I think one of my students is on drugs. It is the only thing that would explain her erratic behavior and the mysterious reasons given for it.
I recognize her behavior because I had mysterious problems too — mysterious because I did not understand them or their cause — as a result of my abusive relationship with Reeducation and therefore with myself.
I have been saying things are wonderful lately but it is only because I have flashes of brilliance. For a long time I thought I had lost access to these entirely. I have had Reeducation removed, but some days I still have its habits.
In retrospect I realize that I undertook Reeducation to learn how to handle family alcoholism, although I did not realize at the time that that was my precise purpose. I only knew there was something seriously wrong with me. I had long planned to see someone about it once I was well enough established in life to be able to pay for this.
One day I told Reeducation in passing that I had seen a wonderful set by a famous jazz band. That is how Reeducation discovered that living in New Orleans and not yet having acquired friends who shared my musical interests, I was going out by myself. With some thought I had developed a modus operandi to do this without getting hit on. Imitating some incredibly cool, older Black men I had seen, I would choose a tiny table with only one chair, order club soda, tip very well, close my face, and leave after the first set. This worked very well. You could work up until the 10 PM news, go out, see one set, and be home in plenty of time to be at work early the next day.
Reeducation could not believe it. At my age and station I should be getting drunk, staying out until all hours, and picking up men in hopes of getting pregnant. I was incredulous that so great a degree of self destruction should be considered typical. At that time in my life I had not yet met anyone who would come up with a program like that.
Now, however, I have encountered such people and I understand much more. I have strong reactions to such people, reactions I am studying.
Just before last Hallowe’en I met through a consulting job a woman who wanted me to go with her to hear music in New Orleans. Now, I will drive to New Orleans on a whim. But to go from Maringuoin at night with a virtually random person, to wander randomly in the French Quarter, seemed odd. I had an informal party to go to, involving some mutual acquaintances, and I said look, I am not going all the way to New Orleans, at night, with someone I don’t know, but you’re welcome to come to the party.
She did and the experience was chaotic and draining, although I could not define why — it was just a feeling. There was a strange aura about her. Having no particular commitment to her, I just cut her out of my phone lists. In retrospect I realize that she was an alcoholic and I had known it. The main pieces of evidence was that while she claimed to be looking for friends, it was quite clear that in reality she was only seeking drinking partners. The indirect piece of evidence was how on edge I felt — enough so that when later that weekend I encountered some other people who were differently invasive and who I now know are their own alcoholic environment, I felt myself bare my teeth: “don’t you even try, I have had enough already, push me any further and I will absolutely bury you.”
Early in the Mardi Gras season I actually did go to New Orleans with a relatively new friend. She is related to the “differently invasive” described above but on the surface does not resemble them. I felt drained in a way I did not understand, but in the same was as I had after meeting the Hallowe’en woman described above. After that I did not see a great deal of her, but weeks into Lent, when I did, I realized that she, too, was an alcoholic and understood why I had found her to be so draining. And as luck would have it, I ran into our mutual friends later that weekend. Once again they began pushing on boundaries, telling me in this case that I should be more tolerant of their friend. Once again I found myself virtually baring my teeth at them, willing to do whatever I could to prevent them from making me feel guilty enough about having perceived the drinking problem that I would admit that the real problem was that I had perceived it.
A FEW BASIC PRINCIPLES
It is my understanding that in science, if you repeat an experiment and get the same results, you can say there is a pattern. You can hypothesize that there is a real phenomenon out there — that you are not just imagining it, not just wishing it. You can therefore begin to analyze and interpret it.
And some postmodernists say the scientific method is oppressive. Reeducation said intellectual activity alienated one from reality. I have always found the opposite.
I also find it interesting that abusive people want you to mistrust your intellect, and overestimate the power of your imagination and will. What you observed is wrong, but those bruises, for example, are there because you imagined them into being.