The exact date isn’t all that important but the events are. Well, to me anyway, it’s the day I found my humanity.
Back in the go-go 80’s of the Reagan years, cocaine seemed to be everywhere. It seemed to carry its own perverted kind of prestige and if you weren’t doing it and preferred more mellow methods of numbing your brain you were considered somewhat of an outsider. I guess at the time, this was what it meant to be cool.
This was especially true if you were a young up and comer and working your way through the canyons of Wall Street and had a ton of money to burn and preferred the night life and all it had to offer. Sure, there was a family at home to tend to but young bucks like yours truly liked to play the field and clung to the notion that variety was the spice of life and flipping through the dials and changing diapers were pretty much one and the same. They both didn't quite cut it.
Predictably enough, it wasn’t long before the little lady at home, the one who cooked the uneaten dinners, scraped the dried food off the plates, washed and stacked the dishes. folded the never ending stream of laundry, bullshitted the collection agencies into thinking that we would come up with the money somehow and sent the kids off to school had finally had enough. Heeding the advice of her family and close friends she finally retained an attorney and filed the papers for divorce.
Cocaine had this thing it did for me, I don’t quite know how to best describe it but the word that comes to mind is “invincible”. I thought I was more social, more productive, more outgoing and couldn’t for the life of me imagine going without for more than a day or two. All throughout the nasty proceedings of taking depositions and answering questions, my mind was focused on one thing and one thing only.
Borgo’s mind: ”Get me the fuck out of here, this is bullshit. She knows it and I know it. She’ll be begging for me to come back and when I do, fuck her still, I’ll do what the hell I please”.
So anyway, after the proceedings are over, I’m down to my last three hundred bucks or so and decide one last night on the town is in order and sure as God made little green apples I was going to celebrate my new found bachelorhood in style. Unfortunately for me, my regular guy was dry and I was forced to pull a Blanche DuBois and rely on the kindness of strangers.
What I got was some pretty bad shit that put me in the hospital in one of those wards where they take your belt and shoelaces and you wander around in little white hospital gowns staring at the other patients wondering just how the fuck you got here. Apparently I was so coked out of my mind I was going on suicidal rants and threatening myself and others with all kinds of inventive ways of bodily harm. After a while when you come down, you tell the wards that you don’t belong in here and some of them, probably the newer ones, look at you with pity in their eyes and those that have been there awhile flat out ignore you. You might as well be the wallpaper on the wall that they’ve seen a thousand times before. That’s the amount of attention you’ll get.
It's not too long before feeding time comes and there’s this old lady, probably suffering from the early or middle stages of Alzheimer’s Disease and her hands are shaking so bad she can’t get the food to her mouth without it dribbling all down her gown. The attendants don’t seem to give a shit and neither does anybody else that’s gathered in the room. I guess they’ve all got their own demons to wrestle with.
I think that’s the first time I ever felt real guilt in my life. Oh sure, I’d been caught in my fair share of little lies when I was kid and I got caught in them or something else might’ve made feel “bad” for a day or two but it’s nothing that would stick in my brain. Nope, this little old bag of bones, a stranger to me then and a stranger to me now, was the one that did.
As I lifted her spoon to her mouth, I could see the tears welling up in her eyes. To this day, I don’t know if they were for her or for me. A few days later after being interviewed by some in house shrink, they determined I wasn’t going to harm myself or others and I was free to go.
I quit my job and my “friends” and moved to Ohio about a month later and despite some bumps in the road, things have been pretty much ok since.
Anyway, it’s been maybe twenty years or so since that little episode. I don't feel invincible anymore. Every now and then it still comes to mind and haunts me. The mind's a funny thing and I don’t know what brings it on either. It just sort of pops into my head every now and then like a bird flying by to remind me of where I came from.
It's not something that I'd like to dwell on because my behavior at the time isn't something I'm very proud of.
On the other hand, I hope it never goes away.