I don't drink alcohol, normally for religious and personal reasons, but here I am, drunk. Well, drunker than I've ever been. Y'see, I only drink whiskey when I've got a cold or the flu- medicinal purposes only, which is allowed by my faith. Late last week, two Thursdays ago, the alternator bracket on my dad's Chevy Blazer (which I've been driving since the lamented death of my own vehicle last year) snapped clean in two. Broken. Decimated. A casualty of age and cold weather, I suppose. Whatever the reason, it rendered the vehicle "dead in the water." As "luck" would have it, this occurred about a block away from Cafe Coco; I was able to drive it there and park it for a temporary time until I could fix the problem. At the time I figured it was just a broken Serpentine Belt- relatively easy to fix and fairly cheap- but I had to wait until sunlight before I could really look under the hood and find out.
So I waited there all night, tired and impatient for the sun to rise, until dawn finally graced us with its presence. And that was when I discovered just how dire the situation was. I didn't have a whole lot of money to my name (and still don't), and I was expecting this to be a costly "issue." I called Dad and told him what was going on, hoping he would be able to help out. Sadly, he was about to go on a road trip (he's a music entertainer), which would take him away from home all week, so he wouldn't be able to help. He suggested that I call the dealership where he bought it to find out how much a new part would cost and how much they'd charge to do the work. I did so- they said that the new part would cost $90 and installing it would cost somewhere between $175-$250... which I didn't have.
So I was relegated to fixing it myself. The first step, however, was to remove the broken part from my vehicle. I decided to do this on Friday afternoon. This was not an easy task, I quickly found. The vehicle was parked on the street, in front of another business, so I had to hire a tow-truck to move it- kiss $30 goodbye, just for moving a vehicle less than a block. Oh, well. Then I spent the better part of that day using my roommate's tools to take out the fragment which was still stuck to the vehicle's engine block. Again, not an easy task. I had to call in a mechanic to take off one of the pulleys blocking some bolts that I needed to remove (it required a special tool)- another $40 gone, but for a good cause, and the mechanic loaned me the tool necessary to affix the pulley once I got a replacement bracket. So, on Friday I had managed to blow $70. The broken alternator bracket was finally removed from the vehicle by 9 PM Friday night. I had to miss work because of this. Oh, well. Shit happens, right?
So I went home (Saturday morning, a week ago, exhausted from not having slept in almost 48 hours) on the city bus. As soon as I got home I called around to a few junk yards to see if I could get a used part of the same make/model. One place said that they had it in stock and that I could get it for $25. I told them that I would probably be able to retrieve it from them on Thursday at the latest.
I rode the city bus all this week in order to get around town- to work, to the cafe, to eat and that's just about it. Come Thursday I was able to get my paycheck, hop a ride on the bus to a distant part of town and made it to the junk yard about an hour before they were ready to close. They were now quoting me $45 for the part in question, bastards. I had thoughtfully brought the broken bracket with me in a bag and asked to see the part first, to make sure it was the right one. Alas, it wasn't. A full day wasted. I was pissed. And, what's more, is that it was the end of the business day, which meant that the buses were about to stop running. So I gathered up my resolve and began to trudge through harsh, cold winds and a mixture of sleet and winter rain to the closest available bus stop. Three miles and thirty minutes later (I was at a full march, but not quite a run because I was also laden with two sets of my roommate's tools in my bag) I reached a bus stop and then stood there for another forty-five minutes in the freezing rain until an off-duty bus rolled by, whose driver was kind enough to take pity on me and give me a lift to the closest active bus stop.
I made it back to the cafe, cold and exhausted. Upon my arrival I found a free pass (for two) to a screening of the movie "The House of Sand and Fog." I called a friend of mine up (who is a fan of Jennifer Connelly, who stars in said movie along with Ben Kingsley) and bribed him into taking me home- admission to the movie as my bargaining price. He accepted the deal, we saw the movie, he took me home. The movie was good, by the way, but there was nothing good about the story (except that it was well-written, if a little on the slow side)- an honest-to-god tragedy of Shakespearean proportions. I got home exhausted and found that my computer's mouse was now broken. Great.
