Bender

Bender

By Elizabeth Harper

More and more I understand wanting to go on a bender
Get away from it all
Away from all the stuff that needs to be dealt with
All the petty, mundane, routine, inconvenient,
never-ending, time-consuming minutia of daily life
I need to email or call that person and that person and that person
I’m waiting for this person to get back to me, respond to my email
This person is asking me questions I don’t know the answers to
This other person doesn’t understand what I’m asking
even though I wrote in multiple complete sentences
And sent pictures

The laundry is overflowing
There are dishes in the sink
Junk mail on my desk, or is it junk?
I have to look at it to make sure it’s not important
I really should dust
It seems like I always miss something
Do I need to get my tile re-caulked?
There’s that issue with the steam trap and
building maintenance is demanding access
This is some mundane shit

Taxes, oh god, taxes
Waiting for other people to get papers to me
I have to wait on them to do their jobs before I can get my stuff together
It’ll get done at the last possible moment, or be late
I’ve never turned it in late before, but there’s always a first,
and maybe it’s not such a disaster
But it’s just the idea of things not getting dealt with

Getting my passport has been on my to-do list
but I can’t remember the exact date of my divorce
It’s got to be on some piece of paper somewhere
I really should scan these things
Now that I have a scanner
I don’t think I had a scanner before
And anyhow, scanning documents is tedious
Sometimes it doesn’t even come out right
Sometimes it’s better to take a picture with your phone
But then you have to keep track of all the pictures
Have both a virtual and a physical filing system

I just want to go to a bar and read
For hours
For days
Though I probably shouldn’t be out drinking in public for days at a time
That might be unattractive, or unsafe

I can drink and read at home, of course, but then I’m surrounded
by all the things I should be doing, the unfinished projects,
the never-ending housework

I used to make myself watch Hoarders
to scare myself into making myself deal with things
Because it would be so easy just to give up,
to stop dealing with things,
to stop trying
But then I might end up like one of those people surrounded
by their own garbage, in homes with limited living space,
unusable kitchens, stuck in one chair watching TV, eating TV dinners,
dreaming of escape, dreaming of death,
embarrassed to have people come over

Suicide is always an option, of course,
but if you do it right, you don’t come back

Is it a sign I’m getting stronger and more competent
that I just want a bender, to go away and come back?
Maybe I need a vacation
I don’t like to travel
It’s too much effort, bad for the environment

I want a bender, a bender, a bender …

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