Ah, the designated driver. Loser of a coin toss or just the next one up in some organized ritual of responsibility. However it happens, the poor sap has to sit and listen as others laugh at things that aren’t funny, watch as moods swing from glee to gloom, last all the way through to the late night ruminations in which slurring intellectuals discuss the mysteries of life and what comes after.
“Dude, I never believed in God, either. Then I got this concussion? And I had this vision? And I saw my dead grandmother? I shit you not.”
Poor abstentious bastard. The painfully sober driver of drunks doesn’t enjoy an evening so much as he survives it. He lingers in unwelcome sanity while witnessing the sodden antics of others. It bewilders him because normally he finds these people so amusing and interesting. Tonight, they are only infernally loud as they bob and weave across dance floors and living rooms.
“Dude! This tune is jamming! Fuckin’ yeah! This song is written about me!”
A young lady falls out of her chair and screams laughter. Everybody but the miserable, dry wretch finds it funnier than anything that has happened in the entire history of the planet. Until the next guy at the table lights the wrong end of his cigarette and the whole room sprays beer and hilarity, believing that this now is the funniest thing ever.
Pity the sober one with the car keys. His mood of restraint and irritation remains constant while those of others are marked by wicked highs and lows, like lines on a seismograph. A young man howling and high fiving one moment is brooding deeply over an ex-girlfriend or dead dog the next. Friends who were air guitaring together to “More than a Feeling” just an hour ago are now throwing fists at each other.
Drunks are favored only by other drunks. To the man with the hollow leg forced to take a night off the bottle, they are crude and obnoxious and intolerable. He grumbles all the way home while his hammered friends sing and shout out car windows at people walking on the street.
“Hooooooooooooo! Yeah! Did you see that chick look at me? Hoooooooooo! Yeah!”
He will get them home safe and alive even though he hates them a little on this particular night. In the morning he will find cigarette burns in his upholstery and maybe some puke on the floor. But by then he is over it. Because his sentence of sobriety has been fulfilled and tonight, he’s going to party like it’s senior year all over again. Yeee-friggin-haw! A toast to the designated driver and all that he endures.
The poor, dry bastard.