Last night after finishing up dinner I sat around and watched the Reds beat the Cardinals 1-0. After the game I got up and decided to walk to the grocery store to get some over the counter medicine. After leaving the store I went to a German Bar with horrible karaoke as I enjoyed the company of a few of the regulars. None of the people that I knew were there, so I finished my beer and headed home. It is at this point where the story really begins.
I made my way back down the strip mall periodically colliding with tables, chairs, and a renegade shopping cart. I crossed the parking lot and began walking toward Francis Avenue.
Hey there! Can I give you a hug? There was a guy standing there waiting to cross the street midblock.
Umm no thanks, I said. (I am not a touchy feely person, and this is particularly the case with strangers, plus it seemed crazy).
Come on, the guy urged, watching you walk around like that moves me.
Oh hell, I muttered.
Before I could protest more the guy bear hugged me as I squirmed to pull away.
Take it easy, I said.
Sorry man, let’s go have a drink.
No, I am going home; I have a big week at work. Plus I have no idea who you are!
Come on, just one drink at Tonix!
Man I really—
We’re going! And with that I was nudged out into the middle of the street.
We made it to the bar and he told me his name, for the sake of this blog I will call him Travis.
Travis told me that he was a bartender who had “really fucked up my life.”
Really, well I am sorry to hear that, but there is hope to fix things, I said.
Vodka and Red Bull, and whatever he wants, Travis yelled at the bartender.
By now I realized that Travis was beyond hammered.
Amazingly he returned to address my previous comment. No, I have screwed everything up; I am a fuck up, alcoholic, hopeless. But you, you give me hope because you are worse off than me but you are doing just fine. You even look like you are smart.
No, really you do, cheers!
After we clinked glasses his drink went flying and shattered on the patio.
Travis began telling me how much he liked the bartender and how in the past she had kicked him out when he started getting crazy. He tried offering her a large sum of money to make up for shattering a glass. She handed him a broom and told him to keep his money and clean up the mess.
Dude, me and you are tight, Travis informed me.
Hey, I said with a hint of futility since he was too drunk to pay attention, your life is not hopeless and you are not a fuck up. Whatever you have done there is the chance for redemption, and tight is so 2000.
I don’t believe in redemption man. Let’s go to Quest.
I am not going to Quest, but redemption is possible. You find redemption in literature, sports, and religion. You are a valuable dude with talents and abilities; all this can change. What do you want to do with your life? What are your dreams?
I don’t dream, but we need more drinks.
At this point I was done with my effort to encourage him, there was no way he could have a real conversation.
I tried escaping to the bathroom but he followed me. I felt sorry for this guy and really wished I could help him.
I walked back into the bar and Travis was ordering shots. Other people were around and soon everyone was drinking multiple shots.
Fireball! They all screamed enthusiastically.
Oh hell, I muttered again to myself. One shot was put in front of me and then another. I could feel people staring at me to see if I would drink them.
Wow, he can drink shots, one guy said with amazement.
Really? I sighed.
Travis suddenly fell off his barstool and I asked the bartender to help me leave.
We are going places dude, Travis yelled at me.
Give the blind guy another shot, said a fellow passenger on one of the busses I ride regularly. Hang out, my fellow bus rider said, I will make sure you get home.
I got to get out of here, I told myself. You got to help me leave, I told the bartender.
No problem, she said, and the bartender guided me out the door and pointed me in the direction of home.
I walked quickly although there was no need since everyone was too hammered to try and follow me.
Hey! I heard from behind me. You want a ride?
These people are crazy!
No, I am good.
I will give you a ride, I am a friend of Travis.
Are you going to drive him home? He’s in bad shape.
No, it’s not like that. We’ve known each other since preschool; we don’t hang out. He is a disaster. A waste. Want a ride.
No, thanks man, have a good one.
I walked home heavyhearted. Everyone, including Travis, believes that he is a waste. And, everyone seems ok with that, although I can see that Travis feels helpless to change.
Everyone is valuable and worthy of being loved. I weighed the odds of Travis overcoming the situation in which he currently finds himself, and it depressed me further. Seemingly he leads a life of nonstop destruction.
Damn, I said to myself, he needs help. There is nothing I can do.
I finally reached home and chatted with my cat Farrah about the events of the evening. Annoyed with my conversation, Farrah bit me and walked away.
I went to bed and my prayer last night was short. I asked for forgiveness of my own sins and asked God that Travis experience love, hope, and redemption.
As people, we like things that are measurable so we know that we made an impact. Sometimes though whether we have an impact or not is not something that can be measured. I fell asleep feeling helpless, broken, but with hope that my prayer would be heard.