Saturday, October 29, 2011

In Vino Veritas

The amusing thing … the really amusing thing … is that I’ve intended for most of today to post about last night under this title.

And now, I’m pretty darned tipsy myself. I’ve never actually “drunken blogged” before. I’m not entirely certain that this counts as drunken blogging now – although, given the amount of typos in the pre-proofreading version of that sentence, I’m somewhere along the continuum. So take this post with a grain of salt. Or a hair of the dog...

To my great (and pleasant) surprise, there actually WERE people at the party on deck. (Deciding to go up on deck, with my netbook under my arm, was one of those decisions that makes me absolutely certain that humans have free will. Because I really couldn’t decide whether to go. Part of the time, I was certain I would do the rational thing and go back to my cabin, finish packing, and get a good night’s sleep. And the other part of the time, I figured it was my last chance to have some fun time with these folks, and I really should just stop doing the rational thing all the damn time. Irrational won. Although rational decided that, since I’d have to wake up the next morning on very little sleep, no alcohol would be consumed.)

So, I went up on deck and discovered a grand total of two groups of people. One group consisted of two passengers I knew and liked, who were speaking with a third person I’d never met. The other was comprised of crew. So I joined the folks I knew and liked, met the third, and immediately became engaged in a wide-ranging conversation which was partially fueled by alcohol.

If you know me, you know I drink rarely. (Kathy, my Ireland travelling companion, saw me drink a pint of cider, and commented that it was the most she’d ever seen me drink. This was because it was pretty much the most I’d ever drunk.) A friend in Law School advised me that not drinking while with people who were drinking can be quite a lot of fun, if you sort of look at it as a sociological experiment. And that was sort of what I did while up on deck last night – about half of me was participating in the conversation and laughing and joking along with the other three, and the other half of me was really enjoying watching where conversations go when people are somewhat released from social conventions by the freeing effects of being a little buzzed.

Or, to put things a bit more concretely, someone who I’d only known for about a week asked me, very honestly, how one knows what God’s plan is for them.

And my mind started spinning on several tracks at once. I knew enough to know that this particular question would not properly be answered by my saying that, while I personally think that the existence of a Supreme Being is something of an open question, I generally don’t think that said Being has a plan for me any more than it takes an interest in who wins the Super Bowl or the Best New Artist Grammy (i.e., none at all). But I also knew that this was a serious question coming from a serious place. So I took the “God” out of it and tried to provide a suitable answer to “how do I know if I’m doing the right thing with my life?”

It’s nearly a day later and I’m still puzzling over it – not the answer – the fact that the question came at me in those circumstances. A little booze and an interaction with people you know you’ll never see again can put you in a place to feel safe enough to ask something you might not otherwise ask … but really need to.

Eventually, that particular gathering broke up, leaving just two of us and the remnants of the crew party. Conveniently, the crew party now consisted of three people, two of whom were, without a doubt, my two favorite people on the crew. So, even though it was now past 1:00 a.m. and I had to wake up at 6:15, I booked on over there and hung out with them for a little while.

OK, maybe an hour.

I got back to my room in time to get a solid four hours of sleep.

It is somewhat unfortunate that I spend enough of my life in a state of sleep deprivation that I know I can function well enough, if a bit slowly, on four hours of sleep. So, yeah, I was a bit punchy going into today. Which was all kinds of insane, given where today went.

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