Blast From the Past – Boozy McDrinkerton and the Last Call

Every once in a while, in lieu of new content to keep you occupied and knowing that no one except full-fledged stalkers goes through my blog as far back as a few months, I like to hop in the Way Back Machine.

I’ve lived in my current home about 18 years, which is a long time for most apartment tenants. We like where we are, it’s enough for the two of us, and the landlord’s family likes us. Because we’ve been there a long time, we’ve had a menagerie of neighbors, some timid and docile like the Prairie Dogs, others loud and needing to be put down, like rabid Prairie Dogs.

Boozy McDrinkerton (not her real name) was one of our late landlord’s strays, someone he would take in because they needed taking care of. She was an alcoholic, and when I say that, I don’t means someone who likes to drink. I mean someone whose blood-alcohol content never dips below .35. 

This is the story breaking points and burned bridges. This also puts me in the spotlight of Not Nice, which is fine because folks, I’m really not nice.

Cleaned up here a little for content, clarity and silly errors, from Thursday, July 10th, 2008, Boozy McDrinkerton and the Last Call:

So rumor has it from unnamed sources that she’s leaving.

I can­not say I will miss her OR the smell of stale cig­a­rette smoke that seems to seep like a fetid fog from beneath her front door.  She’s burned her bridges with every­one around her in this neck of the woods so she’s Fate’s prob­lem now. 

Lemme tell you about a few week­ends back when I’d offi­cially HAD ENOUGH.

It was a Sat­ur­day and I had to work the Lush Swing Party.  In fact, when I finally had a chance to walk out the door, Boozy was stand­ing there wear­ing a shirt she’d pulled from my clean laun­dry, all but­toned up, wear­ing one of my ties.  She was also drunk.  Not exactly out of the ordi­nary as she’s gone on binges where being sober was like get­ting the hic­cups — short-lived and barely memorable.

“Boozy is wear­ing your shirt”, says D from the hallway.  He’d left ear­lier to go to the store to get break­fast fix­ings and she wanted to tag along.  As she was barely dressed, he gave her some­hing of mine to wear, and then took her to a store we’d never step foot into just so he wouldn’t run into some­one we knew. 

“I see that,” I say try­ing not to sound like I’m about to kill her.  I’m too rushed for that, so I just grab my things and hit the door. I had errands to run before work. I don’t like her.  I don’t like the way she coos his name or tells him how nice he is or how lucky I am.   

I return about an hour and a half later and D comes down the dri­ve­way.  He said he’d have break­fast when I got back from my errands, but he hadn’t got­ten quite that far in his day.  He gives me a huge hug and I smell beer.  Keep in mind, it’s about 11:30 in the morn­ing and D isn’t a drinker.

“Boozy wanted beer so I broke down and bought a six-pack but don’t worry: I drank four of them.”  Way to take one for the team, baby.  It was cheap, watery beer, he tells me, and I could see that he was proud of him­self for giv­ing in but only a lit­tle bit. “I’m going to start break­fast now.” He stum­bled into the house.  D has a big heart and he hates telling peo­ple no if he can help it.  Con­sid­er­ing he was going to be stuck at home with her all day it’s easy to see why he’d want her pla­cated.  Frankly, I like a pouty Boozy.  Pouty Boozy is quiet and keeps to her­self, not ani­mated, not cycling phrases and thoughts every five min­utes because her short-term mem­ory is in the mid­dle of a pert­pet­ual happy hour.

Break­fast gets made with­out D slic­ing off a fin­ger and he tells me, offhanded and casual, that he’s invited Boozy over.  She has to work later in the day and he wants to put food in her belly. That way she can eat, sober up and get gone so he can get some work around the house.  He goes next door to fetch her and she claims she’ll be right over.  D and I ate breakfast in peace and con­versed about stuff.  Luck­ily we didn’t hold break­fast because it took her another twenty min­utes to make an appearance. D serves her while I retreat to the bed­room to watch Farscape.  I’ve already seen the episode but it  looks like I’m busy work­ing and she won’t bug  me.  I’m anti-social by nature but I leave the door open so I can keep an eye on things and not leave her totally alone. I hear her phone ring and she answers.

