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The Reason Why I Drink: Sunday | An I-Land Special

The Reason Why I Drink: A Confession In Seven Parts by Xavier Wayson, One For Every Day Of The Week (Spring 2015 edition)


Sunday . . .

Why do I drink? Certainly not to attain true potential. I know better than that. Life can’t be redeemed via the bottle. No, I drink to fill in the void, to make the periods between writing more bearable. I drink to make the long days shorter, the short nights longer, and the shame of living a wonderful life in a less-than-wonderful manner more palatable.

I see what’s going on. We are extraordinary creatures engaged in menial tasks, coming together to create a system that is subpar to what it could have been, inventing its way ahead while somehow looping in on itself, eating its own tail. Creating technology that adds to our problems more than it takes away from them. Creating economies that are unsustainable, unmanageable, chomping away at the natural — and, dare we mention, finite! — resources of this planet. I see what’s happening, how we do all this and feel good about ourselves, call it civilization, or God’s work, and pat ourselves on the back, so I drink to take some of the edge off. I drink to distract myself from our toxic world.

I drink to make the presence of half-hearted connections, background noise and hellacious distractions more manageable.

I drink to make the process of getting lost down other people’s dead ends less frustrating and more challenging.

I drink to make the endeavor of drifting through dreadfully thin or insufferably thick consciousness less drudging and more tolerable, perhaps even rewarding, in its own way. Should that not be possible, I make sure to black everything out.

In other words, I drink to alter my senses. To glide through the boring conversations and slip through the fog. To endure the everyday droll, the holiday ruckus, the relentless din of the working week, the nauseating fanfare of the holidays. To withstand the ever-present effluvium of human nature. The pretensions and fake smiles. The false sense of pride exhibited by those who march down the roads most traveled, pretending to be taking the high road, the straight and narrow way to a better tomorrow. Their sophisticated and subtle witch-hunts and scapegoating of whoever doesn’t fall in line, their bloodless but vicious bloodbaths. Their silent pyres and inquisitions. The playacting that nothing of the sort is happening. Their deeply placating style when it’s time to pretend it’s all done for the good of something or someone, reinforcing the shared delusion, and constant lies they tell each other to keep things rolling. Noble words, all fanfare and no substance, promises and assurances as hollow as they are calculated. I drink to get through all that, so that I may make it through the process of having to traverse a wasted and waste-laid heaven, day in, day out. Wherever I look, there it is, staring back at me. A tragedy that refuses to heal. We are laying everything to waste in plain sight, all the while pretending we are not. It makes my flesh crawl with seething dread. It kills me.

So I drink. I socialize. I mingle and talk, nod, smile, ask questions and pretend I’m interested in people who pretend to be interested in me, laugh on occasion, maybe even chase things up like a good communitarian, then turn around, shake off the flaky ho-humming, puke, sweat the shit out of myself, release the physical tension with a binge of exercise, and return to my writing, for which I need no external aid whatsoever.

Once in a while I run into friends or family (is there a difference?), or maybe even strangers, people I’ve just met, who are well and truly into the moment, fully turned on, and we have a blast. These are the moments I live for, the highs I’m after. Bliss on earth. One of the meanings of life.

If a session or gathering needs to be planned well ahead of time, as most things do in today’s world, they need some kind of fuel to get going. The booze gives them that kick, lighting them up like firewater, although, if all goes really, really well and the timing is right, if everyone is in the right frame of mind and the right words are spoken, there’s no need for external aid of any kind. People’s good spirits suffice.

I live for these moments. They’re the only thing that compares to writing.

Unlike writing, they’re out of my control, subject to chance and circumstance, to the moods and availabilities of other people, to a thousand extra parts coming together at the right time in the right place for the right reasons and occasions, so they’re seldom attained, these perfect times.

So I write to fill in the void. I assume total control of the flow of information, the action, the setup, the developments around me, releasing the sharks inside my bloodstream. I let it rip, composed and present, drinking only after I’m done, to pass the time during my intermission, during my search for life’s ultimate highs.

But that’s just me.

On why other writers drink, ask them.

My name is Xavier Wayson and I am a fiend. I always get my fix, come hell or high water.

Well worth the turmoil.

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