i is for inEBRIATION
By Matthew Latkiewicz
I is for inebriation, or why we do this in the first place?
The first time I got drunk I was 16 and after a few glasses of Strawberry-fucking-Hill, drunk with a few friends at some house where parents were away. I stumbled and wobbled my way to the bathroom. It wasn’t like the stumbling that I do now all weary and lethargic. It was exciting and funny stumbling like a baby donkey trying out its new legs. So anyways I made my way to the bathroom and I caught myself in the mirror, and like all people on drugs for the first time, I was fascinated by my own reflection. I looked at myself in the mirror and I processed as best I could what having this new brain meant.
I had actually been scared to get drunk for all the normal societal and familial reasons, but also, of course, because I was scared of the unknown of how I would feel, and what I would do if I would be changed in ways I didn’t like. In the mirror I looked at my very strange-looking face and I realized that I was changed, but in ways that I could handle. In ways even that I welcomed. We’re all born into small worlds and it is one of the great opportunities of life to expand them, to venture into the unknown and learn
what you can about how to be alive. Looking at myself in the mirror inebriated for the first time. I was meeting a part of myself previously unknown. And I realized that there was so much to explore in this world and in myself.
Inebriation at it’s best, is a key to the unknown. A way to experience the world and yourself from a totally different perspective. And obviously it can go south like all things in nature. Inebriation is neither good or bad, but when applied to a human life it can be both. This lifelong balancing act is one of the deals we make as people who imbibe, but I believe we get something out of it. By giving us a new experience of ourselves the inebriated state has the ability to expand our perspective and open us up to new worlds.
As the French poet Charles Baudelaire wrote in 1851, wine develops “man’s poetic character” to an excessive degree. Humanity’s frenzied love of all substances, whether healthy or dangerous bears witness to their greatness. Humanity is always aspiring to rekindle their hopes and rise up to the infinite. My inebriated brain is now much better at controlling my body and I don’t find my reflection as interesting anymore… but every time I sit at a bar or raise a glass to a friend or make myself a martini at home, I give myself a new angle on things.
I is for inebriation.