I spent the first 28 years of my life on the move. Born into a military house, we were never anywhere. Always about to move, moving, or just moved. 12 schools before I graduated high school, I grew accustomed to not knowing my classmates. I gave up joining in any meaningful bud type situations. I existed on the periphery, just outside the in crowd.
After college when my fate was my own to determine, I went with what I knew. I traveled. A frantic, manic pinball, I pounded America's great interstate system jockeying tractor trailers. Spending any layovers getting drunk, doing drugs and bedding any woman who'd have me.
One day I woke up in the Boone County Jail. My head hurt. My face hurt. I wanted to puke, but knew I already had and there was nothing but my stomach coming up if I did. I couldn't find my favorite Peter Bilt hat. In the drunk tank crammed with 5 or so like minded souls, I realized I may have just been caught across the line again.
Hazy and befuddled, I did a review of the preceding 12 hours. Yesterday, caught a cab from the Oakland County Jail in Michigan. After 7 days on that holding cell floor I knew I could sleep anywhere. The only semi-permanent resident, I made and lost many friends that week. Some guy puked on me a couple of days ago. I hadn't showered all week. I was ripe. Mr Cab driver, take me away from here. On the way to the Airport, front tire blows. This won't do I say. I have a plane to catch. So he runs her hard til the flat flames up and he has to stop 1/4 mile short of a good time. I run run and catch the door at gate 13 just as it closes. Whew, made it. Sober and very relieved to see Detroit disappear, I naturally take to drink. 4 or 5 cocktails later, we land In Cincinnatti. I apologize to my rowmate for my odor and head to the first bar in the airport. My last memory is raising a shot glass and loudly proclaiming my appreciation of freedom. And then I wake up here. In jail again. Damn. Day 8 and still in jail. Just not the one I started the week in.
I was out of control. My stupid ability to ingest outrageous amounts of inebriating substances had failed me. In the last 8 days, I had finally found my limit and crossed it not just once, but twice. I was in the hoosgow. Two black eyes, a flat nose with only one working nostril, and wishin I was brain dead, I mumbled from beat lips, " Uh where am I and why am I where I am?"
The short story. Too many shots at the airport and 6 state cops carried me to jail. Not happy to be incarcerated again, I take it out on my bunkies. They bounce me around for round 2 and steal my hat. In court by 11:00 AM. Judge takes pity on me after hearing my tale of woe. Fines me $150 and time served. That will be cash, thank you very much.
Revelations happen everywhere it seems. Spontaneous understanding of the big picture can come like a hammer on the heels of being blind drunk. Laying there on the lower bunk looking up at that smelly stained mattress over me, I knew change was upon me. What kind of change would reveal itself in the near future, but for now I knew my life as I knew it was over.
25 years later I sit here and reflect. I bring up the day I realized Life isn't found at the bottom of a Jack Daniels bottle or in a bag of cocaine. But for that brush with the law, it might have been too late.