I’m what you might call a “measured” alcoholic. By that I mean, I generally drink in a fairly measured fashion. I like to drink the same kind of alcohol (Olde English or Racer 5), with the same alcohol content (about 7.5%), and the same amount (about 80 ounces to 100 ounces) at the same time (from about 7 PM to midnight), just about every night.
That way, I can usually keep track of where my head is at, simply by keeping track of what time it is, and how many ounces of alcohol I’ve consumed up to that point. After all these years, I’m well familiar with the terrain, that gradual transition from point A (sobriety) to point Z (extreme drunkeness). So, unlike many alcoholics, I’m usually able to navigate my way through the process without getting myself into any undue problems.
The only time I get in trouble is when I start going beyond my 100 ounce limit. When I get up to 120 or 130 ounces. Or beyond. And every now and then — maybe once every couple of years or so — I’ll lose track of what I’m doing and get completely whacked out.
Like this one night. It was around 2 in the morning. And I was so fucked up I actually got lost on the way up to my campsite. Which is a pretty ridiculous thing to do, considering I’ve been walking the same route to my campsite every night for years now. But I wasn’t paying attention as I walked. Lost in the ozone of my drunken mental reverie. Thinking about this and that. And I made one wrong turn. And walked for quite some time, before I finally looked up and realized I didn’t know where the hell I was. Or how I had gotten there.
Now the problem — when you’re in this particular head-space — is that you have four choices: You can go north, south, east or west. But the problem is: Only one of these choices is the correct choice that will lead you in the direction of your home. So you have a 25% chance of making the right choice. Which, as you can tell, are not particular winning odds in your favor. So I spent a LONG time basically walking around in circles, getting more and more lost, as well as farther and farther off course. At one point I must have walked at least 5 miles out of my way. I had no idea where I was. And even when I would occasionally venture into vaguely familiar territory — buildings and streets that I sort of recognized — my whirling brain still couldn’t put them in the correct context of where I was. I was all fucked up. Staggering around like an idiot. At one point I even ended up in Oakland. I wasn’t even in the right town. Ha ha.
It’s weird, though. As spaced out as I was, to this day I still have these vivid memories, these disjointed flashbacks, from that night. At one point I remember desperately trying to find a street sign so I could figure out where the hell I was. But I kept walking block after block after block and I couldn’t find a single street sign. Finally, I spotted one. Piedmont Avenue. Which sounded vaguely familiar. Now if I could just find a cross-street, I could figure out some kind of context of where I was. But when I finally found the street sign for the cross-street I was stunned to find that it also says Piedmont!! I’m staring at the two signs in complete disbelief. How could the cross-streets be Piedmont AND Piedmont?? And I’m starting to wonder if I’m hallucinating or if I’ve completely lost my mind. Or if I’ve slipped into some kind of Alice in Wonderland world where nothing makes any logical sense. Or maybe the whole Universe happened to be conspiring against me for some cosmic reason. I was mulling over many possible theories at the time to explain my utter state of confusion. . . (The funny thing is, the next morning — when I finally sobered up — I looked it up on a map to try and figure out where I’d been, and there really was such a cross street. One was Piedmont Avenue and the other was Piedmont Court — this little dead-end alley off the main street.)
At any rate, after many many hours of walking around in circles, I did somehow manage to prevail and find my way back to my goddamn campsite. More by dumb luck and the law of averages, than by any other reason. When I woke up the next morning, I was also surprised to find out that I had my shoes on, but wasn’t wearing any socks. I had a vague memory of falling down this hill at one point during the night. And, evidently, the impact of the fall, as I somersaulted down the hill, caused my shoes and socks to come off. Apparently I had been able to find my shoes, but I didn’t bother looking for my socks. . . Ha ha. One of those nights. I guess my drinking wasn’t particularly “measured” on that night. If anything I probably should have been measured for a straight jacket.