Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Highway out of Town

According to Ferret, George's cookout today was a huge success.

"There was about twenty people there out at the lake," he told me excitedly. "We all drank beer, grilled burgers, fished, and talked about various things. It was so awesome to get to drink free beer instead of that damn mouthwash. George's mother made potato salad and the most delicious baked beans I have ever eaten. George can grill a damn good burger as well."

George's mother is an incredible old southern style cook. I felt so left out and alone. I wanted to go so badly. I want to be able to go to parties, drink beer, and have fun like normal people.

"Want a sandwich?" I then asked Ferret, worried he was probably too full from lunch. He ate anyway -- a homeless man never turning down a free meal.

I had prepared some egg salad sandwiches for Rosa's and my lunch. I made some extra wax paper wrapped sandwiches to carry down to the shopping center to give out to Big S, Ferret, and Clara, or anyone who wanted any. I ate quite a few myself on the walk down there.

"George kept talking about you," Ferret said in between bites of his sandwich -- his mouth full as he talked. "Said it just wasn't the same without you there. He loves you to death."

I left Ferret talking to Clara and Big S and walked back down to the tracks and disappeared behind that grand old abandoned cotton mill. I was sulking. On the loading dock behind the mill, my cheap Wal-Mart tent still sat after all this time after my urban camping experiment down here months ago. I looked inside and it was still water free after all the rains we had recently. My magazines, a cheap flashlight, and an old pillow sat inside dry, safe, unused, and neglected. I was rather surprised all this hadn't been stolen or torn apart. It goes to show how isolated and unused this little area is, nestled in between that huge old mill building and the railroad tracks beyond the river. I crawled inside and sat Indian style upon the hard concrete for a long while listening to the wind whistle in the broken panes of glass in the windows of the cotton mill behind me. Frustrated tears began to roll down my cheeks, my cigarettes my only solace. I felt safe, isolated, and alone, and I let the tears flow freely knowing no one would ever know I broke down sobbing. I wanted a drink so badly. It has been a long and tough day.

I wiped the tears from my eyes and walked across the highway, past the service center, to my fortress of solitude -- that little park across the highway from the cotton mill. I sat on a bench as I pulled a bottle of Gatorade out of my backpack, taking long drinks between pulls of cigarette smoke. Pigeons scurried at my feet taking furtive drinks of water from the muddy and tepid puddles on the ground. Squirrels ran playfully up and down the big, old oaks that surrounded me. These are my true friends, I thought of my little feathered and furry companions. They don't encourage me to drink and bring true joy to my soul. It was then that I thought of just walking out of town to just disappear from life. I looked in my wallet to find two hundred dollars and some change -- just enough to feed me for a few weeks or to buy a bus ticket. I longingly looked down upon the highway running out past the city limits. Wanderlust called out to me.

I can't bring myself to ask for help -- to call out to Rosa or my family for aid. Which, I am sure, infuriates some of you that read. I know you all get tired of my rehashing the same old ideas about drinking and homelessness -- thoughts like a broken record. I can't bear the imagined glares I am getting from my readers about all this talk of alcoholism, the disdain. I dread what the future might hold now -- one step away from doing something rash and unthinkable. That is why I get so tired of fighting and wish to just be a drunkard of a homeless man -- my only worry being the next beer I am going to drink and where it will come from. A simple life filled with simple means and simple pleasures. I am constitutionally incapable of living life in a normal manner. My life feels like the proverbial square peg being forced into a round hole -- it just isn't working and doesn't fit.

I really need something to take. I want to call my father, the pharmacist, and ask for a few Xanax or Librium to calm my nerves -- anything to take away these urges of self destruction, this all encompassing will to drink. A few pills to make me sleep peacefully and restfully. To wake refreshed and anew. He will not give me any for fears of it causing me to want to drink with even more earnestness. It is maddeningly frustrating. They don't want me to drink, but no one wants to help me when I am trying to stay sober. My drinking will cause spurious activity, but nary a lifted finger when I am on the wagon.

Simple things I tell myself. I need simple pleasures tonight. I am going to treat myself to some brie, big long triangle of it, and some water crackers -- a gourmet cheese and cracker usually reserved for special occasions. I paid far too much for it and it has been calling out to me to eat it. Also, the warm comforting embrace of Rosa awaits me when she gets home tonight. I can't wait to hear about her day with her granddaughter -- their relationship growing more steadfast as each day passes. I sometimes wish I had children so my usual selfish inclinations would be turned outwards towards others.



I'm not judging you..I understand the pain that you have..the desire to just run from it all.
It's OKAY to feel that way.
It's OKAY to cry.
It's Okay to want things that you don't have emotionally, or mentally.
You have a great heart, and any time you need anything, send me a shout.
I'm thinking of you. And no worries here, regardless of where you're at with your temptations, or thoughts, I always look forward to reading..

to be a bird, to fly free..ahhh...I dream of that.

Le Fleur said...

I used to dream about running away, I still do in fact, but I feel better having a complicated existence where I am than a simple death out there. That is the plain truth, Andrew. I know that I'm not smart enough, or quick or lucky enough, to survive without my family, my school and my plans. Though you survived years on the street, you have endured scars that are taking forever to heal, but they will heal eventually. You are getting no glares from me, but I think that if you abandone all that you've accomplished now their might not be any coming back. I do want you to be happy and think that you should give it more time.

Time heals all wounds.


impromptublogger said...

I'm sorry you're having such a struggle right now. I know they always say to stay away from people who might tempt you, but you are obviously not at that point yet.

Simple pleasures are good. If you were homeless and drunk you would be longing for some brie and water crackers and know you'd not be able to get any.

