Monday, May 13, 2013

Day 14: Not a ‘Come-on’ Rose on a cloudless Mother’s Day morn, Throwing a bitch-fit because I didn’t get my Sunday New York Times fix, the beer gnomes strike again (I shit you not…WHAT THE HELL!!!!) and making someone’s day….

Status/physiology: Fourteen days. Two weeks.  This is the longest I can calculatingly recall going without alcoholic ambrosia since June 2002. Almost eleven years ago (note: 11 years ago I just got back from a ten day cruise in the Caribbean which I spent nearly as much on booze as I did for the entire trip. I was in the middle of a move. I was broke. I would have continued to pound rum out of coconuts while dressed up like Gilligan all summer had I the funds ).

I’m still not sleeping (or shaving; my non-shave sobriety-scruff beard makes me look like I just returned from  a Kenny Loggins reunion concert) and my body keeps breaking out into itchy rashes which the oracle of Google informs me is because my flesh is not use to interfacing with the allergens in the air without having a said amount of booze swimming around in my system. I look hung-over even though it has been two weeks since I slammed a beer. When I walked to the liquor store to load up on tobacco this morning cool Hindi Raj assayed my countenance then asked me ‘how much you drink last night,” and then started laughing.

I’m also in the midst of a 72 hour juice fast. My brother-in-law is a really cool and successful doctor in town and he keeps on saying that I shouldn’t jettison everything out of my system with such rapidity because the neurological synapses governing my cognitive choice selection won’t know what is happening and I will explode, neurologically speaking.
But that’s what I want to happen. I want the incendiary synaptic crackle of my neurological circuitry to explode in a bouquet of aesthetic arson, decimating my ontological periphery of what I perceive reality to be into a broken nest of logos-legos, altering my view of time-place-causality into a morel-configured cumulus, incinerating the detritus of the past, rising from it like a mythologically-mired Phoenix arcing into unknown patterns of flight that is a new day. 
That is your day.    
Yesterday was Mother’s Day. It was early in the morning and the sun was the color of cheap Tang served in Sunday school and every tree looked like a frilly homecoming boutonniere dripping with evanescent shades of punk-rock lilac and light-frosting bridal veiled cream. Every mothers’ day for the past three years or so I always stop at the Florist shop on Heading avenue near where I used to live and pick up ten or so carnations and pass them out to mothers I know in the neighborhood. Most of them were single-mothers’ in their late thirties and BOY,  handing a botanical stem with a crown of flowery spring petals to an eight year old and telling the moppet to give the carnation to his mom from the elusive writer down the street just gets Mamma Bear’s domestically pent-up hormonal honey flowing so to speak.  Lately I’ve had a lot of older female friends’, women in their sixties or so who still frequent the bars, still put ‘em back, still smoke Pall-Malls so I’ve been planting flowers’ on front porches of houses with windmills and chrome orbs, houses whose bric-a-brac cluttered front lawns look like they are adorned with hydrant-sized pieces culled from a limited edition Hee-Haw chess set.
This year there was a paucity of carnations at the florists and they all looked like they’d been peed on so I ended up buying white roses which were aptly stocked. Purportedly there was a daddy-daughter purity dance somewhere in the vicinity and purportedly both the daughters’ and their daddies aren’t as pure as they were a decade past.
I had one rose left and the ONLY person I really wanted to give a mothers’ day rose to was my friend Barb who works at Walgreens on Western (note: Less one condemn me for being an ungrateful truant son I already celebrated mothers’ day with my beautiful birth mom last wed). Barb has been with Walgreens over thirty years and used to work at the one down the hill before it closed. I always stop in Walgreens on Sunday morning to get a six-dollar New York Times and a 12 pack of whatever but the highlight is being greeted by  the affability of her smile behind the counter.
