-- I just wish I was given the chance to quit. Other people... they get to decide. I'm fucking forced into it.
-- Everyone that quits is forced one way or another. It's just about perspective.
-- I think my attitude would be much better if I felt like I had a choice.
-- Technically you do. I mean you could drink yourself to the grave. Technically. Nobody can stop you right?
After a moment Ziggy apologizes.
-- No it's all goo.
-- No I mean it. I shouldn't be talking down to you like that. And also I didn't mean to use such a grave tone.
He knows his friend Ziggy is right. Not his apology but what he was saying before that. And this angers him. Causes his blood to boil. He wishes that Ziggy were a drinker so that he could shame the guy, but Ziggy's drunk maybe four beers in his life. Someone like Ziggy should be considered a godsend in his situation, he knows this. but he still resents him. Later his resentment will pass. Or so he hopes.
Later he's with Sam at a locally owned sports bar. She claims that this local joint is much better and refuses to ever meet at any other chain sports bars. He can't taste the difference. Sam's drinking her second tall beer. She drinks heavily and doesn't care about the consequences.
Sam used to joke about how she imagined not living past 27. She first said this when they were 18. When she spoke of her mental illness it felt so foreign to him that he fetishized it. To him depression seemed sexy. He even began considering that maybe he'd like to die at the age of 27 just like those icons. But only if he was well known and beautiful. He thought that if he were working a regular nine to five he'd rather just stay alive for the normal life expectancy. He thought if he had a decent nine to five then he could save Sam. Get her our of the service industry. But if she was willing to let that happen, then why would she choose him. There were plenty of nine to fivers out there.
While he'd been procrastinating at college he would look at Facebook photos of Sam smiling at parties. He had been going to a lot of parties, too. When he was back home, he'd go to the kind out in the country that mixed older people -- who hosted them -- with kids his age; most of them weren't even old enough to drink legally, himself included. A lot of these older folks had been in their 40s and 50s -- the same age his parents were. But because they were drinking with all these kids they seemed younger. Though they definitely didn't look any younger. Back then he thought Sam would stay attractive forever. He couldn't imagine her becoming these people one day.
It's not that he could notice anything obviously unhealthy about them compared to the average American. Just that comparing them to Google Images of the most coveted celebrities they looked like aging sacs. But so did the non heavy-drinking American adults at that age. He knew the images of celebrities was not normal. They had surgeries, trainers, makeup artists, etc.
But he wanted anything but to be lumped within the same group as regular people. He knew it was unrealistic, but the unrealistic aspiration of instead being categorized with the celebrities was what made him want that reality so instead. Why settle for normal? And it's not that he disliked them, the regular people at all. Frankly he liked them a lot.
-- It is because of your ego.
His therapist said quiet and almost too slowly. She spoke as though someone might be listening through the thick timber walls.
-- You prefer not to be seen as them because at the core you do not respect them in the same way you seek respect from others.
-- What do you mean? I like them. I respect them. I love hanging out with them. Nothing wrong with them.
-- Love and respect are two different games. You can love someone that you pity and you can respect someone that you hate. When it comes to this particular group, it seems closer to the first.
-- You think I pity them?
-- Not pity them entirely. But there is some unbalanced pity where you seem to denigrate certain, select characteristics immensely.
-- Like how ugly and aged these people have become... And how they work normal jobs.
-- You often speak about beauty and success.
-- Isn't that what everyone's after? Either one of them and you're good right?
-- According to your theory, not everyone. Not the people you seem to find everywhere.
He hated his therapist. But he thought that was a good thing. If his therapist only made him feel high off his own fart gases that was a sure sign that he was getting scammed. This anger was probably good. Or if not good, worth the money.
Earlier in the session she asked him about the easy stuff. Things he could speak dramatically about and earn some maturity points for being so strong.
-- Tell me about Jamie's funeral.
It'd been last week. The first funeral where he hadn't felt inspired. Before he'd been to a couple and they nver failed to have him lust for life. This time around was instead some sort of bitterness within him. It wasn't even directed at the fact that his friend Jamie had passed. He really couldn't place his finger to it, which made it even more irritating.
The somber gesturing of guests was his favorite part about funerals. It was like the feeling of a deep rest in bed... when he wasn't asleep or feeling sleepy at all, but was letting the weight of the comforters hold him down for just a moment longer before he got out. That heavy feeling, but lasting for over an hour was what he'd felt at funerals. But at Jamie's the gravity was missing. Everyone was acting somber for the sake of playing their part on the stage. It's how you were supposed to act at funerals.
-- Are you okay?
Ziggy had asked him.
-- Yeah I'm fine. I mean I'm not fine. It's a funeral isn't it?
-- Well yeah. But that's what I mean. You're... You're smiling. It's weird, man.
There wasn't a mirror around. He thought of looking at his reflection in his phone, but decided against it when he told himself he was in fact at a funeral.
-- Come on. Let's go for a smoke.
While outside he saw someone who reminded him of Sam. A younger version. She had the same skin tone and similar hair. Sam wasn't around at the funeral though.