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Still Human

So much for being the heart and hands of Jesus (see previous post). You’ve all heard tales of the drunk neighbor I take shopping. Well, since she moved last January, technically she is only my neighbor in the biblical sense, but I have still been taking her shopping once each week on Saturdays.

Usually, I try to pick her up immediately after Sidewalk, so she hasn’t had a chance to drink much. Today she had an appointment with the dog groomer — who comes to her — so I couldn’t pick her up until 1:30. She stepped into my car smelling so strongly of alcohol that my eyes burned and I had to open my windows. Then she started to rant.

Her dog groomer won’t be coming to groom her dogs anymore. It is just too expensive for her to maintain the dog van now that she has her own store — on the other side of town — and J is the only dog owner she still travels to see. J was going on about how inconsiderate and ungrateful the woman is (despite the fact that she has been traveling for only J since last October). After all, J. has been her faithful customer for the last 5 years, and it doesn’t seem like such a big thing to drive across town for a couple of hours every three weeks …..

I point out that the van is an expensive piece of equipment, and the insurance, gas, maintenance, etc. is probably more then what she makes from J’s business. J said, “That’s besides the point.” I asked, “What is the point?” J says, “She should keep coming as long as I need her!” Then she starts crying — great drunken wails — and goes on about how she is the only dog groomer her dogs have ever known, and how they were crying and begging the woman to keep coming back …

That’s where I abandoned Jesus. I snapped, “Oh, please! Like the dogs know she won’t be back!” J flipped. She screamed at me that they did know. That they were hysterical (yes, if she was hysterical, they likely were). And that poor little Buddy was sobbing and pleading.

At that point I flipped into the right turn lane. There was no way I was going shopping with this woman. As I started to turn the corner she screamed, “That’s it. You’re going to take me back home aren’t you? Well that’s just fine with me. I’ve had it with you! Let me out here, I’ll walk.” I said, “I’m not going to let you walk.” Then I stupidly stated the obvious, “You’re drunk. ”

She started screaming about how she was not drunk and how she hadn’t even had a drink yet. I snapped, “Right. You reek of Jack Daniels.” Then she really flipped. “I don’t drink Jack Daniels! I have never had a drink of Jack Daniels in my life!”

I said, despite the little voice in the back of my head now insisting that I shut up, “Well, whatever the hell it is you buy a fifth of every week — it stinks!” Then she screamed at me that it’s Jim Beam, and I am a fucking idiot of I can’t tell the difference between Jim Beam and Jack Daniels. That’s when I pulled the car over to the curb and suggested she go ahead and walk the last half block.

As she stepped from the car she said that she was finished doing me favors and I wasn’t to call her the next time I wanted somebody to go grocery shopping with. Oh gee. It’ll be hard, but I’m sure I’ll struggle by.

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. Polona — I pretty much didn’t find any of it amusing. I came home trembling and sick to my stomach. I don’t deal well with drunks. Too much residual from another time in my life.

  2. Your ex-neighbours thinking (I…I…I…need help and you must give it. Me…Me…Me…you don’t appreciate me helping you.) has probably pushed everyone away from her. Imagine being related to her. Since she is so self-centered, don’t be surprised if she sees her mistake and calls you again, saying nothing of the upsetting event. This will be an attempt to manipulate you. You’ve been down that road and you’ve done your share on that project. Don’t feel bad at all. If you continue to think of this unhappy situation, say a prayer for the woman and move on. You may find someone else that needs your help even more……………Judy

  3. ……..P.S…….

    Hey, there’s humour here. The neighbour does have a knack (Sp.?) for understated punch lines……………Judy

  4. P.S……….Hey, there’s humour here. The old neighbour sure has a knack for understated punch lines…………….Judy

  5. Judy — she hasn’t spoken to her son in 15 years. She says she doesn’t know why he never calls. I once asked her why she didn’t call him. She responded, “He’ll just accuse me of being drunk.” Hmmm, imagine that.

    You were very intent on making your last point, weren’t you? A lot of my lack of appreciation for the comedy of this tradgety is the 14 years I spent married to an alcoholic — which is also why I sucked so easily into that damn arguement.

    You see, I came home and I had to ask myself: if drunks are idiots, what are the people who argue with drunks?

