There was a time in my life when contact with a drunk left me feeling angry and frustrated. During the first couple of years after my husband and I separated, I had to stay away from bars or other places drunks might congregate (like parties) because the sight of a drunken person would fill we with the incredible urge to grab him or her by the throat and demand, “Does your spouse know where you are? Are your children fed? Is your rent paid?”
As you can well imagine that kind of behavior would put a serious damper on a party. Not to mention that the answer was none of my business. So, I picked my friends carefully and avoided situations where I might find it necessary to accost somebody.
Time has healed the wounds that fueled my resentments. It’s a good thing, too, because I think I am the only sober person in my neighborhood. The weather is bright and warm and unseasonably sunny even for Vegas. The neighbors have shed their houses for the cooler comfort of outside.
Today the two neighbors across the street met at the fence separating their yards. They were discussing last night’s party. They each bragged on the amount of tequila they had drunk, and how they’d “put the others under the table.” I recognized the words of that conversation as part of a young adult ritual, but — although I rarely do this — I had to get up and go look out the window to confirm what my ears reported, because they were coming from the mouths of two little old ladies.
One of the little old ladies spent the afternoon outside with her family. Her most repeated sentence was, “Boy, bring me another.” She still calls her son, “Boy.” He is elderly, too. At one point he said, “You’ve had enough.” And she responded, “You not talk back to me, Boy!” I don’t know whether she got her drink or not, but she didn’t ask again.
A little later I heard her great grand-daughter say, “Granny, where are your teeth?” The old lady was surprised and upset to hear they weren’t in her mouth. The whole family searched the yard. The teeth were found — I know not where — and Granny demanded them back. The girl suggested they be washed first. Boy said, “Give’m to her dirty, she’s got enough disinfectant in her to kill any germs.”
Then somebody called, “Dinner,” and they all went in the house. The show is over for tonight — but, as Willie Nelson would sing, tomorrow starts the same old thing again.