Faultless Best

I read Marion Winik’s Telling this weekend. It resonated. She writes about being out all night, doing acid, with her sister, arriving home as her mother is having a morning cup of coffee. Marion tells her mom that they’re tripping but it’s okay because “We don’t think we’re Jesus Christ.” Her mother sighs and gets up to pour herself another cup of coffee. She tells the girls to get some sleep before their grandmother arrives.

At the beginning of my polite, teenage secession, when I’d been out too late, and thought I’d sneak up the back stairs, sometimes my mother would be sitting at the top of the stairs, “Well, well, well, so glad you deigned to join us.” Like hers, my vocabulary increases exponentially to my anger. I knew I was in deep if I was deigning to do anything.

I didn’t go home tripping until after I’d been out on my own for a couple of years. The Boyfriend and I had been living in New Orleans. We hadn’t seen our families for a long time so we decided to go “home” for the holidays. We spent Christmas with his parents then went to Mum’s in between Christmas and the New Year. I was excited to be going home.

I asked Mum to make beef stroganoff. I can’t imagine why I asked for that, not being a big beef eater, maybe I figured The Boyfriend would like it. We got settled and talked with my family for a while then went to visit the Bob Dylan Republican before dinner. The President of the Sportsman’s Club (the Sportsman’s Club was the converted garage where we skipped high school and drank keg beer) happened to be there too, with an abundance of windowpane acid.

We had some drinks, several, and I ate 3 hits of windowpane. I had a propensity for making trouble out of thin air back then. The President offered me one hit but it didn’t seem to be effective so I took a little more, twice. I missed dinner.

The Boyfriend was disgusted by my behavior. He took my drunk ass back to Mum’s where he took his logical, well-behaved, self to bed. Me too, I went to bed too, passed out drunk. I woke up in the middle of the night- TRIPPING. Sneaking around the house, naked, certain I was living in the midst of a plot, insurgents, spies, intrigue and espionage.

Somehow I made it back upstairs and into some clothes. My sister got me settled in her bed, where I watched the patches on the quilt rise and fall, while the drawers on her dresser opened and closed- spontaneously.

We all went downstairs to have coffee with Mum. Nobody but me saw the big, pink, tidal wave crest over the bridge. The Boyfriend thought fresh air would be beneficial. We went for a walk on the beach; the stones rose up to meet my feet. After three days I stopped tripping. I just wanted to leave and go “home”. My mother waved goodbye from the door as she watched me go. She must have been relieved.

Winik writes about parenting “…like your own mother, like everybody else you know- you do what you think is right. And when you can’t always live up to that, you do the best you can.”

I have never been my mother’s fault.


About elroyjones

Married, no children, responsibly self-directed, living happily.
This entry was posted in Human Condition and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Faultless Best

  1. I like your last sentence…sometimes takes us a good few years to come to that. And, I did the best I could.

    • elroyjones says:

      I’ve been lucky in knowing that I am my own fault. I chose not to have children based largely on my mother’s experience as a divorced parent; I’ve never had it in me to do the best I could to the degree required in parenting. I don’t know how she stood us.

  2. Living with the choices we’ve made is probably the most difficult thing there is. The pain in our singed feet, from burning bridges while we still stand on them, seems to last the rest of our lives. I myself don’t know that I’d do anything different if I were given a second chance. Popeye syndrome.

    • elroyjones says:

      Me too, I am what I am. Seems to be a recurring theme in my life. The only thing I’d do differently if I had a second chance is eliminate the residual guilt.

  3. Peggy says:

    I just find it so odd that the Bob Dylan Republican professes not to know the Boyfriend. When the Boyfriend’s book was published, I mentioned it to the BDR and he said he didn’t know who that was. He was probably tripping all the time. I like getting older and stop thinking we are a product of our upbringing. I think the oldest child understands that more and more and maybe the younger one will some day, too. If not, oh well. Parents do the best they can. There’s no manual that comes with the children.

    • elroyjones says:

      The BDR was involved in his own life and people as they related to him. I understand completely why The Boyfriend would have escaped his notice. I don’t think the BDR was tripping all the time; he probably had his hands full with his own personal intrigue.
      Sending the Winik book to you, you will love it. It is so us, in so many badly behaved ways. Liberating overall.

  4. gkinnard says:

    Windowpane, windowpane, windowpane . . . it has been a verrrry long time since I’ve heard the word, windowpane.

    I remember trying to fill my car up while chasing the pump’s hose as it moved like a snake all across the gas station’s lot. I remember “watching” musical notes come out of my car’s dash as I drove—actually “seeing” music is something everyone should experience at least once. I remember getting paranoid and locking myself in a bathroom stall then shrinking down to a few inches tall and wondering how the devil I was going to reach the lock—several feet up—to get out. Yeah . . . I remember windowpane.

    As always, I love your tales of the past!

    . . . big, pink, tidal wave cresting the bridge . . . ooooh yeah!

    • elroyjones says:

      That was a loooong trip and the last one too.
      Recently, I have accepted that it was funny to be bad. I’m well-behaved now but there was an extended period where I was unbelievably and unwittingly selfish.

  5. sacha1nch1 says:

    it’s something i’ve never done but always wanted to; i’d love to see the music….i must start mixing with the wrong crowd before too long….i do hope my kids don’t grow up too good or too bad; i can start giving them ideas if i see them them veering off in the wrong direction….or the right one

    • elroyjones says:

      Acid seemed like a good idea at the time. It’s not something I’ve done since the episode described above and not something I am likely to do again. I watched a documentary that highlights its use for terminally ill patients to help calm them in accepting the inevitable.
      Sometimes the right thing is the wrong thing to do. That was yesterday’s epiphany, more on that today, perhaps.

      • sacha1nch1 says:

        i feel that way about cocaine; they were without doubt good ideas at the time, but i can never see me doing it again; especially with none of the secondary benefits other drugs have…..epiphany on; i look forward to them all

  6. judithatwood says:

    I never tripped — didn’t know too many people who did.. Your post gives me another layer of understanding. I am frankly amazed that you were about to sit and drink coffee — I bet I’d want to crawl in a hole and shiver. Thanks for this post.

  7. I hated it when people would make sheets of acid on orange paper and call it orange sunshine. Just because it was orange. I grew up in the Bay in the day. I tried some of the famous ‘name brand’ stuff’. It is so far beyond the strychnine cut crap that came out later. I loved this post. I wish I could do some of my real stories on mine. But I do have a great ‘coming home after a rough night’ story that I will have to squeeze in.

  8. Doug says:

    I’ve been thinking tweetin’ while trippin’ might tickle me but I’m not sure I have the character for it. Best trip…back in the then…sunset until sunrise at a joint called “The Chute” in Fort Benning, Ga. Worst one …a stripper, a snake, and a thunderstorm.

    As to fault for it all…I’m still flummox.

    Fine post.

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