Barb is one of my favorite human beings in Peoria. She’s well past retirement age, works her ass off, always has a smile glittered into her face as with grade school glue. Every time I hang out with Barb we always break down into party streamers of laughter. Sometimes I blather on about needing to purchase an antibiotic for a fictitious STD  ( this April 1st  I announced that I had just been daintily diagnosed with 'aprillisbaltroentreitis’ 'a priliis' latin for april, 'baltro' latin for fool). Sometimes I embellish crazy stories orbiting around my stagnant love life. When I told her I was invited to Hollywood to read my poems at a cool bar she gave me a hug and a kiss and told me that she was telling all her friends that ‘Her boy’ was going to Holly-wood. In addition to Barb and Beer I’m heavily addicted to the Sunday New York Times. Those who know me even tacitly know that Sunday is my favorite day of the week since I have the Times spread out like a puddle of fresh ink across my writing desk while drinking (a lot) of beer while blasting NPR at just insane levels (H’lo sexy Mara Liasson monotone make-out session) while employing my maladroit culinary skills engendering my signature ma’melets (ie, manly omelette’s grazed with cheese and hot sauce that correlates perfectly with beer) in between sporadic pecks at the screen.
Sadly Barb wasn’t working and to compound my misery the daily shipment of New York Times failed to arrive earlier in the day. I still had the white rose in my hand and as I walked out of Walgreens (okay, this is the part of the narrative that will make some of my readers’ uncomfortable) I walk plum into one of the men who sexually abused me in high school.  I hadn’t seen him in about a decade because after he fondled me he fondled a young-boy who sang in a church choir he directed and the creep was sentenced to about a decade in prison.  The man’s completely forgiven. I came to the consensus a long time ago that I simply would not be a writer had I not been so formatively fucked-up in high school (and everyone is formatively fucked up in high school). Still it was weird and I was in major withdrawal not being able to give Barb her mother’s day rose and not being able to dive into the  toppling paragraph’s of my Sunday New York Times.
I still had the rose. And the only person I could think of to give it to was good-ol’ Chop-Chop.
Someday maybe I’ll write about a mystical experience I had with the creature known as Chop-Chop when she was like a baby and I was like six or seven (or maybe not, it’s pretty weird). I had actually sauntered into Chop-Chop après only two hours of sleep on Saturday morning en route to the florist’s while she was walking her dog. Chop-Chop kinda has her own style and she was wearing these adorable moss flavored shoes. When I saw her she was ferrying a plastic bag of dog-shit and I asked her if she was going trick-or-treating. She smiled and told me that she wasn’t going to kiss me this time. When I kneeled down to pet the droopy head of her basset hound the damn dog took a dump in the middle of the road across the street from the Owl’s Nest.
I took it as some sort of sign.
I debated heavily about giving Chop-Chop the leftover rose (how to tell someone you have this weird bond with that you still care about them immeasurably, even though you’ve fully accepted the rudiments that you will never be with her physically) then I decided to scribble out a proviso missive and attach it to the rose. The proviso read something like this:
Nice note. Yeah, I know. I made it sound like she would contract some form of leprosy simply by touching the damn stem.  I planted the white rose under her welcome matt much in the similar manner that I used to deliver papers in the same neighborhood twenty years ago.
After I planted the not-a-come-on rose I decided to meander around West Peoria and look for a copy of the Sunday New York Times and the only other store in West Peoria that used to carry the Times was the Convenient store on the corner of Clarke and Western. Somebody upstairs must have metaphysically assented that I gave Chop-Chop that rose because for the second time in a week God gave me manna from Heaven and I stumbled across an unopened can of COORS' LIGHT  on the sidewalk a few houses down from the Tartan, about a block from where Chop-Chop's dog took a dump.

Tell me there's no such thing as Beer gnomes.

