The reason I’m thinking about it is because I had the WORST nightmare last night: In the dream, I’m sitting in this chair having a complete nervous breakdown. I’m sobbing and crying and wailing. People are walking around me, but nobody tries to console me. Either they don’t care, or they don’t know what to do to help me. And I can’t stop shaking. It’s like I’m having uncontrollable convulsions or something. But the worst part is: I can’t find the words to describe or explain what’s wrong with me. Finally they come to me. Three words. Which I shout out amidst my sobs: “THERE’S . . . NO . . . ESCAPE!!!”
I wake up feeling stunned. And drained. Not just because of the nightmare. But because the dream exactly mirrored my waking state. And the sad, sad state of my world. It’s that feeling you get when you feel that everything in your life — everything — has gone wrong, wrong, wrong. Even my cats weren’t around to console me. Usually, every morning when I wake up, they’re sitting there waiting for me. But on this morning, even they had deserted me. Adding to my feelings of rejection and total loserdom. I figured I had probably scared them off when I was making weird noises while I was having that nightmare. The scaredy cats.
I took this as a sign from God that I needed to make some serious changes in my life. Needed to seriously clean up my act. To be in such a state of despair and agony was a sign that I must be doing something terribly wrong. And certainly all the drinking I was doing wasn’t helping my situation.
Then Rachel pointed out: “The cats were probably freaked out by the quake.”
“That’s right!” I thought. And it all came back to me. I remember feeling the ground trembling while I was lying in my sleeping bag last night. At the time I wasn’t sure if it was an earthquake or the malt liquor. And in the morning, it was one of the many late-night events that had been erased from my memory by all the malt liquor. But now it came back. It turned out there had been a 6.0 earthquake in nearby Napa Valley. And somehow, that explained everything. Why I had been dreaming of shaking. And why my cats had seemingly “deserted” me. It wasn’t because of me. It was because of the earthquake. This act of God.
I took this as a sign from God that I should continue on as an alcoholic for the time being. I went to a bar and ordered a pint of beer. And after the third beer I started feeling a little better.
I sat there at the bar. Awaiting further signs.