Its Friday night and this is around the time you’d be two beers in to a six pack right? I usually leave work at 4:30 pm and the patios (in the summer) are usually getting towards being full by that time. Its not unusual in our culture to begin imbibing in the early afternoon when the weather and circumstance allow.
So you get off work a bit early and your normal stop at a patio or liquor store becomes a direct route home. You see its before 5pm and you wonder what youll do with your time. Youre still going out with your friends, but the party doesnt really start till around ten.
You dont feel like sitting around with your buds pre-drinking and watching sports before grabbing a cab. Youre just going to say hi to the birthday girl, have a soda, some tapas and a slice of pizza on your way home at midnight. So now you have at least 4 hours to kill.
So you flip on Star Trek the Next Generation and do the same thing you might normally do when you were predrinking: veg out in front of the TV.
Theres a problem though. Youve got a craving. The action triggers something in you and you want a beer. You resist, remembering your recovery so far, thinking about everything youd have to lose. The memories of your bottom, the reason you quit become very clear and the craving passes.
You grab a pen and a piece of paper and you write an expletive word in the middle of the page. Surrounding the word you dash enough exclamation points to get over your silent frustration. Your attention diverts back to Capt. Jean Luc Picard and his crew.
A commercial break snaps you from the fantasy world, and back in to the cold reality of capitalism. The television tells you that this program is brought to you by a popular brand of beer. The lifestyle they are selling is appealing to you, and again your body gently aches for a cold sip of that popular drink.
Your hand finds the pen and more scribbles meet the page. Picard is back, debating Data in the prime directive or perhaps hes back on his familys ancestral vineyard in France. The space captain tastes the fruits of his family and you sit in a lonely room with your science fiction program and still 3 hours to kill.
Again you find the pen and you begin to take out your frustrations in sketches. First they are crude and chaotic, evolving like single celled organisms into more complex shapes and patterns. Faces are drawn and scribbled over in an ever changing smudge of pen marks that resembles a plate of spaghetti.
You find some more paper and your artistic odyssey continues. Your shapes turn to letter, and the letters come together to form words. Your elegance in penmanship is both remarkable and absurd, youve no clue why you are making these markings.
You look to the clock and you’ve lost an hour, and gained a tableful of unmitigated artistic expression. You save one of the drawings, and put the rest in the recycling bin. You fold the remaining sheet once, then again, and in an ink of contrasting colour you inscribe:
Happy Birthday Old Friend
(and you head to the party a little bit earlier than you normally do, and its cool and you have more time to actually talk to people before it gets super loud, and the pizza on the way home was definitely worth waiting for)