I had taken them--three of them--right before I left the house, in the infant hours of December, 27th 2007. I have--or should say, had--a funny predilection for taking pictures of myself in the throes of a buzz, kind of like I have a thing for taking pictures of food that looks particularly impressive, right before I dive in and eat it. I think I just want to have a record of the experience, in case I should forget what it was like after it is gone.
I suppose it's not that different than the mug shot that the cops took of me about an hour later.
I was wearing the same clothes. I had my hair down and in a mess. And the demented glare was kind of similar.
But, unfortunately, I later deleted the three pictures that I had taken of myself sometime before midnight on that fateful night.
The cops, on the other hand, were a little less impulsive.
That's the guy, right there.
I can barely recognize him--for real. I don't know that guy in that picture. I know he has a Gap t-shirt on. I know that he had a fancy shirt and jeans that he had bought in France while he was on tour--clean and sober for three weeks, mind you--and I know that, for some strange reason, he even had his passport on him. I know all of this because it says so on the police report. I also know that he had $102.30 on his person, and I know exactly what he was going to spend all but the 30 cents on.
But I don't know that guy anymore. He looks kind of scary, if you ask me. It's probably for the best that I don't know him so there will be less of a chance that he'll take up any of my time if we run into each other on the street.
I know that when the cops stopped him he didn't pull over on the road he was on--that would have left him at the mercy of a bar full of Thursday night patrons. Instead, I know that he pulled into a parking lot on the other side of the street and parked directly over a yellow parking space line, essentially taking up two spots. I know that when the cop tapped on the window, instead of rolling down the window, I know he opened the door, and I know that's something you're not supposed to do. I know that, but this guy apparently didn't.
I know that when the cops asked him if he had been drinking he initially said he hadn't, but quickly recanted. And when he gave the cops the revised account of what he had had to drink, I know that he was so far gone, in so many ways, that instead of saying, "I had a couple of beers," or, "I had a glass of wine with dinner," as would be the expected minimized admission under the circumstances, I know that he told the police that he had had ...
" ... three glasses of vodka."
What the ... ?
Who says that? I mean, really. Who thinks that's a bargaining chip, or that it could explain the smell of alcohol, but not be too much of a warning sign to suspect that he shouldn't be driving?
And not even a mixer? Really? Just vodka? I ask again, who says that?
I guess this guy says that. But I'm glad I don't know who he is. And anyway, he had actually had about 20 ounces of vodka before he left the house. So three of those would be almost a cup a piece, not including ice.
But who thinks that's acceptable behavior for somebody on the wrong side of thirty?
I guess the same guy who tried to walk heel to toe just like the cop showed him but, on the ninth step said, "I can't do this anymore," summing up, in five words, what he'd been trying to admit to himself for a seemingly interminable amount of time.
And those five words were almost the last words this man was known to have said before the booze wore off for the final time a year ago to the day.
In reality, "Can you please let me go," were the last and final words he said--to a video camera--in the corner of a cold jail cell, belt-less and sans laces, in the center of the small town he had lived in for almost twenty years.
And so, if anybody were to hold that picture up and ask me if I recognized him, I'd have to say that I think I know the guy, but he hasn't lived around here in a long time.
"I can't do this anymore."
"Can you please let me go?"
Context is everything in the world we live in.
Sometimes though, what we really mean only comes across when we take it out of its familiar surroundings.
I have more to talk about on this day--this day which marks a year since I stopped killing myself.
But I'm tired, it's been a long week, and I'm going to get a little rest.
And I dare say that my bed, my choice of sleepwear, and my general surroundings will be just a tiny bit different on this night, than it was a year ago.
Not only that, but I can wear my belt and keep the laces in my boots if I want.
Now that's living.
Thanks for reading.