laid, but brittle and graying and frizzy. Just wait Mr. Chas, and you will see why it is really and truly so important to be very drunk all the time. It's really the only way out. Well, there's drugs, which are good if you can't tolerate all that blood sugar.

12:16 AM  
Blogger LeperColony said...

Wow, I've never lived in a place with a doorman. If I had someone guarding my door, I might be more open to the idea of constant intoxication.

8:42 AM  

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