Blogging has required an adjustment on my writing process. Before this I was and am a wannabe Literature/Fiction writer. We don’t get an immediate, if ever, audience. We don’t get instant gratification like those pansy-ass musicians and artists. The process is a practice in patience and dedication. Solitude. I cannot be under the influence of anything when I write. Not for the purity of the blah-blah-blah, but because a couple drinks in and all I want to do is hangout, make fun of my friends to their faces and make them laugh about it, too. A couple drinks in, to hell with solitude.
I grew up with every piece of trash in the trailer park declaring that, “Budweiser is a man’s beer!” “Miller High Life is a real goddamn beer, by god!” And Coors, and Natty Lite. Corporate piss water. A can of that weak-ass shit has 5% alcohol. A glass of froo-froo wine is about 13%. I say that like I’m going somewhere with this. For all my cries of falsity, and redneck ignorance, what was I drinking? Zima. Jesus. My prom date and I got drunk on Aftershock, which is some cinnamon liquor that crystalizes in the bottle as you drink due to its insane amount of sugar. My white trash angel harangued me into procuring it for this magical reason. On my 21st did I go out on the town proper, from bar to bar? Nope. Planet Hollywood, where I could drink overpriced drinks named after popular movies. A place for tourists and other rubes. On the reservation in North Carolina, me and my Injun cousins would get someone with a car to carry us deep into the mountains where every underaged one of us drank Sysco wine, which I believe was even lower rung than Boone’s Farm or we’d get some Diesel 190 proof grain alcohol from the ABC store just off the rez. This was tougher stuff, sure, but even trashier than the trash I was trying to cultivate out of me. I didn’t know how to not be trailer park.
I was a pizza delivery boy for a bit. I worked for some real New York Italians who had transplanted to my hometown for some odd reason. I would deliver a pie to some rednecks here and there who would proposition me with an even better tip if I’d ferry them to the gas station for a case of Bud. I’d say, yes, every time; take ‘em to the store, take ‘em back home, take their money and sit and drink a can with them. There was a derelict hotel I’d deliver to. It was usually dudes at the middle or end of some awfulness in their lives. They never had tip money. They offered booze or drugs. I’d drink with them. I was never trying to be an alcoholic, and these excursions were not too regular a thing. We were all just so very bored. They, confined to their homes because they fucked around and lost their licenses, or holing themselves up in shitty hotel rooms because in a town where everybody knows everybody no one will take them in, and myself confined to my car having heard all I could stand of NPR’s sensible and enriching programming. I laughed with them. Every one of them told me that theirs was not a life a young man like me should want to have. It seems like anger and resentment are the only reasons I left my home in Georgia, but it was also out of respect.
My barroom education came about when I moved to Atlanta, then New Orleans, then Athens. I learned that Bud and Miller were actually lagers. Shitty lagers. Sweetwater Brewery was just hitting the scene. I learned I really like IPAs. A chain restaurant that primarily exists in GA called Taco Mac featured 300 beers, and a little “Around the World” program that encouraged drinking the gamut of brews. I worked there, drank all the beer. My tastes improved. I never touched that swill stuff. Artisan crafted potables all the way. $8 a pint, and honestly believing whatever I was seeing at the bottom of the glass was better than those rednecks of my homeland. I moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota to write my novel. I quit drinking for the most part, and quit smoking entirely. I learned to keep my head down in solitude.
I finished my manuscript and now I’m in Brooklyn. At first, money kept me from drinking at all. When things got a tiny bit better, I’d enjoy a drink now and then, making sure it was the most micro-brewed-crafted-as-all-hell as could be. I had finally cultivated an aversion to that piss water of old, wouldn’t even touch the hipster approved PBR. Then this blog. After dealing with long-form for so long I found it hard to be in the moment. I would habitually try to make long arcing storylines to be addressed in later posts. I was mentally cataloging everything I was seeing and hearing, and thus in danger of becoming an internet journalist. Can you imagine? I want to be excited, and surprised in this journey through BK Country. I want to be mouthy, and raucous in my telling of it. So, it behooves me to drown out that cultivated snob that I in too many unearned ways have become. Now all my 1st draft posts are done at Freddy’s Bar, a couple blocks up from Roots Café where I do the final drafts. At night, it’s High Lifes until I get that snob quieted down enough that I can have some fun, so I can laugh about these high times, piss and moan about the sorrows. Then, in the light of day with coffee and cheese grits, try to makes sense of the night before. I do it for you, dear reader.
One thought on “I Am Drinking Again”
Well, I’ve been out of the drinking loop for a long time, Jody. But it’s fun to read about someone else’s! All I know for sure is that a good B-complex vitamin before bed and after a bout of drinkin’ – along with a big glass of water – can do a lot towards preventing a world class hangover. Just FYI.