Albert Vanderburgh was a homeless man in Honolulu who wrote a blog for years in the University of Hawaii public libraries. It was populated by an interesting cast of methamphetamine addicted “boys” who where his friends. Him being much their senior and almost like their mentor. They called meth Baku in their local Hawaiian language and their lives were spent trying to obtain it. Every day would be a new tale of their exploits from the previous evening. Albert had a nine to five job and a nice apartment and gave it all up to live on the streets of Hawaii tired of the rat race. Homeless in paradise, He was one of the more avant garde men I have ever read about and got to know. Mr. Barbieux’s exclamations that people don’t choose to be homeless was certainly proved wrong by Mr. Vanderburgh.
Every evening, Albert would walk down to the beach on Waikiki and drink what he called his sunset brews, three 40 ounces of beer, as the sun set over the ocean. It always sounded so romantic to me being an alcoholic. My own attempts at sunset brews didn’t prove so romantic tonight, though.
I don’t do sports. I never have unlike my brother. I felt as awkward as a nerd in a jock’s locker room when a young black man walked over to me this evening, handed me a basketball, and told me to take a shot. He was just being nice and friendly. He saw me sitting on the bench by the courts all alone watching the boys play. All the other black boys laughed as I missed the hoop and chain net terribly. There were a few “white boys can’t shoot hoops” jokes being made and lots of jovial laughs at my expense, but it was good hearted. I had been to the convenience store just down the street and bought two 40oz Steel Reserves to drink while I sat in the park and watched the young men play ball in the court there. These were my sunset brews – my own feeble attempt at trying to capture Albert’s grandeur of his similar ritual. The sun did set, but it just wasn’t quite the same or captured the same ambiance that Albert wrote about in his tales. I need a beautiful beach to sit upon I realized. Something this little southern town on the piedmont plateau doesn’t offer.
Charlie arrived earlier in the evening with my medications. He watched carefully to make sure I took them under dad’s strict orders. I was watching Bones and he joined me for the rest of the episode. I now have him and dad both hooked on that show. Charlie usually only watches HGTV.
Charlie brought me lots of goodies tonight. Charlie is like my mother and hates for me to do without. Dad is oblivious to it. He feels dad is overbearing and I have to live a Spartan life because of it. I told him what he brings me are little joys and he just grinned and grinned. Charlie brought a grilled chicken plate from KFC, my six diet Cokes in cans, and two 20oz diet Cokes in bottles to drink with my supper. He also brought a big cup of sweet tea from KFC that sent me into caffeine overload. I got jittery and had to pour most of it out. All that sugar was just too much as well.
I shed a few tears as Charlie left. I’ve just felt so terribly inescapably lonely lately. I think I am in some deep depression and just haven’t figured it out yet. The incredible urge to self medicate myself to feel better is so terribly strong that I about can’t control it. I don’t know what I am going to do. I at least take heart that things so far aren’t irreparable. I haven’t done anything overly stupid to screw up my life like the countless DUIs I’ve had in the past. I favor walking these days. I haven’t, so far, damaged any relationships with my family.
I feel I have no control whatsoever of my mental healthcare, though. Dad is in complete control of it all. He has to sit in every visit with my psychiatrist. If I ask him to sit in the lobby he will be angry with me for days and I just can’t take all that. I also hate my doctor. There is no way in hell he can diagnose what is wrong with me in fifteen minutes charging $100 dollars. He is a pill pusher and dad loves this being a pharmacist and very medication centric. I take eleven pills every night for my mental illnesses and I don’t even know their names. Most of these pills were prescribed when dad would tell my doctor what symptoms he thought I was having. The doctor would write out a prescription and dad would say thank you. These pills are forced upon me every night with no choice in the matter. I am so out of touch with my healthcare. I have been under the strong suspicion that one of these pills is causing my anxiety but I am met with accusations and blank stares when I reveal this.
I’ve had little control over my life for years now and it is about time I do something about it. A job. Getting a new doctor. Being in control of my medications. Buying my own groceries. It’s all got to start somewhere. I’ve been marginalized for years and I am tired of it. My self esteem is at one of it’s lowest ebbs in years and has been for a very long time. It is time I take some pride again. Be a man. Take control of my life. If I don’t do something, I will be sitting in this house three years from now with no change in my life with little progress emotionally, spiritually or personally.