Going Down at the Chart Room May 7, 2012Posted by Mark Folse in Toulouse Street.
To understand why Bukowski slowly drank himself to death, sit with the quiet drunks mid-bar during Happy Hour at the Chart Room on a day when ambivalence is the next step up the ladder you’re working toward like a drunk’s token. On one side is the stout and matronly woman who seems to be fortifying herself for a bus ride home to Metairie, perhaps a retired mother of strippers unable to kick the Quarter; on the other a bantam working man with his ball cap visor rigidly fixed on the napkin-and-match holder, his thin, leathery neck stretched turtle-taut out of his worn denim shirt, two hands around a glass the only thing that moves. We share two ashtrays between the three of us but no one makes eye contact. All around you the alcohol content of the jostling and gesticulating room is measured in decibels.
Sit here at the edge of headache wishing you were in some country roadhouse where the BC Powder was up next to the pig lips, contemplating the prospect of employment in a sterile Kenner office in the lofty upper echelons of the copier business, your upcoming interview with some guy named Roy from Houston, his buzz cut and golf tan palpable in his howdy, glad-to-sell-you voice. All you really want is to take your long anticipated severance vacation and vanish for a month into the pile of unread books beside your bed, to get up every morning and write, but you are a perfect fit for what they need: a perfect fit, like a razor tailored suit and doesn’t he look as good as life?
If I’m doomed to sign the book for the next corporate ship freighted and ready maybe I should skip a second domestic and order up a full bottle of rum, steadily drink myself into it until it’s time to pull the strings and raise the impossible doll-house rigging, slowly sink into the nautical ambiance, the sea-bird screech of Chart Room happy hour.
If it is possible to go home and overdose on all the unread books piled around my bed, consider this the suicide note.