I hope you can find some peace of mind.

pai said...

OK - don't let this analogy put you off, it's not mine anyway but my therapist's.

There was a man who was finally able to build his dream house - beautiful property, beautiful architecture, gardens, everything he always wanted, but it was built next to the railroad tracks and while he didn't mind the trains, the hobos who came by became a bother.

Out of generosity he would feed them when they came. Soon they just let themselves in. A while later they started settling in. All the time the man fed them and cared for them. His dream home had become the opposite of everything he wanted it to be.

When talking with a friend of his about how stressful all this had become his friend had a simple solution: Don't let the hobos in.

It took some time and he had to be on his guard constantly at first, but it wasn't long before the hobos moved out and stopped walking into his house. They still knocked on the door, but he knew all he had to do was ask them to leave and they would.

The hobos represent all the myriad things that wear us down and draw our energy away from what is really important: ourselves, our life, our desires, whatever fills us with the happiness we need to live.

We have a choice to let the hobos in or keep them out. It's definitely work to keep them out. I'm still working on it 2 years later (in fact, this brings it all back to the forefront for me, which is a good thing).

One other thing, I think you might want to stop thinking about how to be "normal." Who cares if you don't do what everyone else does?! Do what is good for you, what is right for you (that isn't self-destructive). You don't need to be anything else. I think that Rosa and George and all your other friends prove you are perfectly acceptable AS YOU ARE. Who wants to be that boring anyway?! ;)


You have the ability to take your life in any direction you want. Being an artist, I would love to see what you have created. I would imagine it is as beautiful as you.

Le Fleur said...

I think we all long for something or someone outside ourselves who forces us to come out and act like we know :)

Sorry if my comments earliar were a bit harsh, but I was thinking about my own wounds festering and I know that if I run from them they'll rot and I'll end up not just thinking about suicide, but doing it. I know that doesn't apply to you, but it was on my mind. I hope you feel better soon even without the drugs.

I've never had brie before. Is it good?

Leon said...

No Andrew, it does not infuriate me. It only makes me sad that you live on such a roller coaster.

SOUL: said...

i just wrote a long comment, and then when i went to post it, got an error message! ERG!

so now i have to keep it short...

you are doin better than you give yourself credit for my brotha...
progress, not perfection. right?

LoriAnn said...

I've been lurking for several weeks - reading and reading your blog after I stumbled across it one night while I was hitting the "next blog" button. Andrew, I wish I could describe the fluttery nervous feeling I get when I click the bookmark for your blog - I worry you might not be here anymore. I'm not an addict, an artist, a writer, or a poet nor do I have much of a creative streak, but you speak to my heart. I cheer your progress and close my eyes in pain with you sometimes. Your raw with just getting through the day-to-day that most of us take for granted and I see you evolving to become the person you are meant to be. Keep writing, Andrew...please.

greglo said...

Always reading, never judging, always loving your blog, never losing the pleasure to read you, always thinking of you as a person with a great heart and mind.
Friendliest feelings!

Cheryl said...

Hey Andrew,
I'm sorry you're going through such a hard time. I know how left out you felt not being at the party. I bet it wasn't nearly as much fun as you think. You might be surprised to find out how envious others are of your sober life and your relationship with Rosa.

Do you ever visit George's mom? I remember your meals there. Do you go to your parent's for that good southern comfort food? I loved when you talked about food and posted the pictures of your meals. I'm hungry right now and wish I had some comfort food in front of me.

As hard as today was, you got through it. I hope that tomorrow is easier.

I'll write a real post tomorrow.

PipeTobacco said...


If you are interested, I have sent you an e-mail.


Ropheka said...

Nice Blog :)

Anonymous Boxer said...

It's OK. It's OK. This is a long journey, we're all in it. You're actually, doing really well. You just can't see it yet... but you will

skinny minny said...

No judgement from this reader non-commentor. Just makes me worry about you and sad for you. You are so strong been through so much come so far don't sell yourself short. Sometimes I think you, like me, just doesn't believe you deserve to be, just be happy or content. And my question is what is this obsession with "normal"? What is normal? granted normal is a roof over your head and something to occupy your days and nights that isn't destructive to yourself or others but beyond that be you be the best you can be and that is normal enough. Take care.

Eric said...

The desire to just walk away from life, to become a nameless, non-entity as far as the world is concerned is not restricted to folks like you who struggle so mightily to slay horrible dragons. I have, more than once, entertained that very idea. Usually, the thought hits me when life is not particularly enjoyable. Then I read of one such as you who really endures deep seated trouble and I realize that slipping off into seeming oblivion is not the answer. Thank you for sharing.

Nikita1 said...

Hi Andrew, been away, and had loads to catch-up on your blog this morning...we don't judge, we don't blame! we accept you the way you are. Being a probably eat "grits" I heard that Southerners eat it...or some Southerners, don't know if you like it..but anyway, if you do, go to my blog, read the "pap dis" (in Sept) and try it...made with will love it...and check my pics on Osterley Park which I took Saturday...when you wrote about the park, I've thought that once you have your camera, you could take us nice pics from your park and blog it! I would love to see it! take are a strong person!....nikita

SOUL: said...

just to say good mornin here... hope you have a peaceful day.


Same with SOul!! We're up smoking and choking and wanted to know if you wanted to join us. We're the early birds I guess!
Love peaceful mornings..
I hope you're doing better..
and by the way, you're not selfish..!! you're dedicated to your passions.

pattycakes said...

no one that truly is a friend judges you andrew , we all have our dragons to slay :) please dont worry about what others are negatively saying about you. their opinions dont count. we only worry about you because we care so much. you are doing great , you are stronger than you think you are . have a great day