Alone time. Down time. That’s what I needed. I wanted to be benched – out of the game – if just for a few hours.
So, I asked Vicky to have dinner with a friend, Julie as it turned out, and I picked up a pack of smokes and pulled out my bottle of 15-year-old scotch. (I love my brother in law.)
I tried sitting down with a scotch and a smoke but that’s fitting me less and less these days, especially doing it alone. As much as I’ve always preferred time alone, I do it better with a good friend nearby. But Tim Murphy is way up in Oregon and I miss him like a mother-fucker. And Clostio would have liked the scotch too much, that’s what alcoholics do. And Sean neither smokes nor drinks. Rich has disappeared into the wilds of Florida and Roberson disappeared into the wilds of… god only knows.
My best friend these days is my wife, as much as you want to call that a cliché (and you should), but she couldn’t be in on this. You might say that I’m the loser in this but, face facts, she is. She thought she was marrying a guy with a good job with whom she could have babies – boy, did I ever pull one on her.
After a few hours, I realized what the problem was – the three-hundred pound gorilla around which I’d been diverting my eyes – and, no, as a matter of fact, I didn’t like it. There’s no easy way to put it.
It’s getting nearly time for me to quit. I know that. Don’t like it much.
I’ve spent my whole life in failure. But I could get around every broken promise to myself, every book that didn’t sell, every play that didn’t get produced, the acting career that never became a career, the singing career left behind long ago, as long as I could tell myself that, at the very least and it was, that I made a living writing professionally.
But, let’s face it, I don’t do that any more.
Now, I have only one unemployment check left. After that, I probably have two weeks of grace but I need to decide what comes next.
I realized that was what I was facing.
And then, Vicky came home. She got back early because Julie wasn’t feeling well. I couldn’t stay outside in the freezing cold, sub-arctic temperatures that are a Southern California winter (I’m a wimp), with a smoke and a drink for clarity, when the clear mandate of my life was just inside. That’s probably why I had to send her away; when she’s near, I can’t think straight.
She went upstairs to check her email and I followed her up and collapsed, only half-drunkenly, on the bed.
And, son of a bitch, I fell asleep! Wouldn’t you know it?
When I awoke at 4:30am, I realized I still had my jacket on – and that I was awake for the day.
No decisions. No clarity. No certainty as to what I will do next.