I heard something on the radio this morning about mandatory drug and alcohol testing in the workplace. Now, I'm opposed to any impingement on civil liberties, especially when they're imposed by bosses to protect the profit margin, but when I heard about this one I thought, Hmmm, finally, a way of finding out whose life outside of work is real and who makes theirs up.
Because drinking and getting stoned are the only life now. It's everybody's measure of whether you've had a good or a bad weekend. If somebody had spent Saturday and Sunday writing a symphony, they'd probably still go into work on Monday morning and tell people they were massively hungover from a two-day drinking binge with a lot of unnamed (and probably made up) friends.
Mind you, I'm sometimes guilty of ridiculous (and essentially immature) image-making myself. I wrote an email to an old girlfriend some time ago in which I gently castigated her for trying to give up cocaine. "I hang onto all my vices jealously," I wrote (or words to that effect).
What vices? Tosser. I have smoked a little weed from time to time, and I like to drink. But I've never touched anything stronger. Not out of some moral objection, but just because drugs, and the people you got them from, seemed too dangerous (this woman's druggy friends were like desperate animals in my snobbish estimation: not a trace of civility or sophistication about them)(and they laughed and made fun of the helpless crumbling old drunk in the corner of the Racehorse). Oh, and I didn't want to have to spend the large amount of money you had to spend to get the drugs. Do the purer among you have any idea how much even a little marijuana sets you back?
So whatever vices I was inferring I might have to my old girlfriend--who took offence at the email and didn't talk to me again--I actually have never had.
Why did I pretend I did? I don't even know the answer to that.I have spent so long living on the borderline between fact and fantasy--as a compulsive storyteller in poetry and prose and in conversation--I probably almost believed what I was writing as I wrote it. There's an element of alienation, and mistrust of other people, in there too. But it's ridiculous anyway. My major vices are snobbery on the one hand, and self-pity on the other. Though I'm trying to deal with both through Buddhist practice.
I have a significant and lifelong addiction to peanut butter, if that helps me look any cooler to my readers.