Retirement Plan

On Sunday morning, I prayed.

Generally, I have about the same moderation as Central American politics, but I couldn't believe I had managed to drink enough to cause myself so much pain. Maybe I haven't been drinking much lately or maybe it was mixing champagne with whisky or maybe eating nothing but M&Ms and half a cupcake while downing so much liquor was a bad idea. But at the time, it was one of those powerful, majestic, clear and bullet-proof bouts of insobriety that make for epic tales of drunkenness. I felt like Hemmingway and Steve Buscemi rolled into one. The formula was working and I was sticking to it.

The only reason I'm not saying I passed out was because of good placement. I made it home to my bed. I took a cab back from the party in the West Village and don't remember much about the trip except for odd snippets of memory dancing through my head as I remembered all the times I had crossed the Brooklyn Bridge. Brief little mental comments all forming some small part of an impression, like an ADD adult's look back on childhood: a one-sided conversation with no complete sentences and then left in a general state of confusion.

I wasn't even on the Brooklyn Bridge at the time.

The cab crossed the Manhattan Bridge and wound its way into Brooklyn to my home. I wrestled with the key, went to my bed and balled myself up in the sheets. In the afternoon, I moved slowly out of the bed and into the living room. I made coffee more to restore some sense of equilibrium than to actually wake up. I was in pain with occasional waves of nausea running through my stomach in a vaguely treacherous fashion. I felt like I could spontaneously vomit with no warning whatsoever. Reverse peristalsis - fast tracked.

I'm usually very good with a hangover. My outlook is good, even if my body is betraying me. I have a good attitude about illness in general. I become introspective and quiet and take my time with everything. I accept kindness from others. I am softer, gentler, more forgiving. I am nice because I am weak. I walk carefully and deliberately and allow old woman those extra few seconds she needs to walk past me, those extra few seconds where a sea of frustration and rage would rise up within me and I'd want to knock her down. If I were in the midst of my normal Monday morning coffee-laden frenzy, it would be a very different story. With a little bit of pain, I am more the kind of person I want to be.

Maybe I'm just narcissistic, but I think if I'm ever stricken with some debilitating illness, I'll be a pretty good sport about it. Not complaining, but showing concern and being kind to other people. I might even become interesting to speak to. I might start to behave in all those ways I'd like to be if I wasn't constantly trying to get somewhere else. I am here and I am going to die - not rush about it. People with cancer don't watch the clock the same way that people five minutes late for work watch the clock. I'd like to be a Tuesdays with Morrie type, but less annoying: if I'm about to croak and all I have to offer is New Age babble to make people feel better about their office jobs and being good to their families, I'll just kill myself and save everyone the trouble. No one looks to the suicidal for advice, but they're probably a more interesting read.

Maybe that's a part of the problem.

Posted by at March 15, 2004 6:27 PM


Damn it all to hell Lunch, now you're making me mad that I didn't come down for the party.

Posted by: Michael at March 16, 2004 3:36 PM
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