I am a cheap drunk. I don’t mind this necessarily because it means my long nights tend to be much quicker than others. One of my favorite drinks to have is shots of tequila, wedges of fresh limes (and the thick ones) and a dash of salt. I have other drinks that I can tolerate, but there is just something about that quick burn of tequila that does it for me. I rarely drink the top shelf, instead just sticking with the normal Cuervo. And while I most often drink in groups, I would much rather drink alone.
There is something in my mind that is romantic about sitting at a wooden bar, on an old stool, taking my shots of tequila and passing the time people watching. There is something refreshing about being out and about, but at the same time all alone. There is something tempting, almost needful, about the old adage of drinking our troubles away.
I have lately wanted to go to my local bar and do this. Of course it means that I have to find a bar not loaded down with televisions blaring and the depression of people not looking for a drink but rather food. I have to find a bar that is small enough that I am not bothered but large enough that I am safe. And then of course, I have to figure out how to get home.
Most of the ideas I have, like this one, are pipe dreams. I won’t do it. I won’t find this bar – instead I write about it. I won’t taste that bite of tequila – instead I will write about it. I will put myself on that stool using the weight of my characters demons – and I will write about it. Being about to write is both a wonderful thing and sometimes a rather lonely bit of moment. You can write about life all that you want, all that you need, but it doesn’t mean that you can actually have it.
I have a lot of pipe dreams. And I have a lot of dreams that are as real to me as the words on this piece of a web page. Last night I had a dream that took me a long time to understand. You see I believe, desperately sometimes, that my dreams are trying to speak to me. Of course as they are solely my own thoughts I can determine who and what they are and what they are trying to say. I can think on them for hours until I get the answer that either makes the most sense to me, or at least makes me feel like I got it right. It truly doesn’t matter what others opinions are, these are all mine.
I spend time writing about my dreams, and at least giving my characters the same thoughts and feelings from the dreams that I feel. This makes the characters more real and gives them a sense of real world definition that we relate to. I try very hard, at least with my main characters, to use my own self and my own journeys to push them through to theirs. And often, if I think how well this works, my world goes a little bendy. How is it that my whole self, including that part of me that dreams, brings my characters the very things that they need to find their own ending?
Last night I walked and visited with groups of people. The people in the dream were in some ways recognizable to me, as some always are, and others were there but weren’t known directly by me. Each of the characters in my dream, at least those that made an impact, are supposed to be there. I didn’t have to know them for this to happen. And in the dream, these people or groups of people ignored me despite the fact I was walking right beside them.
At first I thought it was a simple matter of me feeling neglected in my life. But that wasn’t really it. The people knew I was there, knew that I was standing beside them, they just didn’t need to acknowledge my presence. And it was that realization that led to me wondering if my dream wasn’t simply about the feeling of being taken for granted.
I would wager every single human on earth feels like they are being taken for granted. If you have ever been married than you have felt this feeling. The feeling that life has gotten so routine, so normal, that no one has the need to recognize you at all. Not your contributions, not your feelings, not your hopes. It is as part of marriage as sex and fights about money. We get into routines, and we forget that there is a possibility that the person we love is no longer feeling the same love we have been giving this whole time. We can all try and say thank you for our partner doing something, or we can all sit down and have a nice time with the partner, really listening to their hopes and dreams, but the truth is very shortly after that moment each of us is guilty of going right back to that routine. I love to write about characters who fall in love, and then show that love, that devotion over and over. It makes me feel the possibility.
You can feel taken for granted at work (you do the details, others get the credit), you can feel taken for granted at PTA meetings (no one needs to volunteer, I will do it). You can feel taken for granted with your kids, your friends, your church. It is part of our life; and if you are interested there are about a thousand books and even more articles about what you can do about it. Personally, I can’t ever get around it, so whatever I do, whatever I read, won’t help.
My mother last night made an interesting statement to me. She was concerned and believes that much of my depression lately, much of my mental problems (with this bipolar) is because I am at home alone all the time. I wanted to laugh. I wanted to tell her that based on the life outside my home, I truly have no desire to be in it. It is easier and a whole lot more comfortable for me to simply bury myself in my own mundane and ignore the world around me.
If I look around this world and see the neglect, those that are taken for granted, those that are searching desperately for some sort of meaning in another human being, I become so thankful for my moments of complete solitude, that I get down on my knees and bow my head.
Maybe it is naive of me but I don’t want to place myself in a position where being taken for granted is the norm. And like you I recognize the price that solitude places on me. But what we often do to one another, in the name of love, is sad. I am not talking about the physical violence that leaves bruises and cuts, but rather the emotional damage that leaves scars that no one cares to go find. I get tired of seeing, even in my own marriage, the damage we do to one another and I wonder why we do it.
So maybe that need for that shot isn’t so out there. Maybe I want the oblivion that alcohol gives you. Maybe it is simply a desire to push back the thoughts and the memories, and remember nothing but the blackness of naivete. Maybe it is a simple desire for one moment to forget about the reality and only taste the burn of that fire, chased by the tart of the lime, and the dash of something more than the lonely dreams I have.