Suicide no. 50: Night Life
–by Derek Alan Wilkinson
Never mind the humdrum of traffic, for the bar offers up lager and drunken damsels caught in the distress of boredom at a far more useful, late hour.
I used to awaken, like a vampire, to the death rattle of daylight and all of its nonchalance, gripped by the fading sunset over the endless and calm depths of the Pacific. While the hue of the amber sun was being swallowed whole by the great abyss, I drank my evening cafe mocha amid the crashing waves and planned my evening revelry. I’d start with dinner for breakfast, long having forgotten my childhood of bacon and eggs in the morning—having designated that particular dish for a six a.m. run to I.H.O.P. in (usually) a drunken daze. This ritual usually consisted of beer and wings, followed up by a few rounds of pool.
Then, the opening band would play. And that was the end of my “morning,” giving way into the debauchery of my post-midnight “afternoon.”
I found myself, a few years prior, bored in the suburbs of Portland, which is when I moved to southern California—where the other bar denizens weren’t only out on the weekends, and weren’t usually the nine-to-five type, just getting off of work. I’d made my social life one that involved kitchen cooks, artists whose income was made up almost solely of odd jobs, and the occasional trust fund hippie with little to no responsibilities, living off of borrowed—sometimes misallocated—funds of relatives and/or lovers.
Which, is to say, people who often had parents with money. Like mine.
I’d never really understood why Dad felt the need to push me into a useful profession, seeing as how he hated his. He’d worked his way up from contractor to real estate agent to landlord and business owner, and made his eighty-hour-work-week count toward paying for the luxuries my sister and I enjoyed since before we were even teenagers. He never realized that I’d be better off without the endless bank account, working part time, and sleeping on the floors in the homes of people who liked to have parties or in the back seats of cars with little to no blue book value.
The man I’d grown up to adore for his ambition was ultimately the one who scared me away from having any of my own.
It was only in recent years that I’d found myself in a bit of a bind. When Dad finally did decide to cut me off until “I could get myself straightened out,” it happened so during a stage where I was not only at the end of a long deluge of bad relationships, but saw my closest friends drifting away into the boredom that is marriage with children and a mortgage.
Now, I see myself lingering on hangovers that progressively get worse, and a diminishing social life that slowly lost more and more meaning even before everyone ran away to suburbia. Here recently, when I began to take on a job as a bartender in a local restaurant, and work my way up to staff manager, I’d found my night life slowly edging its way into broad daylight—with my alarm clock ringing me into the oblivion of midday earlier and earlier.
As such, the fun has stopped, and I with it.
So, here I find myself having gravitated toward that which I feared and loathed most—being drug along by the coattails to fulfill social mandates pressed upon me, indirectly, by merely the ebb and flow of society.
And so, when the sun sets this evening, I will swim toward it—drowing in that awful current.