I-Land is where memories and experiences turn into short stories, personal journal entries and narration in first person, part memoir, part fiction, exploring topics such as the relation between humans and the societies they live in.

The Reason Why I Drink: Tuesday | 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)

Tuesday . . .

‘Enter the current, man, let yourself be taken, carried down the direction most traveled, and you will be redeemed. Everyone else is doing it, why not you? Are you too good for it? Who do you think you are, you snotty little bastard!’

It’s not easy going against the consensus effluviary. You get dirty looks for your blasphemy, not to mention frowns, sneers, fingers pointed at you with pity or disgust. Poor little you, how deceived you are, how far you have strayed from the course, lost in a sea of excess and drifting out in the deep, gasping, drowning, kicking like a sinking mule. Unable to stay afloat and find your way back to the shore, back into the beautiful streams of life. Unable to enter the pockets of peace and quiet that adorn it, settle on a nice embankment and make a proper life for yourself.

Come on, they say, join the rest, why don’t you? Make up like everyone else. Make do, plans, headway. Put the driftwood around you to good use. Erect a little shelter and burrow under it, make yourself part of the community, belong, we’ve all done it. Go on, turn in when everyone else does, wake up when they wake up, speak and think the same, incorporate yourself, surrender yourself and all will be alright. Belonging is the new salvation.

Only it isn’t. It’s an option, not the option. There are other ways to make do, plans, headway, a thousand paths that lead to a worthwhile future.

But they wouldn’t know it. So pervasive is the myth of settling down and falling in line that everything that falls outside its scope is considered deviant. A pariah life, they call it. They don’t say it. They think it. They whisper it in the dark when they think no one’s listening.

As it stands, the effluvium of normal life is a pervading system so full of itself, so self-fulfilling and self-congratulatory, it trumps religion in both sanctimoniousness and projection. Like Star Trek‘s Borg, it scours the universe looking for targets. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated. If you don’t fall in line, you will be destroyed, then assimilated, end of story. Your case study will be used to advance the already sanctioned narratives because nothing can exist outside them. Pariahs will be labeled and remembered as such. The consensus demands it.

That’s how the current works.

My name is Xavier Wayson and I am a man of many faces and aspirations. I haven’t given myself over to the effluviary’s currents. I have decided to meander through them, living out my life peacefully, minding my own business. When they try to suck me in, take me places against my will, I point out their flow, turn up my nose at them and drop a drink down the hatch to neutralize their musk.

And that spells trouble. The outcry is automatic, the pressure relentless and organized. Strength in numbers against free agents comes into play, in waves, one after the other, taking over, pressing, pushing and pulling in given directions, eating away the resistance, little by little. One by one, down the free agents go, leveled by the waves and carried away, down the mainstream. The regents of society comb the currents tirelessly, making sure everything is in order, and the effluviaries swell like the backwaters and spilloffs of mighty rivers — idyllic tributaries and ponds where people make settlement after settlement in the name of a life more ordinary.

Sad way for intelligent life to turn out. With no space for something other than lukewarm still waters, there’s no variety, no real variance. No game other than what the consensus permits. People become indoctrinated by their closed geography, caught in fixed states of mind all their lives.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, again, you’re part of the problem. With no space in your routines for those who speak of different terrains, new worlds and alien spaces i.e. people who think and act different to you, who represent motley ways of life and various types of thinking, you’re no better than the fundamentalists who cut people’s heads off to make their point. The only difference between you and the fundamentalists is that you’re smarter than them, and more sophisticated. You don’t use knives and bombs to get your way. You use words, nods, smiles, jokes, smart inflexion and innuendo. You tear people apart with subtle comments and omitted words. Your strength in numbers is your weapon, which you use expertly, all banded up and doing the same thing, bound to the same tasks, the same limitations, absorbing everyone around you in your flow like a massive river eating away at whatever stands in its way, carrying everything off to your tributary back pockets where everything settles down.

So I drink. I drink to neutralize your settling, corrosive effect. Spirits make me immune to your incessant subterfuge.

Well worth the hangovers.

Watch this space for Wednesday . . .