By GREG MAFFETT
Published: July 28, 2011
I'm teaching in Alabama. I'm Navy, teaching the Army. Possibly hostile crowd, but they are engineers, so I got that. But it is two weeks in a row of a high level class that we teach to people who have an average of 25 years experience.
It's a tough gig at best.
Fear may have killed Amy Winehouse. So many theories, but the reality is the reality. Fear drives people into odd places.
It drives me to remote country roads over lunch. I'm too nervous to eat lunch, I have a granola bar and drive country roads to get out of the classroom for a half hour over lunch.
Sure in class I'm there, interacting, helping, doing all I can. But after hours and hours of "being there" for my class, I opt for a break. Let me recharge. Drive alone in a car rather than sit in class over lunch and "be there" some more.
I don't wanna go to rehab.
I drive around aimlessly, its safe.
I make it through class and am off to have a beer and dinner. Calico beans and an Imperial IPA is a great pairing.
I follow that with a aged chocolate stout from Oregon. Life is full, rich.
I'm a two beer guy, but at the end of two beers the bartender asks "what's next?dealer's choice?"
I appeared puzzled as I see they have a 30 year old Islay malt. I'm stunned, I'm puzzled. 30 year old islay in Alabama? Ok, i should go home or order the scotch. I flail and make a choice.
who said that? it made no sense. It was like I was already brain dead.
But the bartender told me about a new beer that showed up yesterday. "It's a multidimensional ale"
Great, I'm clearly in another dimension anyway. I nod.
Turns out the beer is brill. Only for sale in 'Bama. And not like any other ale. Body of an IPA but flavors of a stout.
But three beers...ugh. And all three beers are monsters, high gravity. I ponder than when from nowhere I hear
"Is this chair taken?"
No. No, No. It's not happening.
I usually sit at the end of the bar to limit this. I show at the bar early to avoid this. I leave after 2 beers to save myself from this.
No. No. No!
I look. I see. I cower.
I can say no to everything but this.
It can't be this.
I don't look. But finally I can't not ask.
"Excuse me, are you a -------?"
"Yes, I am."
Oh, oh no.
I can't say no to this, to these. There are so few of them. Why, oh why, me?
I know the drill you get the test over and over and over until you pass it.
I know I can't pass this test. It's like me and retiring from work. I'm never be able to retire and I'll never be able to say no to these. My only out is death.
Kill me now. I'm defenseless.
I think back on the convo. I said more words, dumb words, it was stupid,.
I turn beet red, then redder than beet red the more I think.
It is so good to be back in my room typing. I'm safe here. They can't ask me questions here, It's me and the TV talking about Amy. Amy is dead, she can't hurt me. And I'm not at the bar. It's OK. I can breathe now.
But back at the bar, I finish my beer. I say something, trying to make things less bad.
I make them more bad.
I'd like to think that these aliens who visit me will go back to their home planet and leave me alone.
I'd like to think that.
But they are here. And I'm here. And I think this only ends when I check out.