  6. Should I be laughing? I shouldn’t. I know that. What kind of person am I? Is this some sort of set-up, Quills? Trying to see if you can get me to fall before the feet of Jesus? Huh? Well, I have fallen—-AND I CAN’T GET UP CUZ I’M LAUGHING SO HARD!!!!!!

    Poor dear. Pathetic. But I just can’t help it. Why don’t you just go buy her a pint of Jim Beam and leave it anonymously on her doorstep. With a note. That reads: “Thanks to folks like yourself, our stock was up two and an eight yesterday. Here. It’s on us—-James Beam and Family.”

    You didn’t abandon Jesus, Quilly. You gave him a ride. And didn’t take any of his bullshit. That’s what Jesus needs sometimes, when he shows up like that.

  7. Gawposhe wasn’t supposed to be Jesus, I was. She is elderly. She doesn’t have a car. Nobody cares about her — no surprise there — and I have been trying for over a year to show her kindness (heart and hands of Jesus). I should have known I wasn’t up to befriending a drunk. Too much baggage of my own.

  8. Eeeeyaaa. That’s a bad morning. Sorry for that.

    She’s right, though. Jack Daniels and Jim Beam are very different.

  9. You might feel a bit guilty, but don’t, the neighbour won’t remember any of it anyway, and you’ve entertained me immensely. If I can stop laughing for long enough, I’m just going to have a quick JD and coke.

  10. Quilly…. I’ve gotta think you’ve paid your price on this one! Perhaps she needs you to back out of her life in order to realize she needs help from someone … in a different area! Perhaps your “help” has been more along the “enabling” lines… so this might all be a GOOD thing! And God has a way of making something good out of most bad situations anyway… even if WE don’t see it! It will be okay. ((((Hugs))))

  11. Quilly,

    Hang in there. I have never known you to be one to snap so I think this may have been God’s way of telling you that it was time to stop holding her hand and make her face situations on her own and rely on God and not neighbors.

  12. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, NO! SHE is Jesus. Unfortunately, when the soldier pierces HER side with the lance, out will run blood and whiskey.

    I just left Bwookie a Happy Birthday song on her voice mail. Very sultry, I might add. Marilyn Manson Monroe?

  13. And yeah, what Angela Rush said. I say that too. Sometimes what Jesus needs is a swift kick in the ass.

    “When I was thirsty, you gave me to drink. When I was lonely, you visited me. When I was a drunk, you told me to get out of your car and walk the fuck home.”

  14. You do lead an interesting life, although I’m sure there are some days, like the one just recounted, which you wish were a little less so.

  15. Angela — it’s been a long time coming. This is a pattern with her. I guess I lasted loinger then most, but then I tend to put up with stuff a lot longer then I should.

    Gawpo — ::shakes head::

    Mike — yeah.

  16. A) I’m pretty glad you’re still human. I wouldn’t feel right about having the son of God reading some of the stuff I write. 😉
    B) Jesus could throw down when he needed to. Remember the money changers at the temple?
    C) Christian means “Christ like”. As in similar, but not exact. There’s nothing wrong with trying to be perfect as long as you can accept the fact that it will never happen.
    D) Narcissism and Jim Beam are bad by themselves. They’re really rotten when combined.

  17. To cheer you up: It’s easier to get a drunk out of your car than your kitchen.

    Yeah, sorry. This isn’t really my thing.

    But I hope you feel better in the morning. Honest, I do.

  18. Alcoholism really isn’t funny, so much wasted life. But Quilly, you had to say what you did. I’m sorry it had to be you, when all your neighbors could probably see it. Maybe that was what she needed to go get help tomorrow.

  19. Jackie — I didn’t say I was Jesus. i know failure in that is inevitable, but I failed a little more spectacularly then i would have anticipated.

    a.) like he doesn’t see it anyway?
    b.) I thought of that, but thanks for caring enough to remind me
    c.) see my comment to Jackie
    d.) big time, you got that right!

    Doug — you really are a nice guy. You should be careful or word will get out and your reputation will be shot.

    Kat — I am not holding out hope of making a difference, but I do try to remind myself that God can use all things for good.

  20. I think you need to remind yourself that you aren’t a martyr, Quilly. Nobody deserves to be treated with the total lack of respect that she has shown you. It doesn’t matter how much she needs saving: if she doesn’t WANT saving, then all your efforts are wasted.

  21. Mumma — that’s probably the best point anyone has made yet. See my answer to Angela. I always hang on long after I should have let go and walked away.

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