Saturday, January 1, 2011

Sobering Thoughts

My family doesn't drink.  The few times I've ever seen them consume alcohol, it was a drink, not enough to get affected by the alcohol.  I'm not really an exception, either.  I drink alcohol maybe half a dozen times a year (and I never had any until I was well into my college years).  Drunkenness is just not something I grew up with.  I never saw it; I never learned to recognize it.  I still have trouble realizing when somebody is under the influence.

Tonight I saw it, though.  I saw a person who was drunk, but not belligerent or obnoxious.  I noticed the little things: a tiny stumble, plopping into furniture, the slightest slur, the head hanging down.  Things I might not even notice, or otherwise mistake for exhaustion.

My first thought, upon this realization, was that I always thought I was so slick, so able to hide when I was drunk from other people, but I obviously can't.  No matter how hard you try, when you're incapacitated, you're incapacitated.

My second thought was how sobering a realization that was (and my third thought was how unbelievably ironic that was, considering the subject matter).  I'm not above the rules.  I'm just not.  I'm a human being, so whatever affects people as a whole, affects me in particular.

Sobering thoughts are like that.  They pull you out of that delirium of invincibility or self-exception.  They make you realize that you're just like everybody else.  I guess that's why they call them sobering.

I also think they're pretty amazing.  When you have a sobering thought, it's because you've realized that something applies to you.  That's always a good sign.  It means you're paying attention.  It also means you realize that you can learn and grow.  Definitely a quality that writers should have.

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