Now — if you’ve been invited to break­fast and get a phone call, you let your call­ing party know that you’re eat­ing and you’ll call back.  Not Boozy.  She spent the entire time eat­ing on the phone.  I peek out already shocked that she’s given to ignor­ing her host and notice she’s got her filthy foot on my din­ing room table.  I walk over and give it a smack.  Not play­ful, not cute.  I say, “Off” and go back to the bed­room. She wants to act like ill-mannered dog, I’m happy to treat her like one.  She may have cooed some­thing hurt, but I didn’t hear it or didn’t care to remember that I heard it.

She finally gets off the phone and instead of leav­ing, she hangs out in the kitchen while D cleans up.  She’s lonely, I get it, but she’s also clingy. I have my  head­phones on so I don’t hear the con­ver­sa­tion but I can hear just over the sound of my show that high, whiny baby voice she uses cutting through the soundtrack of my show.  D tells me later that she spent time paw­ing through the med­ica­tions we have on the counter.  Not hav­ing kids, we can leave our drugs all over the place — hell, keep them in a candy dish on the cof­fee table if we want. She of course asks what each drug is, though they are clearly labeled.  My heart meds, full-strength ibuprofen, etc… When she got to the Per­co­cet and Oxy, she wanted to know if they could take one.  They mean­ing her and him.  A pharm party at 12:30 p.m.  What fun.

Had I heard that, I would have put her out then and there. 

D tells her that they are for his back and his back doesn’t hurt right now.  It really is like talking to a 4 year old. The Perc/Oxy combo were actu­ally for my teeth when the Vicodin failed me and made me go blind, but that wouldn’t have registered with her.  “But just one,” she pleads, and he has to take the bot­tle away from and put it in his pocket.  It was at that point that he decided that she needed to go home so he can fin­ish, so he led her to the front door, put her on the other side of it, and closed it.  He even waved.

The rest of this  comes from D, who retold the story with the kind of bro­ken awe you some­times hear in small chil­dren who’ve tried to save kit­tens only to find them run over in the road.

An hour l later I left for work and maybe twenty min­utes after that, he heard Boozy leave her apartment.  D pro­ceeded to do house­work. Laun­dry, dishes, gen­eral pick­ing up.  I mar­ried well, yes and thank you.  He crashed on the couch with the front door open, because he had a load in the wash and he likes to air out the place while he cleans. A knock drew him from his nap, and Boozy was there, more drunk than she’d been that morn­ing.  Appar­ently, she’d started off to work and was detoured by an open liquor store.  Hav­ing no money she “bartered” for smokes and booze (“bartered” mean­ing she and the clerk “took a lit­tle ride”).  After procur­ing her booze, she called work and told them that she wasn’t com­ing in because she was too drunk.  “Isn’t that respon­si­ble of me” she asked D. He asked her to please close the door behind her when she left because he was too busy to hang with her.

The pur­pose of mak­ing her break­fast was so that she could sober up and go to work, not find cre­ative ways to get drunk again.  D tells me this with great exasperation. He had finally HAD ENOUGH.  I wel­comed him into the club with open arms and the secret hand­shake.  When the land­lord heard, probably because he was the one who’d gotten her that job and the manager called him to complain, he’d also HAD ENOUGH.  He didn’t get the hand­shake but we did spend some time dis­cussing what a bad girl she’d been.

It’s called burn­ing your bridges and then piss­ing on the ashes.  She was once over­heard claim­ing that she could get what­ever she wanted because she could manip­u­late peo­ple.  Not us.  Not anymore.  I didn’t want to make friends in the first place but the land­lord had asked me to be nice because Boozy was hav­ing a “rough time”.  She cre­ates her own drama and com­pounds her own prob­lems.  She’s sup­pos­edly mov­ing in with a guy we’ve called the cops on many times.  He’ll prob­a­bly kill her.  I’ll read about it in the paper, prob­a­bly blog about it, and my life will go on.

Some losses aren’t a loss but a gain.  We get back our time, our peace of mind that she’s not bring­ing some ran­dom guy over for smokes and booze or to help sup­ple­ment her rent.  There won’t be some pan­icked knock­ing at our door at Ass O’clock in the morn­ing because a guy is beat­ing on her only to hear her tell the cops she didn’t ask for help and some­one is just being nosy.

So that’s Boozy McDrinkerton’s story, aka Drinkie McBoozed.  In a few weeks, she’ll become some other neighborhood’s problem. 

To this day, I don’t know where she is or who she’s with or if she’s even alive.