Under the influence, I am a pronounced and skilled escapist. I’ll be the first to admit this. To most, unannounced departure is impolite, reckless, cowardly even. But to me, and perhaps a small, dashing, devil-may-care attituded minority it’s just plain fun.
Get an armoire full of beer in me, trash bag full of wine, a jewelery box filled with bourbon and I’ll open the doors of moving cars. I climb out bathroom windows, hide in closets and slip down fire escapes. I leave bars forgetting credit cards, flee parties, stumble through woody glens, shut myself up in master bedrooms, sprint over stretches of highway to tumble down snowy embankments, sometimes miles from anywhere. It’s a dangerous world, but im out their keeping it fresh for you.
Often times, my departure begins, innocently enough, with the search for food. It always ends in quick and treacherous escape. The procuring of salty meats for engulfment, hopefully with some kind of sauce alongside, may be a splendid idea at the onset, but the result seems to be toujours la meme: food causes me to want to leave, it weighs me down like two massive shackles made of Ambien. Get stinko and then come to in that big sudden sobering-dramatic-intake-of-breath-way, the ethers of black out clearing away, only to realize I’m jogging and have been for Kesslers-knows how long, in search of a bed or a hamburger or some sort of fragmented form of chicken breast.
Some people have a loving relationship with food. Not I my good sirs and madams. Food makes me mean. Even if I am not drunk, I get food coma like I imagine someone no nonsense like Clint Eastwood gets blowjobs: to the point and with very little ceremony. Sleepiness and a general post-gorge grumpy air are what accompany me in the dining room, and they leave one in no mood to continue a night or afternoon of drinking. Unless, that is, the pixie-dust like qualities of tequila are at hand.
Tequila is like Popeye’s spinach to me. It is also like Popeye’s giant pink readymade eraser, if he had one in school. I guess really Popeye probably didn’t go to school…If he did he was probably often in those speech therapy classes. Maybe that child of his is getting an education though, Swee’Pea, one can only hope. Is Olive Oyl the baby mama? I guess it’s pretty clear that this is implied. But wait is that baby adopted? It all seems very complicated. Actually I am really more like that character who is always eating hamburgers. Is he drunk? If he is drunk than that is exactly who I am, getting drunk, blitzing hamburgers. I’m Wimpy. Make a note to switch the analogy in your heads.
Anyway the point is that Tequila, although skyrocketing my energy level, also does away with the pesky remains of any intellect or humanity, which might have been floating around in the ol’ think tank before the agave’s assistance was needed. But in these turbulent times you’ve got to take the bad with the good, the bitter with the sweet, and the blacked out with the still conscious.
The following is a brief “how-to” in the way of my escapes. This is not in anyway a foolproof kit on spotting an escape artist, since I may only speak for myself. Furthermore, it should be noted that spinelessness usually rides in the backseat right alongside cunning, that way they can copulate when no one is looking. What I am saying is others may have even more dubious ways to commit the old 12-beer-flee. Be weary. Nonetheless, my admissions may aid you in understanding your loved ones if they, like me, are prone to boozy disappearance.
Step 1. Set yourself up.
As a disappearing act I will often times set up my departure earlier in the night, perhaps out of guilt or initial hesitation; like a murderer who alludes to his devilish plot with a quick note to friends about how best to stab someone. Like that book O.J. Simpson wrote, except he was lazy and oafish and wrote it years after.
I will usually say real obvious run of the mill things like “Well I wasn’t even planning on going out tonight,” or “I really should be getting some work done.” Last Friday night for example, when I was involved in a daring one-man escape, post beer-then-rum-then-wine-then-beer, I had uttered both of these phrases at different times. This is called foreshadowing. The best escapes come full circle, playing out like the plot of some pulpy mystery. Clues are laid in place: some will be red herrings, others will not.
Step 2. Drink!
This is the most fun step! Escaping is fueled by selfish inebriation, I am drunk and therefore not considerate of the slight inconvenience I may cause friends by abruptly exiting their night. If I am not drunk enough, escaping will not be an option because I will want to stay to drink more and have a good time etc…Escape is a drunk human’s game, so after you plant the seeds of doubt by announcing your previous plans to stay in and not drink, you then, rather counter intuitively, proceed to drink a lot. Complicated right? No one said escaping would be easy.
Step 3. Start to not have fun/Get bored/Get in weird faux creative state.
This is the most important stage, and the one where escapist intentions become the most evident. I start to hate wherever we are, whatever I am saying, whatever I am doing. I become bored easily when approaching the velocity of “truly hammered” and so the slightest shift in atmosphere or surroundings can make everything seem really stupid: an unkind word in jest, a change in wind direction, a mirror on the dance floor, boom I’m out.
Conversely, the other way that this can go is that I will meet this starry-eyed punch-drunk equilibrium and everything will become very profound and glowing. I call this “the beautiful agony of the world” mindset, and when it takes hold I smile a lot and am inclined to return chez-moi to better record my drunken musings and to wax cheaply poetic. My speech in this stage will take a clear and evident turn towards the abstract and probably rather hackneyed. Played out awful crap in the vein of
“the thrashing corpse of my nostalgic youth is splayed across the floor. Now I just fuck it with a bottle,”
will begin to be commonplace. These are definite alarms, wake up calls for anyone interested: an escape is fast approaching.
Step 4. Houdini.
The loose ends are tied up neatly, everything seems to be in order, I take a trip to the bathroom, the garage, the terrace, the alley and then poof! Houdini-out! The key to the handcuffs was at the bottom of the glass and where is old what’s-his-face? He’s nowhere to be found. I am somewhere though, and I am running. I am climbing into taxis, a stranger’s car. I am selfish and making poor decisions. I am pulling hard and greedy from the bottle, that barefoot man with the sad eyes and the wise mouth, he is pulling harder. I’ve left you all for him and we are together in this and we are getting into it now, we are getting into mischief.
By the time they think to count heads I’m slipping snugly into bed, hamburger in hand and a song in my heart; all that boredom and inspiration nullified by the grease and pepper, and bottle, and running and fatigue of this, this, this life. There is always more wine at the house. There are always more straws under the bed. There is always a book that can tell what I want to say, better than I could express it before, back there, at that other place.
It’s not what you are escaping to, or from, or anything. It’s just the thrill of the thing itself, that kid-with-a-plan self-centered jolt, like stealing except you’re stealing back. Just go and go and hit the ground, feverish, sprinting. The cars and streetlamps trailing behind like searchlights. Everyone can hear your shoes slap pavement in the distance like music. It’s just better this way.