Drunk driving. It seems like everybody does it. And I’m sick of seeing it. Both white collar and blue collar businessmen stumble out of the bar I work at. I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut about it too, as some leave barely being able to walk, stumbling into the turnstiles which only turn one way for those entering. They force their drunk bodies against the bars of the awkward metal device, trying to exit through the entrance, frustrated at the obstacle that ought to budge against their weight and force. Their bodies themselves experience a languid epiphany and then inevitably they stumble to the other door clearly marked “Exit.”
I’m the one that makes friendly suggestions for the trusted cab drivers which are lined up outside the bar throughout the night. I tell them that a cab ride or doubly expensive “safe ride” where they bring both you and your car home is far more prudent and less expensive than a DUI. And then what? They logically convince me that they live close by and will be fine. Or that they are fine to drive. Or that they do this all the time. They’re dumb shits when they get to this. Don’t get me wrong… I’m empathetic. I know what it’s like to think when you’re underwater, floating somewhere in the bottom third of the Dewar’s bottle. Things make their own kind of sense. It’s you against the world… like the chaos in yourself is what is real and present, fully known, and transcendent. Still and suspended. The rest of the world is out of order. You try to manipulate the chaos outside of you because you are smarter than this alcohol. You wonder that the chaos becomes aware of you. Or that the real world in which it’s contained knows how intoxicated you are. Yet you imagine that the cops won’t find you on this night. That you’re really good at looking and speaking sober. And it’s that fucking rat race–you staying ahead of the alcohol–where you’re always woefully behind. It’s the same reason that “drunk” gets old. You realize it’s a race, and every trip around the track looks the same.
I know what it’s like to be separated geographically from home, the best place to be legally drunk. You’d be fine as long as you were there. And you only need to negotiate between here and there to be legal. So you might risk it to get to home base where your drunk ass belongs. And fuck yourself. You fucked up if you’re at this point.
But the right thing is to not get to this point. Or to plan accordingly. Because what could be more adult than planning ahead? And yet I see even high powered business professionals who’ve worked good and hard to get to where they are fuck this up all the time. They are people you’d expect to have their shit together. Yet the longer I live the more I realize that just because someone is a certain age or wears a certain suit to work doesn’t mean shit. It’s not indicative of the kind of person they are. Why? Because you’re always on trial. You need to keep making the right decisions. You never arrive.
One of the most important lessons in life is this: Know thyself. And if you’re drinking? Plan accordingly. If you know that after the third drink all subsequent drinks are bottomless and you stop caring, then choose a designated driver for the evening before you go out. Or stop at two. Know yourself well enough to not succumb to putting yourself in a position where you will choose as if you have a superman complex. Everybody knows better than to drive drunk. Just not many do better. I’ve met people that have had three DUI’s. I get tired of seeing it. I get tired of poor decisions. Life lessons are repeated until they are learned.
The problem isn’t with alcohol. It’s neutral. It can be enjoyed one drink at a time. It can be overshadowed by the amazing company you keep and can rest comfortably in the background the way good music can. But if you know it can become more, then seriously… need I say more? No one’s got alcohol figured out. No one is stronger than it. If you’ve had a problem or have chosen poorly in the past, then just like every other situation in life… like the sign on the desert road trip that says “Last Gas Station for 150 miles”, do what a sane person would do. Realize that you’re not a badass. Realize that the rules of life apply to you. Decide at step one that you will do the right thing. Like deciding beforehand that you will never cheat on you wife and not waiting to decide when someone’s wet and pulling on your zipper, because you’re not gonna make it at that point.
Alcohol may seem to fuel your fantasies, but there are enough people that get DUI’s and kill people every year to state that you can’t go undetected by life’s radar. Shit catches up to you. So plan ahead for oblivion–for the music pumping and the alcohol you let flow over the rim of your cup into your gullet. Fuck it. Stretch this a little further and learn from others’ mistakes. You’re a fucking hero if you come into my bar with a D. D.. Oh… and you’re an adult too, if that means something to you.