Thursday, February 5, 2009

the solitaire years

It started innocuously enough with a simple free cell now and then. Nothing too extreme or obsessive but I must admit, I did like it when I would win. During this time I started dating an accountant. We went out for dinner, saw live music, enjoyed the occasional theatre. He showed me how to do my books. It was quite civilized from where we were coming from. Perhaps not profound and fulfilling, but we weren’t looking for that. We were looking for just normal, regular. Continuity. We had, after all, singularly traveled the palpable, uncharted water of drugs and booze and rock and roll. We had done the rehab. We had done the numerous failures. The abandonments. This was our respite.

Vice is a fluxating undulating snake of a good time or at least in the beginning. In the beginning it is always nice.

I would set the alarm an hour early just so I could get some. I never dared do it at work. When I would get back home in the afternoon the first thing I would do was turn on my computer and hit the solitaire icon. I had 660 games but I only played the one. Rouge et Noir; it was the best. I was manic. Fixated. I wanted to win. I believed that it was only a matter of time. I was a good player but this game was difficult; my wins never pushed past the 44%. If he won more than me I would become upset, start thinking that I was a loser, a mediocre human.

It was almost as bad as when I got stuck on the murder mystery books. I wouldn’t leave the house except to meet my therapist. Scrouched on her sofa she would ask me, how are you feeling today. And, biting the skin around my nails I would tell her. Doc, I’m a mess. I can’t take it anymore. I can barely leave the house. I can’t put the books down. At night I say to myself just one more page, one more page and I keep reading and reading and reading until the morning light. Exhausted I trudge through my day, irate at having to deal with people, strangers, the telephone. I just want to stay home and read. The worst is when I finish the book; I become upset, start thinking that I am a loser, a mediocre human.

My dealer, who wasn’t much of a dealer so much as he was a user, lived upstairs. He once told me- whatever gets you through the day. Well. I didn’t want to live like that- to get through the day.

Heroin and solitaire were dispassionate unplanned book-ends. Interspersed were journeys to other exotic lands. In fact, the geographic solution has always been one of my favourite stand by’s. Setting up house really did feel like I was starting new, that I would make things different this time, that I would be stronger, braver, more honest, harder working.

Vice in its chosen form is often a symbolic representation of one’s desire or there lack of. Habit has a seductive ravenous consumption of time. And settling, like vice, takes many forms.

It’s okay. It’s just a game. That’s what I told myself.

Be wary of the mundane as of the terrifying.

No comments:

Post a Comment