I haven't had an unopened beer in my hand for two weeks and I picked it up and placed it in the variegated pocket of my jerga. I then continued to amble to the liquor store. Since the liquor store on the corner of Western and Clarke opens at 7 am and since I work thirds I used to stop in nearly every morning. Back in two thousand five when I started 'daily-drinking' after work I would pick up a 40oz. of Ice house then an oil can of what was then Foster's Bitter and a few of the random cans they had iced  in the fifty cent ice bin (usually Old Style). Last summer I started drinking a twelve pack of Leinenkugel's summer sampler a day (the shandy!! The sunset Wheat!!! The pride of Chippewa falls!!!)....I even gave the middle-eastern gentleman who owns the joint a Christmas card one year.
The owner said he hadn't carried the Times in about six month since I was the only lad he used to stop in a buy it. As I returned home I looked across the street and saw my friend  ol' man Fred.

Fred has a priapic gourd-shaped whiskey nose and no teeth and is probably in his late sixties. He always wears the same flannel shirt and gray stocking cap year round. He mostly lives in the downtown library. He used to live in Bradley library but when I worked there I had to call security because he urinated on the floor. You see him walking all around Peoria with plastic bags that probably contain everything he owns. He normally has a bottle of Seagrams gin on him and a forty of Cobra or Steel one-one. Judging by the hue of his skin it looks like his liver is probably thoroughly rotisseried. There's something about Fred that is reminiscent of a whiskey-toting vagabond Kerouac might have hopped trains with in Dharma Bums. In a way Fred is a lot like Cliff only Fred passes out in libraries in lieu of front lawns.
Fred was seated on a cement parking block outside a Payday Title Loans that used to be a Hardees in happier times. He looked either like he was sleeping or he was lost in transcendental meditation. I walked up to him and reached in the pouch of my jerga.
“Hey man. Happy Mother’s day.” I said, handing him the beer.
Fred looks at me. I don’t know how many calendar squares he has left on this planet but a toothless smile just splattered above his wizened chin.
 He then stood up and accepted the beer like an Oscar.
“Sir I would like to thank you. This is very kind of you. You have made my day.”
He spoke with gratitude, sincerity and with grace.

No one says things with gratitude, sincerity and grace anymore.
They’re too busy twittering.
Two weeks ago when I was walking back home with my swan-song six pack of Sam Adam’s hopology I seemed to bump into every drinker I know before commencing with my odyssey. I sauntered into Cliff but I also bumped into R______ (won’t use his real name) who just sits like a garden gnome inside Champs West every night pounding Busch light and every six months ends up in the hospital with soaring blood pressure. I bumped into my friends from the Owl’s Nest who ride motorcycles and are good people only they are into smoking crack.
Right before I got to my house I bumped into my buddy Bret.
Bret is one of my favorite drinkin’ chums in the double-you pea. He has a beefy clean cut countenance and works as a butcher at Haddads.  He loves the community which he refers to solely as ‘The West Side,’ and, like this author, harbors a propensity to crash incontrovertibly inside the bars.  
Mostly I love drinking with Bret because there is never any drama. Only reams of laughter followed by rounds of alcoholic nectar. Often we will close down the Nest at two am on one of my days off and either Holly or Christina will insist on giving us a ride home even though we live nearby.
A couple months ago at the Owl’s Nest he started inexplicably calling me Tarzan and when I asked him why he said, “Cause here I am it’s the middle of the day and I’m walking past your apartment and you don’t see me and you walk past your window with your long hair and you are totally naked with the fucking exception of holding a beer.”
Oh well.
It was April 29th. I would have my final faretheewell beer later on that night.
We were outside the Nest and we spoke and I told him about my pending 40 day sojourn.
“There’s no way you are going to make it brother,” he said, giving me shit. There’s just no way.
I told him I was committed. He shook his head back and forth and stated that every time he saw me I was walking around with a beer.
I told him I looked forward to having a beer with him come 40 days time and he told me that he anticipated reading my blog. As I approached the steps to my apartment I heard Bret in the background. I looked back and he was calling out my name:
“Yo DVB. You are crazy as shit brother! You are crazy as shit!!”
And he is exactly right. I am crazy as shit.
I’ve been crazy as shit for exactly fourteen days of unadulterated light.

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