Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Under The Influence

I know the second I walk in the door that he is in his cups. It is evident in his posture, the barely perceptible slackness in his face, the slight change in speech patterns. I ask him how far in he is, he says not even close. I know better. He becomes so much more impassioned in his viewpoints, shouting over any that oppose his. Though he isn't, he seems angry, and can easily become so if the rebuttal is too persistent.

Watchmen is on HBO, a story about which he has very strong feelings. Among other topics, it touches upon the Vietnam War, a subject he is now expounding upon vociferously to his son, along with other references the child is too young to fully grasp. I remind the boy that he has homework and studying to do before winding down for the night, as much to get him to do his work as to remove him from his father's cross hairs. He isn't in any danger, but I don't like him experiencing his father this way. I try to keep my efforts from being obvious. The boy finishes his work, and heads for the shower.

With me, he is overly solicitous, maudlin in his expression of affection. This makes me uncomfortable so I retreat, but not too far. To do so would fill him with a sense of rejection which would make him either morose or defensive, depending on the day. Citing office work to finish up, I head to the bedroom but leave the door open. It is important to appear accessible. He comes in the room to impart the news of the day, then goes back to his movie. I wait for him to fall asleep in front of the TV, then quietly push the door closed.

I am no teetotaler. After I finished my dinner I poured myself a glass of wine, and enjoyed it fully. One small glass from a bottle I opened 3 days ago, and still have not finished. There was no alteration of my personality or demeanor. Nothing to cause confusion or worry or discomfiture. That is not to say I haven't had nights of binge drinking that very much did cause these things—I have. And the child has seen some of it, much to my chagrin.

There is something about being the only sober person in a room that makes the whole spectacle so damned sad. Every nuance of drunkenness stands out in stark relief. It makes me want to protect my child from it, and run from it at the same time. It makes me consider more carefully my behavior under the influence, or perhaps ensure I stay just a bit less under the influence.



The World According To Me said...

Oh it's good to see you back! I've missed reading your blog. I love the new angle.

Kate said...

Rebecca! I am visitng for the first time in ages.Glad to see you blogging!

SOUL said...

hey you-- remember me? what's new? not much has changed in my world.. just thought i'd check in on you. good to see you're still here . have a happy day !