Friday, February 11, 2005

Aides to the Ex President 4: A Single Beer

Shortly after 2am, Jim turned on the television. The Egg had begun to pall, and we didn’t have much to amuse ourselves with, so we settled in to watch a Woody Allen flick.

The film is called “Sleeper,” and it’s hysterical. Now, many people don’t like Mr. Allen, and don’t think he’s funny. I’m certainly not a part of the cult, but still, I could see why the cult exists.

Liz, incidentally, found him distasteful because he always wrote himself in as getting the girl, which plainly a man of his looks and characteristics could never really do. She also felt he was something of a misogynist, I think, although I never really got too far in that with her.

Anyway, it’s a sort of “Brave New World” spoof where Woody (or his character) awakens in the 24th Century (or some other time far in the future) to find that health food has been determined bad for you, and that basically the whole planet has no problems at all. Given his reaction, I guess the point of the film is that some people aren’t happy unless there’s some aspect of their lives which sucks.

The next film, which Jim never saw, was “Some Like it Hot.”

I liked that one too, and with my acid-influenced perceptions thought all the cross dressing stuff was absolutely subversive. It put me in mind of the old bastard who taught my typing class in high school, who opined weekly about the creeping into the mainstream of homosexuality. “First,” he’d say, “it was just down there in one corner. Now, it’s everywhere you look!” And given that this was small town Oklahoma (small enough that we didn’t have a stoplight), we were all a little confused about what programs he was watching. Mr. Morris is now a personality archetype for one of the most entertaining folks out there, the Apocalypse Nut. And while I’ll admit that California has a lot of these types, Oklahoma has some real gems (a couple of years later, I met a set of twins whose father pulled them out of school once or twice a year for the Rapture, I suppose to make sure they didn’t miss the bus or something).

Sometime around dawn, I went outside to watch the sun come up.

I used to hate seeing the sun come up, because that generally meant I was a) already up preparing to do some sort of horrible country chore, or b) already up and in some duck blind, cold and wet. It wasn’t until my first semester of college that I realized you could wring a lot more satisfaction from a sunrise by actually staying up all night the night before. Even without acid, the right crew on an all nighter can be worthwhile.

But all the heavy thinking from this specific night (I won’t go into it, except that a lot of it had to do with the tatters my relationship with Alethea was in), I was content to see the dawn. Once the sky begins to brighten to the east, I have several feelings:

1) I’ve survived this drug yet again.
2) Sunrises denote a new day, a chance to act on all the things discussed the night before (or at least, examine them under different light, mentally speaking).
3) A general feeling of superiority to folks that have actually been to bed. Many of them are getting up to go to work, or otherwise prepare for a day of stricture and stifling conformity. I was free, in other words, and had all day to play.

I also felt completely drained and enervated. Nothing to eat all night, body burning fuel like nobody’s business (LSD causes tightening of the muscles all over the body, but worst in the neck and back, in my experience), and nothing to do but grit my teeth for the last 3 or 4 hours. I was at, I felt, a zero point.

And it was precisely at that point that the guys in the next room came up the stairs again. They could tell I was on acid, I think, and I had the impression they were wondering if I’d spent the entire night outside, jumping off the second floor railing. They entered their room, and one of them returned and said “dude, you want a beer?”

It was one of those unconscious acts of kindness that words can’t describe. One of those casual, quickly forgotten, almost automatic gestures which garner one more good karma than you can burn in a lifetime. Of course I wanted a beer, but through the long night of spiritual discovery, cross dressing jazz musicians, and wobbling, amorphous black eggs, I’d forgotten that such a thing as beer existed.

Not only was it beer, but the can, as he handed it to me, was cold and beaded with icewater. No measly refrigerator for THIS—it was plainly From A Cooler, which means this beer had Been Places. As if the extra work done to keep its temperature low could be extracted from the can and used to fuel my body, since we were only halfway through this trip.

I don’t recall speaking any more with the guys next door—they were in the process of checking out, I think, and I didn’t bother them. I greedily cracked open the can, and took a sip. The taste was pure bliss, of course, but as I sat there, cross legged in the warm Dallas sunshine, I could actually feel the energy being pulled out of the malted barley and transferred to my hungry cells. I drank it all, savoring each mouthful, and once the can was empty, went inside to wake Jim.


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