Chapter 87: The Click

There is special state of mind called the “click.” It’s hard to describe it. It’s that brief, ephemeral moment you achieve when you have had just the right amount- not too much, not too little- to drink. The “click” is hard to maintain.  It’s a level of consciousness that makes life both understandable and comfortable. Stress is gone.  Clarity arrives.  Peace ensues…

Tennessee Williams, one of our greatest playwrights and one of our greatest drunks, created many memorial characters. Brick, in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” addresses the “click.”  It’s that moment he achieves when the demands of his desperate wife, Maggie, the expectations of his family and the uncomfortable feelings he may have had for his friend Skipper no longer matter. It’s a moment of peace. He drinks to find that peace in his complicated world and Maggie accuses him of devoting himself to the “occupation of drinking.”

Drinking, to me, isn’t an occupation;  it’s an occasional hobby.  I don’t understand desperate alcoholics who drink to obliterate the world, who drink to kill a part of themselves.  That’s not the “click” I’m seeking….

In a world where what was once normal and acceptable behavior is now held suspect by Health Nazis, that is a dangerous hobby to have…

It’s now too easy and way too politically correct to condemn those who prefer a few quiet moments with their friend Jack Daniels on the porch.  People now are entirely too anxious to judge and make themselves feel better by having an “intervention” and sending one off to rehab if a person has that one cocktail too many…

Drinking is now suspect….

I was raised around drinkers. My Father drank. His friends drank. My Aunt Goldie drank. Everyone I grew up with and admired drank. It was a part of our culture.  It was a part of celebrations of life, life itself and comfort when life became too complicated for the moment at hand.

Mind you, they didn’t drink to the point of danger or excess- at least not very often. They drank to find their “clicks.”

And they knew there was nothing wrong with a man or woman sitting on the porch, alone or with friends, having a cocktail or three to find the “click.” They may not have used that verbiage, but that was the goal.  The internal search for truth, peace or clarity that just the right amount of bourbon or scotch can bring….

I sometimes enjoy finding the “click”. That moment of relaxation where you aren’t contemplating the next problem, but are relaxing into your bourbon or scotch and finding that brief period of  peace in a too busy world in just that moment. That time you have a heightened sense of awareness of the clouds and the sky when you look up from your porch. Of the beauty of your yard and how the seasonal changes are impacting it. That time when problems cease to seem so problematic as you are finding a quieter place where you are at one with the world and no longer fighting it alone.  That time when you somehow find perspective…

Some people find this in yoga or through meditation. I enjoy those, too, but  there are still times when a downward facing dog just doesn’t compete with Dewars.

In a world where there is so much pretense and where image is so important, there is a relief in relaxing into a scotch-induced peace while sitting in a comfortable chair on a screened porch on an autumn, winter, spring or summer night…

My best friends and I, in both High School and College. bonded over beer or bourbon and that other now forbidden pleasure, cigarettes, during nights of long conversations.  In my twenties and thirties, we laughed over cocktails while both planning what to do next and enjoying the moment as it was….

Now, when I find that elusive “click” I often mentally drift back to those days and think of those times and those people.  Not with a sense of melancholy, but with a feeling of spiritual kinship that brings them forward with me to this day.  A feeling of oneness between younger selves, looking so anxiously to the future, and the comfort that now comes with experience and, yes, age.   Taking a moment to appreciate the rare pleasure of having survived this long and appreciating what I have learned along the way.  Feeling comfortable,  as opposed to feeling the fear and anxiousness of youth.  And thinking so fondly of the ones who have shared this journey with me….

There is a special peace in that kind of “click.”

I don’t feel guilty for my “click” as I remember my cliques…

I feel warmer and more comfortable with life- and know I will have to face it again tomorrow without the “click.”

But, the time with the “click” somehow gives me more strength and patience to do that…

I don’t want to ever give up those moments on the porch with the “click” and the peace it brings me from the present and the comforts it brings me from the past…

I will just be sure not to jump any high hurdles, like Brick, and seek to lose myself in the “click” too often or for too long…

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2 Responses to Chapter 87: The Click

  1. Frank Carter says:

    I know the “click.” And you’re right about the times. My dad once said at the dinner table just as he finished a straight Wild Turkey with two rocks, “Carters are drinking people. We go back a long way and have been known as drinking people for as long as anyone around here can remember.” This was said on the occasion of my bringing home a couple of chums from UNC my freshman year. No doubt, we joined him in yet another of his usual three drinks per evening between dinner and bedtime.

  2. Kim says:

    Your delightful insights and shared fun adventures propel me to share with you a sign I just saw, all painted and decorated:

    because no good story ever started with eating a salad!

    Keep up your gifted writings! A long time happy reader, first time commenter and – unnamed years before you attending GWHS – a past president of the SBVs

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