He weaves around the corner, grinning and ragged in the rain, like a familiar smelly dog you don’t want to touch.
He is pleased to see me. I am not pleased to see him.
His left hand wields a can of something that will make the average person barf after three or four. He wears dirty cut-off blue jeans and a wet white shirt.
In short, he’s drunk. And I’m not.
Which means that our take on the world is different. His is “what can you do for me?”. Mine is “what do I need to do for myself?”
He wants a lift to his friend’s funeral. No matter that he’d known well before now the time and date of the funeral service. Simple planning is beyond this man in his late 40s.
No matter that I’m shagged after a busy morning, and need to get home. My needs and time don’t matter to him. Only his do.
A Chronic Drinker
All by way of drawing a simplified picture of how a chronic drinker thinks when they’re in the grips of an episode. They’ll live moment to moment, hour to hour. The first thought is “where will the next drink come from?”, which explains the apparent extreme self-centredness.
When they’re NOT in the grips, they can often function normally enough to fool most people. They can also be generous and fun to be around.
How do I know this? Because I used to be a chronic drinker.
Which is one reason I drive him across town toward the funeral parlour. He’s a friend.
Except that, as we near it, he tries my patience by asking to go to his place to change.
I drive him there. He has lost his keys. He breaks in and changes. Then he changes his mind and goes back inside. He’s now taken up nearly an hour of my day.
I lose it. “You have three minutes”.
After that, I drive off, leaving him inside.