I had assumed that the next morning’s sobriety would have broken the spell, but it seemed only to reinforce it. I woke up and found that ‘X’ was off doing something or the other, so I groggily realized that I need to take the dog for a walk. I had up to this point actually liked the dog, which was a puppy… poodle kind of thing. But this morning I woke up feeling a resentment that I had to walk the fluffy little creature. It somehow occurred to me that were it not for this obligation to take care of this creature I could literally be anywhere else in the world doing anything.
So it was with some resentment that I took the guy out for a stroll about the Alexandria townhouses, in one of those american neighborhoods where if you walk about in the middle of the day you are likely not to encounter a single soul, as they completely vacate for the working day and there isn’t a single thing of interests for miles. At some point I wanted to go left and the creature wanted to make a right. I had been previously instructed that the dog was still in the process of being trained and should it tug on the leash I was under not circumstances to give into the dog’s fancy, but to stand resolute until he wore himself out fighting against what is clearly an immovable object. What I hadn’t been warned about was that I would be doing this under the burning mid-summer Washington DC sun. If someone had told me that this was little more than a slow and inefficient way of roasting a young puppy, I may have believed them. But stupidity and compliance meant that I stood there like a street sign waiting for this dog to tucker itself out for what seemed to be (to a mind maybe still reeling from too much pot) a sentence of divine condemnation. Whatàs worse, I was fairly sure that I was working on a pretty bad case of sun stroke myself. I eventually got home, but I have little recollection of by what matter I got the damn animal to comply.
Getting home, I found myself a strange mix of annoyed and exhausted, and using the justification of ‘hey, I’m still on vacation’ I tried to remedy the problem with further marijuana. This clearly did not help. It began to enact something that would occur for the rest of my recreational-pot-smoking life, which only lasted another two years. I was beset by the same plaguing thoughts and emotions I had suffered through previously and that foolishly I hadn’t yet associated with the drug. I was starting to feel alienated by the country I was living in, alienated by the city, I had next to no idea what I was doing with my life. A cuddled up into a ball and waited until what I later learned was a panic attack passed.
The general discontent bled into my life even while I was sober, though I don’t recall too much sobriety in that period. What I do fairly vividly recall is that I could find little to no contentment in all I was doing. I would try and go to coffee shops and hang out (mostly trying to get some writing done) and I was beset by the anxious notions that I was wasting my time. I would try to look for a job and realize that I was unqualified to do anything more sophisticated than convert oxygen into carbon dioxide. I didn’t want to be in my adopted home, as it was beginning to remind me of a life that was largely unattainable should I have remained in the US, and even were it attainable I wouldn’t want it because I largely found it boring and secluded.
And of course there was my friend X. With all friends there is a minimum and maximum distance at which you should keep them. Too far and they can sometime cease to be friends. To close, and you may find yourself with no desire to continue being friends. I had met X when I was living in Rome Italy, and while certain aspects of my personality (specifically those parts that clashed with the local Roman culture), managed to bring us together while we were there, we did have our differences. This of course should not diminish our commonalities (including our mutual physical repulishion with which I opened up this piece) which were then and still are numerous. But largely due to my general annoyance with life itself at the time, I found myself easily irritated by a person who I considered a friend.
And then came the kick to the whole adventure. So after the failed Fourth of July party mentioned in the preamble to this ramble, X was itching to give it another go. Proper little socialite that she was, X prided herself on throwing house parties, and to this day it actually feels like a part of the glue that holds our friendship. She wasn’t going to let a party with merely four guests occur under her watch. So dutifully she started planning anew for the next big event, and this time she wanted to make it really ruckusing. She had large designs, and despite a kind of indifference I found myself in the middle of her plans. Specifically, she was talked into a crayfish boil by a friend of hers who had pulled one of these off before.
(I am dedicated to keeping these posts under 1000 words, so I am going to cut this short. But God as my witness I will finish this damn thing soon.)