Booze and me: an honest appraisal
Words and artwork by Darby Hudson.
Beer ads have always had 3 people in them. Wine ads 2 people in them. Tea ads always 1 person.
But where is the irresponsible ad for me?
Where is the guy sitting in the bushes alone at night under the moon, drinking beers, feeding foxes while writing poems by the train tracks?
Day to day, my senses are often turned up to 11/10. I guess it's why I'm a creative spirit, as perhaps I let in and notice more than most. When watching a movie, I’m more likely to pay attention to the extras; the way a tree sways; the way the shadow of a signpost kneels against a wall in silent prayer. Main characters? Who are they? What’s going on? What are we even watching? That’s why I love a film maker like David Lynch—he foregrounds vibe. I’m often in touch with the sleeping dream hiding inside waking life.
Anyway, I’ve learned to live like this. Sort of in reverse. I’ve slowly learned to embrace this backwards thinking, becoming more embracing of what I have sometimes felt to be a lifelong curse. Now I’m 43 and people can seem blind to me: they don’t notice much except for renovation shows, GOT, and pastel coloured life-style shots on Instagram.
An ex once called me the most dumb-smartest person she ever met. It goes both ways. Which is perhaps why I might get teary at simple beauty. It's sort of nuts. It can be lovely and overwhelming and exhausting, all at once. Sober, my senses are constantly overloaded; I can feel so out of tune with this world—it’s like constantly crossing a busy road while wearing headphones that play loud, pre-recorded, random traffic sounds. It can be fucking exhausting.
I gym everyday. I meditate often. But the magical promise of booze… Booze quickly reins in these overcharged senses back to a 2/10. And all of a sudden, I'm not looking into the anxiety-inducing, dizzying abyss of the future. Booze pulls the calendar months shadowing and prowling ahead right back to here and now. So, all of a sudden, I can find safety in the eternity of now: the never-endingness of a cloud; my cat's very slow blink.
But the hangover dials my senses up to 15. My olfactory goes superhuman: I can smell the waft of a stranger’s fart from across the other side of a winter's oval on a Sunday.
Yes, teetotalling conservatives will see the use (and overuse) of booze as a hedonistic act. But it is the opposite of this. For the sensitive, booze delivers the promise of zero anxiety with the flick of a switch on the top of a can. Yes, it’s a false economy, yet it’s one I’m willing to subvert my rational mindedness when need be.
If I were to win a million dollars, I'd be dead in 2 years… I need the safety of routine; The safety of mundanity—the nine-to-five. Who are these people who want martinis on a beach full time?
I'd be dead.
Perhaps we are already dead - and the
living we are doing right now is just
that final flashback where our entire
life flashes before our eyes?
Perhaps it explains why a moment ten
years ago, feels like yesterday?
Are we already ghosts?
Is it why stars are ghosts?
Darby has previously been published in wet concrete, old trees and thin air. His poetry anthology Falling Upwards will be launched by 5 Island press in August.