ERNIE AND ERNESTINA: Searching
Book Two, Chapter 246: Radishes and Sail Boats
Recently a thought struck me, causing me to feel a mix of sadness and anger and restlessness. It’s about this writing. I spend hours at it each day. What if I’m just being obsessive? What if the writing’s not worthwhile?
To think it might be inconsequential brings on a feeling of sadness because nothing else truly interests me. I live in disorder. My place is littered with droppings — mail, magazines, candy wrappers, papers. Ernie used to pick up my candy wrappers, mainly the silver foil from Hersey kisses. He called them Ernestina droppings.
He’s not here to pick up my droppings anymore.
I think I’m bored. I think I’m tired of daily living, of feeding myself and cleaning myself. Tired of everything but the writing.
When Ernie stopped drinking the first time — cold turkey — he quickly grew bored. “I decided to grow radishes,” he said. “Radish seeds sprout quickly, and it gave me something to look forward to. I like radishes with a bit of salt on them.”
But watching radish seeds sprout soon bored him, too. “So I bought a toy sail boat and took it to a pond.” But I’m sure Ernie was the one who wanted to sail away.
He went back to the bar to see his buddies. For a while he ordered Cokes. Then he ordered a whiskey. The bartender knew Ernie had stopped drinking. He said to Ernie: “I’ve seen the strongest men go down with this stuff. I’m not going to serve you whiskey.” Ernie said to him: “Goddammit, if you don’t serve me, I’ll just go down the street to another bar.”
The bartender served him the whiskey, and Ernie chased it with a beer. Maybe he wasn’t bored anymore, yet he was still angry. He never stopped feeling angry, and he never got to the bottom of it — the deep hurt — even after he stopped drinking permanently.
What’s at the bottom of my boredom? I want to get away from myself. I want to escape. I want to sail away, too. But to where? My Twelve-Step friends say: “Wherever you go, there you are.”
I will stay put. I will continue with this writing. It’s helping me. It’s grounding me. It’s guiding me. It’s not an escape. It’s real.