I am having an existential crisis. I hope that using the word “existential” makes me sound intellectual. I’ve been led to believe it will. I endured a performance of Waiting for Godot in a theatre that seemed to have No Exit. I also hope that using the British spelling of “theatre” contributes toward the impression of intellectualism. In any case, If one’s life is a book, I am a paperback. I morphed from a hardback about a year ago; having fought gravity longer than actuaries say I should have. Gravity has always been lurking in the background like the grim reaper and I can almost hear Mr. G. taunting me, “you can run but you can’t hide.”
A book can’t be judged by its cover; whether it is hard- or paperback. To the outside world I appear to have every reason to be grateful, optimistic and joyful. I have a wonderful husband, two great kids, and relative financial stability. I have a roof over my head. People like me – they really, really like me! And, I have my health. At least physically.
Psychologically, not so much. My demons have procreated and started a village inside my psyche. I guess they believed La Clinton when she informed us it takes one. Actually, I think I have a metropolis of demons in my head. Even if Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe had a love child, their progeny could not create the caliber of demons that I battle daily.
My brain is a scary place and should come with a warning; “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here”. From time to time I do. At those times I muse about an on-off switch for the brain; what a wonderful feature that would be. And then I remember just such an invention. It is called alcohol.
When it comes to drinking, I am a late bloomer. During high school I was oblivious to and considered myself above partying. I avoided keggers like the plague. In college, I ignored the Tequila Sunrise craze. On my 21st birthday I had the requisite drink, but the pina colada was an isolated instance of homage to Rupert Holmes. I considered myself to be above the standard college revelry. Drinking in order to have a good time was for peons and I eschewed it. I have since become one of the commoners.
My resorting to liquid therapy doesn’t mean that I overindulge. I don’t want to give the impression that I am a lush! I am responsible and wouldn’t drink and drive. I rarely have more than two glasses of wine, which is all I need to take the edge off and replace it with rose-colored glasses. And, hopefully, I will not be misunderstood when I state that I enjoy a good Menage a Trois. But I do enjoy my red wine. And Prosecco. And Riesling. Even a three-pack of Beringer White Zinfandel from Costco is good enough for me!
Don’t forget, I have to make up for lost time. While my peers were exploring altered states during the seventies, I indulged in frozen yogurt. A brain freeze is the closest I ever came to an altered state. I was straitlaced to the core. So, is it any wonder that I eventually developed the need for a little escapism? In my fifties, I became a card-carrying follower of Bacchus. Only by that time I didn’t need to carry the card; I was too old for anyone to ask to see it.
You might be wondering if I remember that this narrative is supposed to be about my existential crisis and not alcohol. If you are, I think I have made my point. The lack of focus in the piece is a metaphor for the lack of focus in my life. Could I make it any more obvious? The stream of consciousness that flows trippingly from my mind, reflects the exploratory self-questioning that consumes me. I don’t know what that means either. But I am pretty sure it means I am having an existential crisis.