She came to visit the other night, sometime after 9 p.m., something that doesn’t happen very often; basically because, God’s honest truth, she’s too stinkin’ drunk to walk across her yard to my porch or because she typically passes out around eight. She’s wrapped in a thick, pink, terry cloth robe, and really (I know this is so bitchy), I immediately thought, “pig in a blanket.” Ugh. She sat down next to me, smiling that dumb-ass smile that drunks get when words become too hard to sort through.
“Oh, my dear …. on the lane …. drama, draaaama.”
“What, Dotty (not her real name but she could easily be a Dotty), haven’t heard a thing.” Can she see my eyes roll, I suspect not.
“The twins …. that pool …. thirty thousand dollars …. Leo’s daughters …. little cunts ….”
Ugh. Like that for fifteen minutes, my finishing her sentences, her nodding and laughing and cursing and close to tipping over in her chair. She paws, she drawls, she drools. Play the work card, said my brain, a trick I often employ regardless of whether I’m working the next day or not. “Well, so sorry, got to go, Dotty, work tomorrow. Good night, sweetie.”
“Good night, my dear,” and she stands, opens her robe and flashes me, twirling around the porch several times. Not an ugly woman, but yes, pig in a blanket. Ugh.
There are many things that disturb me about Drunk Neighbor Dotty. As another neighbor has said, “she has more issues than Time magazine,” and indeed she does, but alcoholism is the primary one. She’s my peer, a woman close to 65, a woman who assumes the role of a twenty something party girl, holding hangover court on her porch once or twice a week. Her attempts at acceptance and recognition are ridiculed and rightfully so—and I want to shake her. I want to tell her to put the bottle down, stop being a twat, get over the mountain of fucking pity parties that stand in the way of everything. And, of course, I can’t and won’t say those things. I’m not her family, not privy to her demons, I don’t want to be a fixer. I’m 27 years sober and far enough removed from the insidiousness of addiction that I am no longer as empathetic as I once was. It’s her fight. I just wish she would get past the denial and get on with it. But it’s also a sisterhood thing–and it’s painful (in ways I don’t want to remember) to watch this woman spiral downwards.