It's so good to be able to have friends over and not worry that anyone is going to get drunk, stay until 1 AM, or throw up in the bathroom. And to hear so much laughter and happy talk from a bunch of people who aren't drinking alcohol is remarkable, especially when the social scene in this town seems to mostly revolve around people drinking.
So yesterday, we chilled out. We had plenty of left overs so there was no need to cook anything. We did go out to check on the garden and picked enough blueberries to have them with meals this week. All was going really well until I got the call last night from my recently deceased cousin's wife.
She was drunk and slurring, ranting and screaming into the phone. She had traveled back to their home to spend a couple of days. Somehow my cousin's death notice had gotten on the internet, and a friend had called her to say how sorry he was that R. had died. This made her angry because she now fears that she won't be safe in the house once people know her husband is dead--this being a house that hasn't been lived in for about six years because they were both staying at her mother's house in another part of the state to be near the major medical hospital there. She kept yelling over and over that "No one had the right to put that he had died in the paper or on the internet". I explained that his death notice is part of the public record and couldn't be hidden from people.
N. was also telling me how she had done everything she could for my cousin and didn't think that she was responsible for his death. There was more ranting about his mother and how her shadow person had sucked the life from him. More tears and drunken mumbling. This went on for about 40 minutes during which time I was doing my best to get off the phone with her without being rude. Finally, I told her that I was going to hang up because she needed to get some rest.
I have now decided that I won't answer any more calls from her in the evening. I am hoping that her drunken call was a one time occurrence. I know that she used to drink and party quite a bit before she and my cousin married. She would occasionally get drunk when I would visit them, but over the past 8 years, she has been sober and caring for him. Now that he is gone, I hope that she doesn't start drinking with regularity. It's not my problem, and I plan to keep it that way. Thankfully, she is two states away. No service is planned, so I won't be going up there to visit.
It's strange that I felt angry at myself for listening to her go on and on. I wished that I had told her after about ten minutes that I had to go. Next time, I won't answer. If I do talk to her and she is irrational, I will get off the phone. I sat through one phone call and that's enough. I am sorry that she has lost the love of her life. I feel compassion and sadness about that. But I am done now with the irrational blaming, anger, and drunken mumblings. I cannot have a sensible conversation with a drunk. And I don't have to.
Evidently, drunk dialing has become a problem phenomenon. The New York Times reports:
".......drunk dialing usually limits itself to times long after the close of business and beyond the daily commute. It is in those dark hours of late night and wee hours of early morn, when most people have retired their cellphones for overnight charging, that intoxicated revelers flip open their cellphones and dial into regret."
I have this disease late at night sometimes, involving alcohol and the telephone. I get drunk, and I drive my wife away with breath like mustard gas and roses. And then, speaking gravely and elegantly into the telephone, I ask the telephone operators to connect me with this friend or that one, from whom I have not heard in years.—Kurt Vonnegut