Tuesday, April 10, 2007

It's a Long Way to Tipperary (and Sobriety)!

Poster: "Christian?" © Austin Cline

Somebody overturned an 18-wheel car carrier in the northbound lanes of the New Jersey Turnpike yesterday afternoon, thereby causing hours-long delays, northbound AND southbound for tens of thousands of motorists and commuters.

May whoever did it rot in Hell.

Okay, I don't really mean that. Look, I know that accidents happen. I even know that some nefarious, unseen, all-powerful force in the universe does not lie in wait for ME, does not pre-plan these catastrophes for the sole purpose of ruining MY evening and isn't deliberately trying to get ME drunk again.

Well, I know that intellectually. But deep down inside, on some gut level, I "feel" like all those things ARE true and that I am, magically, the only person being inconvenienced by something like that.

This is the alcoholic mind at work. Self-centered in the extreme. My default reaction to any situation is that it is "all about me!" Infantile pre-occupation with self. Something happens, early on, with us drunks. Maybe we get dropped on our heads. Maybe, at the age of six months, some well-meaning soul, just to shut us up, slips a couple of shots of whiskey into our bottles.

Or, maybe, we're just born this way.

I've worked pretty hard over the last nine years to delve into all these character defects of mine. I've looked at them "six-ways from Sunday." I think I have a real handle on a lot my "stuff" from why I seek out the sort of men I seek out, to why I distrust love in general.

But then something like this happens. Whether it's an accident on the turnpike, or pouring down rain, or the slow checkout line at the supermarket, I'll invariably think, "why do these things ALWAYS happen to ME??!!"

The honest answer is that these things happen... and I happen to be there at the time.

You should've seen me last night, at the back of my commuter bus. I would've looked "okay" on the outside, but inside I was a mess.

I wonder if any of the other 43,000 vehicles stuck in traffic had messes in them, too?

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