8 – No Thanks

Tru and I started spending evenings and weekends together. In a whirl of affection and expedience, we married. We were crazy for each other, in addition to being out of our minds. She tempered her exuberant panic attacks with anti-psychotic medication, while I was saturated by daily drunkenness. We joked self-consciously that our romance was like that movie David & Lisa, two young nutjobs in love. Unsupervised nutjobs.

We moved into a sunny apartment overlooking the entrance to the Midtown Tunnel. Tru operated her graphic design business from a corner of the living room, while I be-suited myself for a job as advertising manager at a publishing house.

The task of accommodating my substantial intake to my fantasies of being a middle-class guy of modest hipness with a wife and an apartment and a job required an enormous amount of emotional nimbleness. My heedless drinking subsided into mere maintenance, every night a six-pack and a bowl of marijuana. I just needed to catch a good, solid buzz and pass out. Weekends and special events, however, I could boldly go, entertaining either congenial inebriation or wretched excess. I never knew which. Every five weeks or so, I had to pay a visit to my pot dealer in the Village. He sold terrific dope and I enjoyed these excursions. Trudi, on the other hand, usually declined to accompany. I quickly learned not to force her social anxieties.

 

‘Twas the night before Thanksgiving. We’d run out of marijuana, smoked the last joint, and then the very last mingy pipe-full of roach residue. To replenish the stash, I motivated myself downtown. I brought a six-pack with me and settled in for an evening of rock n’ roll and mellow intoxication. All of a sudden, there it was – Cocaine. I’d snorted once before to no avail, but that night I was in a limber state and game for anything. Common knowledge had it that coke was an accelerant, speed-y, and the resultant presence of mind allowed one to imbibe rash amounts of alcohol with no impairment. Drinkers endorsed this as a most excellent thing.

The bright dawn of the following day brought with it the lacerating hangover that came from drinking all night on cocaine and then getting up way too early. My eyes felt like two piss-holes in the snow. Puking would have been cathartic, but sometimes resistance to this crucial act of self-preservation was the only thing an ego has to hold on to. I wheezed myself into a blazer and tie. Tru and I negotiated Port Authority Bus Terminal and heaved ourselves onto a bus headed for New Jersey. At the end of the highway lay the bosom of my family.

One whiff of turkey and I bolted down the hall to the cool release of the bathroom. Quietly, I crept upstairs to my old bedroom to sleep the sleep of misery. When I ventured back down, all powers were arrayed against me; my parents and my wife perched on the edge of the sofa with pusses on. What happened was an impromptu intervention. I whimpered and vowed to seek counsel from the therapeutic community. I understood intuitively I could manipulate the confrontation, so I submitted to the general contempt. I promised to get help. I didn’t promise to stop drinking.

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