A friend of mine came over last night . She showed some black-and-blue bruises on her arms and one lumpy bruise near her eye . Like the latest boyfriend had beaten her up . But , no , she said , it wasn’t a boyfriend .
It was the rot-gut whiskey , the hooch , the panther piss . She had gone to a whiskey tasting party at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles . Of all places to raise the drunken sails , that’s an interesting choice . The expression ‘three sheets to the wind’ doesn’t quite tell the tale .
Her two companions entered the same troubled water , she said . All three got inelegantly blotto , to be blunt about it .
He, the husband friend , went off at some point not to return . The wife friend ” was going crazy” because the husband went missing . They had all three over-stayed their welcome at Sobriety Village by then , long-overstayed it , and had skipped town for the dark wilds of unincorporated Inebriation . The husband turned up sometime later in a men’s room stall in the station . If you’ve ever been in the men’s room at Union Station you will know what a hell hole it is . I’m half-afraid to go in there during the day and sober . I have done so only in dire emergencies . Going in there sloshed and in the evening is a terror unimaginable , or quite in line with the common custom , I suppose . It all depends on your point of view .
Until the 1960s that restroom was something of an elegant place . There was an attendant always on duty in there wearing a starched white jacket and holding towels at the ready over his arm . Everyone was , of course , wonderful in those days , because those were the Good Old Days .Those days are long gone , though . You may have noticed that . The heyday of Union Station , by the way , were the Good Old Days of the Second World War .
The two women wobbled over from the whiskey tasting soire and sat in the big cushy leather chairs inside the station . Any port in a storm ! In the Good Old Days , anyone could sit in a chair there inside Union Station and relax , perhaps to contemplate the universe or the exquisite tile work on the walls , or the beamed ceiling , or the designs on the marble floor of the station , or whatever . Nowadays , though , a sheriff’s deputy approached and told them to leave . Nowadays a weary soul must have a train ticket and, therefore , be prepared to verify a destination in order to sit in a cushy comfortable leather chair . The authorities decided to institute this policy to keep the homeless hoards from having a haven for the night .
Well , rules is rules , so the two inebriated women had to go elsewhere to suffer the effects of their
stupidity liquid miscalculation. Meanwhile , the lost husband was either asleep or passed out in the men’s room stall ; he doesn’t remember which , evidently . I didn’t get the story of what happened to this happy couple as the night progressed .
My friend has a sister savior who drove down to LA that night on a rescue mission . Some of homeless did , no doubt , that night , the same thing : ask salvation for the night at the Rescue Mission . Oh , I didn’t yet mention that she fell over a whiskey-tasting soire chair , having misjudged the trajectory of her sloshed and bender-bashed body , the dexterity of her feet , and the distance and time to the chair seat . That’s how she got the bruises , she says , but she doesn’t really remember too many of the details . She was , by that time , fried . Her head hit the floor , she is sure . She was bent at the time , of course . She was zozzled .
I asked her was it scotch she was ‘tasting’ . She looked baffled and said ” It was whiskey ” indicating , I think , that she didn’t know scotch from bourbon from rye whiskey from Canadian from moonshine . And she said that there was some food at the ‘whiskey-tasting’ event , but that she had refused it since she had had a big lunch hours earlier .
Oh , and did I mention that this friend isn’t some dopey teenager or college kid . I won’t tell her age , but she’s old enough to know better . She doesn’t usually drink whiskey . In the last twenty or thirty years I’ve never seen her drink whiskey . Maybe a margarita once in awhile or a glass of wine or two with dinner .
Oh , I take that back . She had fairly recently developed a liking for cocktails mixed with bourbon . She says she’s off whiskey now , however , for good , after the Union Station fiasco . That’s what she says . That’s what they all say . Better be drunk on life next time , I think , and leave it at that .