This is my favorite icon, forever and ever, amen. Except for all the others that are my favorites.
I got my copy of Drinking: A Love Story in the mail, and have been skimming bits of it, all of which resonate so far. The part about being a "boring" drunk. The double-whammy addictions of food and drinking. How there's always some other addiction to replace the one you get rid of. The reaction, "Of *course* I drink alone--I *live* alone." (Snerk.) The lust for a drink which is like the zombie lust for brains, as when you're sitting at a dinner party that is slowly chipping away at your will to live and you know that if you can just get your hands on a drink all will be well. The use of alcohol to overcome shyness and self-esteem issues, to reinvent your personality. How certain representations of drinking in novels or films--or just seeing the artfully twisted stem of a cocktail glass--can trigger a Pavlovian longing.
Something I don't think I got from the book, but maybe from one of the Scudder novels--how you can get a contact high, how you can begin to enter your drunk, simply by having the first drink set in front of you. You begin to relax *then*, and not with the first sip. I swear to god I begin to get drunk as I'm driving home from the liquor store.
The most interesting book you've never read: The Weight of the World by Peter Handke. It's an entire book of impressions, observations, and ideas that accumulate flake by flake until they're a thick, deep snow of consciousness. Excerpt:
Looking out the window, I am surprised at the sight of something perfectly commonplace, a plane coming in for a landing in the sunlight (the plane appears)
What do I do in my moment of panic? I raise my hand and straighten my glasses
Even in my handwriting I've come to see an electrocardiogram
Brown drops on the wall. They seem to have been sprayed on from below, because the higher ones are lighter in color; they start at the bottom with a long fine line and look like drop-shaped parachutes with point-shaped jumpers attached; in another place a blue liquid has run in worm shapes
Sometimes the concsciousness of death strikes me as a bet (though I couldn't say whom I was betting with) and as such amuses me in a way
The West Indian who hands out bread before meals has shed his skin twice a year since he's been in Europe
With all this peace and quiet, this drowsiness in the afternoon, I have a feeling that someone is lurking somewhere like a spider: ready to rush to my aid
The patient who was just brought into intensive care is squeezing blue handkerchiefs in both fists
"Ne respirez plus, monsieur!"
An hour immobilized by fear
If I were to say out loud: "I don't want to die," I myself would be to blame for the phrases people would use in reply
The wasted out-of-doors!
The old man, helpless against the sadness of parting, pinched himself furiously in the leg when he saw his wife in tears, looking in at him through the window
Now I feel really sick, but only with the fear that's been put into me here
He's an Armenian but says he feels French, because he fought in the French army
Headline in the paper: Twenty-year old dies of heart attack. Relieved to see it was a horse
Relieved to see it was a horse.