Posted: September 29, 2007 in The Roper Files

purty sunset 

File23 friend Mack White ( ) posted an interesting blog this week ( Notes From Dark Morning ) which besides having a link back to File23 (Thanks Mack!) underscored several thoughts of my own about the morning hours. They are kind of magical, maybe it’s the lack of activity or the quiet, I don’t know. I’m a morning type of guy. Here in Texas during the summer pre-dawn is about as cool (temperature-wise) as the day is going to get. Won’t get any better than THIS, sorry.

Nobody cares, I know, but I quit drinking for a garden variety of reasons seventeen years ago. This has monkey-wrenched any normalcy in my sleep habits; sleep comes to me most of the time in 4-6 hour bursts. Sometimes I sleep longer, but not too often.  In the movie EASY MONEY  Rodney Dangerfield  (whose character in the film is forced to quit drinking) comments about not knowing how to fall asleep; he just knows how to pass out.  I know all about that one; I don’t sleep unless I’m exhausted, period. 

 A neighbor who is struggling with his own set of alcohol-related issues came over asking me for advice; wanting to know How I Did It. As much as I feel for the poor souls wanting me to sponsor them, I always without fail piss them off and send them away angry with me because I really can’t come up with anything better than AAs’ advice: One Day At A Time. 

There. I said it. Now excuse me while I go rinse my mouth out…seriously, the reason I say that is because if you think about quitting drinking in terms of FOREVER, you’re making it harder on yourself than it has to be. One day at a time (oh shit, gotta go rinse again) is a little easier to swallow. So there’s your twelve steps in a nutshell.

However quitting drinking is not without its drawbacks. It can be a real social-life killer. Heard a stand-up on Comedy Central say something along the lines of how people don’t have the same inflection in their voices when they ask: “Oh…you don’t use mayonaise on your sandwich?” as when you tell them you don’t drink. I’ve actually had former drinking buddies turn against me when I told them I’ve  quit imbibing. It can get ugly.

And then there’s not much social activity ( the kind where women show up at anyway ) that doesn’t involve or somehow center around drinking. Here in Fort Worth most of the coffee shops (about the only real alternative to bars for adults) close at 9pm. There’s one near one of the local colleges that stays open late, but I’m twice the age of everyone there. (“Who’s that old guy?”)  A good bartender knows how to dole out alcohol-free drinks and I always  remember to tip those guys, but I had one female bartender get snippy with me the other night (“can I get I you a glass of milk then?” ) so like I said not drinking can be a real social-life killer. Tried to warn my neighbor he should just keep drinking lest he become a grouchy embittered  middle-aged shut-in like myself.

So last night (Friday) I rolled into bed at 8:30 pm. Early I know, but I was tired. This resulted in me getting up at 3:30, saying no way and then going back to sleep for another 90 minutes or so. About five I quit fighting it and got up. Made some fresh-ground Kona bean coffee, fed the cats and then walked to the front of the File 23 compound. go-away.jpg 

There’s a full moon out this morning. The sky is overcast; lots of clouds. And there is a cool refreshing breeze blowing from the south. Turn off that damn money-burning air conditioner and open the door. Walk around to the front and fetch the morning paper. Look around; everyones lights are off except mine. The only sound I can hear is the beautiful distorted sustain of Phil Manzaneras Fender on a Roxy Music bootleg I am listening to inside where I need to be with my coffee. Walk back and begin to guzzle coffee rapid-fire, cup after cup. Must fuel The Beast within that drives and compels me to write. 

So nice not having to drive up Idiot35 and go to my menial job today. I love the weekends. This is the only time life is worth living. 



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