She was late coming down. More than 5 minutes so I went ahead and started the ride. It was Monday morning. I didn’t have time for this shit. When she got in the car, I didn’t expect her to be so prim and plain, dressed all in black with bobbed hair and librarian glasses and holding a lint brush. She gave me an address downtown where she worked as a bartender. She told me that she was tired from last night. She was bartending somewhere else and had to take the bus home. Oh that explained her lateness, her lethargy, her slow drawling way of talking. But then I smelled something odd. It wasn’t the hungover stale alcohol and cigarettes smell of someone who’d tied one on last night and needed me to take them to a diner breakfast. No, this was fresh alcohol. Like just-took-a-swig-of-vodka-before-I-came-downstairs alcohol. It took me a sec to place it because I’m not used to smelling that smell in the bright light of 10 am. It doesn’t fit with the daytime.
I used to have a boss with a drinking problem. He had a little fridge under his desk and he would drink tall boys all day. If there was a meeting that was too early in the morning, his hands would rattle as he held a stack of papers. What was weird was not that he drank all day but that nobody said anything. We watched his weight balloon, we watched his hands tremble, we sat by and said nothing. Even his boss ignored it. She wanted someone easy to control under her, that she didn’t want to be threatened by. But I can’t blame her although I’d like to. I could’ve said something. I could’ve asked him if he was OK, if he needed help. I didn’t. We were all aid-ers and abettors.
Anyway, I hope she doesn’t have a problem. And if she does, I hope she has someone in her life who will step in and help. I know that’s not the kind of lift I can give her.