Thursday, February 10, 2011


THEY EXIST----AND I WILL SHOW YOU ONE. My companion this date shares with me a fascination with derelict buildings.
This abandoned motel near the Salton sea draws our attention. Surely there's a story here--we will go get it.
We go through it noticing this and that---how the copper wiring has been removed---sinks, toilets, doors, windows etc. The life and loves of its last occupants are clearly written in the debris we find. I'm delighted to have a friend who enjoys so strange a hobby as this. We poke our way through all the rooms.
We note there is something different about this last one. Someone's been here very recently---food, water, clothing scattered about.
Someone apparantly has been sleeping on that couch---eating off that table. AND THEN---AND THEN!!!
An angry man steps from the recesses--yelling and warning us not to steal anything. We were intruders in his home and vulnerable to a Norman Bates (the movie Psycho) type attack. I managed this shot when my companion distracted him.
Then instinctively went into charm mode---cheerful---asking easy questions--needing his help. He responded---warmed up and eventually told his story: Has been living here for years---tolerated by the Indian lady owner--who bought the place at a tax sale. He tried living at the Slabs ---gave various reasons for leaving there. The truth was obvious to me, however. He was drunk and wanted to stay drunk.-----That requires easy quick access to liquor. The Slabs are 4 or so miles from an alcohol source. Here, a store is only a half mile away. My tiny home town of Sondheimer, La had several like him---they were my sometime childhood friends. I surmise that he gets the $600 a month that California will pay to such folks to avoid paying the $2500 a month it would cost to institutionalize and treat him. Doing the math, He has $20 a day to feed his body and his habit---so he requires free rent.
He showed us where he sleeps in the summer---atop these stacked mattresses---shaded in late afternoon and a bit more breezy at nights. He had not lost his sense of humor---told me that I could leave my companion with him.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: The story I take away from this encounter is that the guy chose easy access to alcohol over easy access to human companionship at the Slabs. I wonder what he would choose if the choice was made even more stark: ALCOHOL OR PEOPLE. (i.e. total solitude with alcohol or people ---with no alcohol.)


Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

I am guessing the answer would still be booze.

Rustedgranny said...

At first he seemed sad. But then it came to me, he is doing EXACTLY what he chooses to do and has the freedom to do so. As a taxpayer I say to him Your Welcome.

Tadeusz Deregowski said...

A lot of us appear to chose human companionship, but actually don't comunicate at all. And lots of people drink to muffle the sound of voices close, while apparanntly enjoying their company. Or there is drinking in a group, which often appears jolly but often really is quite joyless and oddly lonely.

Jim said...

I lived without alcohol for 7-1/2 years; chaired a weekly AA meeting for the first year and a half. I was always dumbfounded that our unwritten meeting 'guidance' was to not dwell on relationship issues . . . when it was clear that everyone there (including me) had major relationship issues.
It's an odd dynamic: excessive use of alcohol basically detunes your emotions by stopping all emotional growth. Emotionally, it takes you away from your friends, family and lovers long before you lose your house, your car, and usually your job is the last thing to go. Can't drink without money!
Addiction is addiction; alcohol is only one drug of choice. Others are work, food, sex -- the mechanism of addiction is the same. But, more than anything else, the alcoholic wants to drink. Everything else is (or will eventually become) means to that end.

Jack said...

Curious what the Indian lady owner was planning to do with the place when she bought it. Probably paid a song for it but looks like she still might have overpaid.

Rob said...

Alcohol is a powerful drug on the body of those who don't have the built in tolerance, powerful.

That having been said, this man is living his life the way he wants to.

Dixxe said...

I would not think he is living his life the way he wants to...he is destroying his life the way he wants to...very different-

Jim said...

DIXXE: "...he is destroying his life the way he wants to...very different-"
I agree but, of course, there are many other ways to destroy one's life. Alcohol 'only' kills about 100,000 a year in the U.S. (about the same number which die each year from prescription drug errors and overdoses) while nicotine kills 450,000. All illegal drug overdoses are lumped together by the CDC as "accidental poisoning." To me, this is a fair label as most drug overdoses ARE accidental. But even combined (as they are) with all the poisonings which are NOT drug related, the total hovers around 33,000 per year. Yet we have a "war on drugs?" Go figure.

Gayle Maria said...

To Rustedgranny: You say, "You're welcome." But I bet he never said: "Thank you."

Gratitude is totally missing from the addicted mind as is the concept of "choice." Doing what he "chooses to do" is more like doing what he must do. He is in a jail without bars (of both kinds)!!!