17 December 2011

It's 1 A.M.; Do You Know Where Your Mental Faculties Are?

Have I talked about this before? I'm going to talk about it again, because it never fails to shock me just how obliterated, sloppy, raving drunk people can be by 1 am. Falling over, babbling incoherently, droopy-faced drunk. I was on my way home on the L, minding my own biznaz, standing by the door, playing sudoku on my iPhone, when this man, who appeared to be alone, and also appeared to be not a hobo, but a youngish regular guy, started harassing a woman as she was getting ready to get off at the next stop. I watched it all unfold out of the corner of my eye, thankful that I wasn't listening to my iPod so that I could enjoy this live entertainment instead. The lady, also youngish and regularish, had been sitting beside him but had gotten up in anticipation of disembarking at the next stop. When she got up and stood in front of the door, which happened to be where I was leaning, he started calling her, sort of half heartedly, well, I guess more just weakly from drunkenness, a mess. "You're a mess," he babble-whispered, fish-out-of-water flapping his hand in her (our) direction. (She wasn't a mess at all, of course - he was.) "Look at you. God, what a mess. Get outta here." And she did, with nary a glance in his direction.

I make light of it in telling the tale but really, in the moment, it makes me feel what I imagine to be something like motherly concern. Is he going to make it home tonight, alive? Will he stumble in front of an oncoming garbage truck or subway car? Will he choke on his own vomit (RIP Mama Cass)? Will he lose his keys in the gutter and pass out in the street and freeze to death? I guess that level of obliteration is par for the course, for some people, but how they manage to make it to the next morning, body intact, is beyond the capacity of my mental faculties.

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