I woke up Friday and called Dad, who was back in town. He agreed to take me to another junk yard which said it might have the replacement alternator bracket I was in search of. He picked me up, we went out there and... it was a wild goose chase.
"Son, we're going to the dealership and we're going to get that part," Dad told me in no uncertain terms. I also dubiously noted the use of the word "we" rather than "you". "Maybe we can dicker with them. Maybe the part isn't $90 after all." I could see no other alternative- and had long-since learned to acquiesce to my dad's better judgement- and so we went.
The dealership did indeed have the part. It was not $90, but $20. Dad bought me my own set of tools (which saved me the trouble of having to call my roommate and ask to use his after he got off work). Then we went to a delicatessen, had some Matzoh Ball soup and sojourned to Cafe Coco, where the truck had been resting all week.
As we got there it began to snow, but this would not deter us (well, it certainly wouldn't deter me, but Dad was under no obligation to stay... even though he did, bless him- have I ever mentioned how lucky I am to have him as a dad?). We toiled over the dead behemoth for a few hours in the freezing cold and snow until the new alternator bracket was finally in place. Getting the Serpentine Belt on, however, was a far more difficult propsect than any other portion of the "operation." But we finally did it- at the cost of some bruised and scraped knuckles. It was dark, we were frozen to the core, but the truck- glory be!- revved to life, like Frankenstien's monster animated from the dead of forgotten corpses. I actually felt like shouting out, "HE'S ALIVE! ALIIIIIVE! BWAAAAHAHAHAH! ALIVE!" I didn't do that, however, because I value my dad's opinion of me as being one of the more mentally fit people in his life. But I most certainly was overjoyed to be mobile once again.
When I got home (having driven myself there- one never truly appreciates the freedom of being able to drive hither and thither until one is deprived of this luxury against their will), I was flat-out beaten. I called out of work and went to sleep.
Today, Saturday, I woke up with a sore throat, aching bones and sore muscles. Not only had my body been put through the paces with the hard labor I did on the truck yesterday, but it had finally succumbed to the age-old and all-too-common Cold. I was sick. I needed to work, so I decided to do the only thing I knew to do: buy some liquor. There is an old saying, "If you can't wait it out, burn it out." Liquid fire, whiskey to the laymen, is an exemplary remedy for laying waste to the common cold and the flu.
I got into the Blazer and headed to the closest liquor store I knew of. Bought some Black Velvet whiskey for $3 (200 milliliters) and took a swig of it in the parking lot- it burned like hell, but felt good on the throat once the burning sensation was gone. Knowing that a single swig wouldn't be enough to make me drunk, I immediately set out for the same place that Dad and I had gone yesterday to get some Matzoh Ball and Chicken Soup. I got there quickly and downed the meal just as fast. The alcohol hadn't made a dent in my sobriety yet, so I decided to get good and drunk at the cafe, amongst my friends and in a place where I could make free use of the Internet.
And, so, here I am. I am definitely drunk and I most certainly am in no condition to drive. I barely have the motor skills to type, but I have managed to write this so that I may come back to it and see just what it's like for me to write while enibriated.
I have never been drunk before in my life (I do not classify having taken two hits of LSD as "drunk", but it certainly qualifies as intoxicated). I have determined that, for me, being drunk is much like being sober except that my brain feels like it has been stuffed between two soft pillows, it is difficult to concentrate, motor skills drop to "negligible", writing on the laptop isn't a problem (except for that pesky typing thing, but I'll get over that eventually, I think) and conversation is best kept to a minimum. It's a generally pleasant experience, but not one that I would like to indulge in over-much.
So that, my friends, is my week.
And I'm still drunk, with about two sips left in the bottle and a hot toddy sitting next to me.