Another pour. The glass clinked against the side of the glass as it slowly filled, the only noise other than the keyboard incessantly typing. In an earlier time, the glass would be filled with something more romantic. Scotch. Cheap whiskey. Maybe a red wine, sans the ice. Today it is filled with water – yes, moving the beverage from one container to another does make me feel more sophisticated.
‘Write drunk, edit sober’ was always terrible advice. Especially when your lifestyle was set up in a way which allotted no time for editing. I’m convinced that ‘Write drunk, edit sober’ was created as a barrier to those more concerned with their image than the actual craft – the type that put ‘sometimes I write things’ in their social media bios. Falsely attributing the quote to Hemingway is the the masterstroke. Every loser thinks they can be Hemingway. Every loser thinks Hemingway is nothing more than a manly persona and plenty of alcohol. He leans back in his seat at the local nonchain coffeshop, fingers sore after collecting the last hour’s bounty of 80 words. He checked his Instagram notifications for the fourth time in fifteen minutes. Seventeen more likes – perfect. He knew the prominently displayed semi-obscure but still recognizable book and pack of American Spirit cigarettes would give his post the extra credibility it deserved. Taking another sip of his latte, he toyed with the thought of pouring another shot of the bourbon he always carried in his hip flask. Better not. Unless…
Sobriety has forced me to relearn the most basic of tasks. Talking to people being one of the more difficult. Realizing there was more to a conversation than having a few drinks, opening my mouth, and allowing words to spill out was almost an alien concept. Realizing that, even further, other people have been doing this all along was even more incredulous. I had been living as does the beast, purely instinctual in my actions – I said what I wanted, ingested what I wanted, did what I wanted. Consequences were non-existent to me because consequences did not provide me any immediate gratification. I was confident enough in my abilities as a seasoned degenerate to handle any potential consequences that ‘drink a lot of whiskey and see what happens’ became the default plan for any given night.
Surprising to nobody but myself (maybe), living solely for the present rewards you solely in the present. I suppose I knew this all along, but I was always a skillful liar – and as conventional wisdom tells us, we are much more convincing while lying to ourselves. I’d dress it up, of course; romanticize it by comparing myself to Bukowski or any other renowned figure that was too cool to care. I’d proudly reminisce over the (many) times I (either by drunken experience or by blind luck) just barely came through a potentially disastrous situation unscathed. I’d lost many things along the way – friends, opportunities, women, etc. But who cares? There were always more.
And there were always more.