Saturday, May 06, 2006

A Review of the First Fourteen Minutes of "Charles Bukowski: Born Into This"

It is 5:59pm on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon and I am in my apartment, drunk.

Don't be scared.

Don't be worried.

I'm happy. I did this-- getting drunk, by myself, in the middle of a sunny afternoon-- as an exercise, of sorts, in free will; in living by myself for the first time; in having an awkward amount of time to kill before the night began. This is not ritual (DON'T WORRY) but rather a tryout for, an experiment in, something I'll likely not do again.

So don't be worried; don't be concerned. I'm a-thrilled right now.


See, what happened is this.

I went to work early this morning. When I stumbled out of bed, I felt tight in the bad sense of the word (groin and knees, if memory serves), and so I used that (those) as my excuse not to go to the gym this morning. Instead, I missed the train by 30 seconds, and caught the next one into the city, ten minutes or so later, still making it to my computer, on a Saturday morning, mind, into an otherwise empty room, before 8am.

Eight in the goddamned morning, on a Saturday.

What the FUCK is my problem?

Anyway, I'd been there for less than a minute or two when my supervisor came in, to start his day.

And though he's a good guy-- obviously a good guy-- it was clearly work time, from there on in. Or there on out.

Not that I would have dicked about, mind... but for some time, I felt what I would term an unnecessary and/or undesirable pressure.


And of course, I was more productive, as a result, by a signifcant margin.

I should spend more alone time with the guy... it would make the firm happier (if not the agency I work for).



I left at 12:30, stressed. The reasons why are irrelevant, and may or may not have to do with work.

Knowing me, it was anything but.

They certainly weren't to do with any one person. I'm thinking it had more to do with getting a phone call this morning from an old alumnus of Jaffe Associates, who all but forced me to talk about the stress and change of the last months and/or year.

Regardless of the cause, I think I simply woke up on the proverbial wrong side of the empty bed this morning. No more, no less.


By the time I got home and did a few "honeydos," or what once would have been termed "honeydos," in a previous life, I decided to sit back and relax with episodes three and four of The Sopranos, which is (of course) just as good as everyone has proclaimed it to be for seven years running.

Something in me suggested that having red wine would accelerate the viewing experience.

It might have been Andy, who came over last night with Peyton, and who joined me on my first walkthrough of Wine Cellars, which is a block away, and who bought me a lovely bottle of a grape I'd never even heard of (God bless Andy, who knows more about wines than 99% of the population)...

Or it might have been Teso and The Sopranos, the cumulative Italian, as it were, insisting that I reach for my caberet sauvignon while enjoying the drama.

Either way, the drinking that followed was hardly premeditated.

But it was great. The show was great, the buzz was great, everything was great. And even though it was and is gorgeous outside... it was phenomenal to be doing something different then I ordinarily do, something I wanted to do, something relaxing.

Because other things, whether they were slight or sizable, real or imagined, were stressing me out. The drink helped.

I feel good, right now.


Jeff called me with minutes to go in episode four, by which point I was already a few drinks down. And after he gave me the strategy for the evening to come, I realized... that I had even more time on my hands than I'd realized previously.

And this was after taking a half-hour nap, incidentally-- my first one in awhile. The early schedule... it eats at your bones. I needed it, and I was thanked in kind.

All pre-drink, mind.


So what did I do, after hanging up the phone and finishing off the last few minutes of the episode? I throw in a documentary about a long-dead alcoholic poet, a cult hero who, in addition to being a prodigiously talented writer, was also rarely seen without (or without talking about) the bottle.

Duly inspired, I poured myself another drink.

And threw it down.

But then I had to stop the movie.

I was realizing that Born Into This was too much, that it was too good, too informative, that the man was outsized, and that he and it was/were too much for me to reconcile even in a "tribute state," as it was (and is).

So I stopped the movie, fourteen minutes in, right after the moment where he compared himself to the Red Baron, right after reading the titular poem "Born Into This" (I'm presuming this to be the title, by the way), right after the montage of loose and not-so-loose women that Hank seemed to surround himself with whenever possible.

I don't know this guy from Adam, but I know I can't watch any more, right now.

It's too much.


If you know me at all, then you'll know that this isn't the norm, and it's nothing to worry about; it's only fun. Something different to take the edge off. I'm happy, relaxed, merely waxing (stupid) poetic.

But even if this comes back to bite me in the ass-- most likely via co-workers, unless I'm being paranoid, here-- it doesn't matter.

Because (a) I'm feeling good, and (b) I'm not fixated and/or dependent upon other, lesser drugs. Which I won't get into, for fear of outing people with far, far worse addictions than my own (which may, in truth, be non-existent-- mine, not theirs).

But suffice it to say, at this particular point, and on this particular day, the drinks helped.

It doesn't always do so... rarely for me, in fact. But right now (and with the possibility of a steak dinner in front of me)...

I'm feeling good. Which is more than I was able to say at earlier stages of the day.

So, L'chaim. Salud. Cheers.

I wish you were here with me, because drinking by myself... however effective it might be right now... it will never compare to having company.


Looking forward to seeing all of you, soon. I hope and expect that we will have a good laugh about this.

1 comment:

Bill Chinaski said...

"There was nothing really as glorious as a good beer shit—I mean after drinking twenty or twenty-five beers the night before. The odor of a beer shit like that spread all around and stayed for a good hour-and-a-half. It made you realize that you were really alive.”
—Charles Bukowski, Ham on Rye