when you meet extraordinary people, they’re often in the shit.
scott was probably the most extraordinary person i ever met. imagine sitting in the june drizzle without socks on, outside of a brick building that looks like either an old prison or a former hospital, no shoes just socks that you washed in the sink the night before because you trusted climate science, and oh by the way you’re in detox and that makes things weird in general, and having that guy ask you how you were.
because that dude was not doing well. and i am fine, comparatively. by most possible metrics. but this beautiful person just said, “hey” and it was the beginning of a week of growing old with an old man and me feeling like “oh, maybe this is exploitative” and then “damn dude really likes when i bother to wake him up for our smoke break in the morning.”
and other such moral qualms that are only interesting to people who don’t care about much.
scott was one of two scotts. don’t get me wrong, the other scott is a contender for awesome scott, but he didn’t quite cut it. awesome scott was just this guy who hung out, and who had a hell of a life, and who i promised i would drive to malden if he needed it. and i meant it. took the day off from work, looked for a call from a random massachusetts number. just really wanted to say, “hey, let’s do this drive, you’re greater when you aren’t feeble.” but he never called, and i can’t actually call him, either, because he’s homeless and just gets burners.
but he said to the people at the detox, “look, if you can’t get me to new hospital, i’ll end up dead on my ass. and they said we are looking into that. and he said look into your marketing material because they actually promise that. right there.
and they said, okay. because they were all underpaid and understaffed, and that’s things.
i talked to scott the first time because i was shaky. i don’t know if you’ve ever been shaky from alcohol but it’s a pain in the ass. first there’s the part where you’re doing this thing you can’t control and creates a lot of anxiety. then there’s the anxiety part, where you’re like, “gosh i really hope people don’t notice and judge me,” and the part where you’re like, “ah, this isn’t okay” takes over, and your body is like, “are you dying?” and your mind is like, “maybe. actually, probably.” and your mind is also like, “good work doing some basic research and going to detox.”
and then someone like scott shows up and says hello.
and you’re like, fuck it, there’s all these weird cliques developing, and i just wanna talk to the person who isn’t a part of any of that shit. and he’s like, can i bum a cigarette? and you’re like, dude, if i’m still talking to you in a week, i’ll drive you to malden. have all the cigarettes you need.
and of course you’re still talking to him in a week because christ the cliques are strong in detox, and because you feel fucking bad that he hasn’t made his own, and because this other dude who probably feels similar joined in. and because even though scott doesn’t go to any of the sessions, you’ll still wake or rouse him for smoke breaks. because you, other dude, and scott can play uno. because scott is basically just a “how’s life” guy, and you’re like, “pretty bad,” and he’s like, “same but i guess we’ll try anyway.”
the interesting thing about detox isn’t all the absurdity so much as it is the flattening. you’re all here, motherfuckers. this guy’s a lawyer from boston who can talk a good fucking game at .26 (but can’t handle a hangover for shit). this is a creeper hitting on the hot women, who’ll never recover from a broken leg sustained in an accident ten years ago. this is some kid from lynn who’s just getting off the taper, and the sweat is just pouring out, and good fucking god. you’ll make it.
and the people who won’t. sorry, christian, but when you said you spurned a drug test at the hospital, i officially stopped believing in you. sorry, dozens of others, i hope you make it, but i don’t think you’re going to. for what it’s worth, i don’t think i’m going to, either, and this isn’t an attempt to throw shade.
scott, though. i doubt he’ll make it, either. i just want him to more than anyone. i gave him my number. i answer random calls now, hoping it’s his new obama-phone.
i wish it was. i got out of detox really quick, and i did not give that dude enough of a hug.