God can see
Drinking is a kind of lubricant. When I was twenty-three, I slid down highway one trying to pass a semi and lost control of my car. In fourth grade, my teacher marked down my essay for starting every sentence with “I”.
I handed over my driver’s license after saying my prayers over the steering wheel, skidding off the highway and into grass by the grace of God. I just started two sentences like I told my teacher I wouldn’t. I started drinking after college. The road ahead is dangerous and my language drives automatic.
When I handed over my driver’s license to my psychiatrist, I did that motion, the one where you snap it between your thumb and forefinger, like it’s the ace of spades and you have a winning hand. God can see what you’ve been dealt and laughs. Jail doesn’t look good when fourth grade was only just over a decade ago. I wonder if I’ve been marked down again.
Psychiatrists make for the best teachers; they are every one of us with naturally lubricated brains and a God complex. When my car brakes stopped working I somehow knew that I was SOL, an unsavory acronym that slides out when you are uninhibited and preparing to crash. You have been been summoned by God and now you will meet concrete and metal and smoke. Smoking is a social lubricant. It pumps the brakes, makes for good stories. It doesn’t always hurt people, but sometimes it does.
When my car coasted off the highway, the driver in the semi didn’t even so much as beep at me. My steering wheel shuddered and I did that motion with my hands, the one where you press them together and look skywards towards heaven.
I had the ace of spades. I was still here; I was still “I”.