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Each Their Own

By: Alejandro Zepeda

One pitcher of IPA was never enough for the graveyard launch time, nor was the second, not if the conversation was good enough to have a third and time for last call.  Those were the benefits of having an alcoholic boss going through a tough breakup.  It wasn’t as if the job was that demanding to require a sober mind, all we did was inventory for a warehouse, distributing flowery patterned recreational helmets.

Sure, it would have been ideal if I were better at helping him cope with the situation.  I did try, but after several weeks of self-pity on his part, and his almost nightly drunken naps in the break room, which left me with all the work for the night, I figured I had earned the right to plant the idea in his head.

“I could go for a beer right now,” I would say.

And like clockwork, ten minutes later, he would come back with, “break time, bitches!  Let’s go do last call.”  In those instances, why argue with a man on a mission and a need for a beer.

His drinking had ended his relationship, and the end of the relationship opened the floodgate to his alcoholism.  I sat back and looked at his self-destruction. It dawned on me, his pain came from losing a possession, an object he had become accustomed to having around.  His heart was broken because he was victim to a childish notion-- a hissy fit he believed was love.

I’ve been guilty of this, too. I’ve moved away 2000 miles as a literal means of moving on, finding menial jobs with just enough distraction to allow for reflection.  It’s drastic and impulsive, but we do what we have to do to survive.

However, we always end up looking back, creeping on social media for glimpses into a life without us, measuring our own existence against those selective aspects of their life they choose to share.  Not a true reality, but enough to create a persona they want the world to believe is real.  We see the walks on the beach with their new significant other, the endless baby pictures of the recent spawned offspring, and the hallmark of the media, the ever-so-popular entourage pictures with gleaming smiles all around.

In some instances, we get the opposite, the heartbreaking stories not doctored into an overzealous existence.  We read the threads to their pictures, once filled with joy, now full of grief.  We paint our own picture of the events, the douchebag Texas cowboy in his oversize truck, speeding down an Austin street, T-Boning her car, killing her, hoping it was an instant death, sparing her from the pain.  And in those moments, you don’t wish that on her, or anyone, and you wish you could have been better to them.  But you try to move on.

We have tamed ourselves with our feelings, putting reason aside to immerse oneself in self-pity, self-indulgence, self-gratification, and so on.  We all hurt, we all suffer in personal ways, and compassion from other individuals is something we expect and sometimes abuse.  However, in no way should it be a crutch for someone’s refusal to figure it out on their own, because, people only care about your problems to a certain extent.  After that, you are on your own, and it’s selfish to expect more from others.

You move on, refusing to fall victim to the mechanical controls of your emotions

So, I sit there, watching my alcoholic boss go on about the girl he lost, denies blame on himself, the systematical refilling of his mug from the pitcher of beer, and I pretend to care.  I listen to his anguish. I assure him I’m on his side.  But I have no interest in his story.  I'm just there for the beer. So we drink, each to our own existence, each to our own confusion, each to their own, but both from the same pitcher.

At least we have this in common.