“it seemed like a good idea at the time.”
I drink to much.
It’s 2pm and we have already been drinking for a solid four hours. A normal Sunday. The music blares shitty club bass droning over white people dance. In a sober state this would be disheartening experience at best and life altering at worst. But I am not in a sober state. I exist somewhere in the middle ground between no longer in control of my own decisions and comfortably numb. More shots of goldschlager (yes goldschlager), another round of Bud, another 27, another trip to the beach with some pretty girl wrapped around my waist. The night moves quickly.
I cannot tell you how many sundays I have spent like this but from the scar on my arm where I put out a cigarette I would say its been about three months. How much money and how much damage I have done to my body is outweighed by all of the good times I had in the process, even if I can’t remember all of them.
This is the essence of negative space.
In the traditional sense negative space is the area around or between the subject of an image. I work with technical drawings and the measurements noted in the drawings are of the negative space being enclosed by the physical boundaries. When you buy a house it’s valued in square footage which is the negative space of the structure or property encloses. The drinking glass is only useful because of negative space. You get my point.
The negative space that I am referring to here is similar but not exactly the same. My negative space is a negative space of the mind. A negative space that my generation inhabits on a regular basis. Not the 9-5 40 hour work week part of our life. Not the shit shave and shower part of our life, or the the square meals, driving on the parkway, paying parking ticket, folding laundry, none of that bullshit. The negative space portion of our life usually exists between the hours of 5 pm and 2 am. These hours don’t have rules or regulations, there is no focus, no subject, no reason, just the negative space that give shape to the essential depiction.
Lets face it most of our live will be spent doing things we don’t want to do, things we have to do, things that we are expected to do. On any given day from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep I would say about fifteen percent of my choices are just that, choices. I can decided what I would like to do. But for a majority of the time and in effect a majority of our lives we are stuck underneath the boot of expectation. Which isn’t a bad thing. It’s good to have goals and not be a lazy drunken idiot all the time. But the facts remain. This is the positive space. The world everyone sees and acknowledges. The world our 401k will be built on, the fodder for small talk, your label as a human being.
24, no college degree, lives at home, works at a concrete factory 45 hours a week, makes 26,00 dollars a year, drives shitty truck, has stupid beard.
These are the things that a person can look at and judge you the make inferences and label you as such.
Hence the irony and the point of this post. When we are let loose and given time to make our own choices we head to the bar, we live recklessly, frenetically, beautifully.
We live in the age of Materialism. I find this stupid to say because I don’t think there was ever an age other than a materialistic age. Perhaps early man living off the earth was a spiritual being. Perhaps. But in all likelihood once we started to live in villages then towns and cities our outlook changed. Value could only be perceived in a material sense. Christ even God has a collection plate. Thus most and likely all of our positive space is concerned with or connected to materialistic idealism. How much money we make, who our friends are, what designer we wear, how our pubic hair looks (or doesn’t look I guess). We are obsessed, indoctrinated, and I would dare say genetically predisposed to feel this way.
But heres the kicker. Our negative space is anti-materalistic in a very literal sense hence the name and aligning with the subject which is excessive inebriation. Mouthful. Less. What we do when unburdened by the social expectations is escape materialism. Talk all the shit you want about bar culture but its fucking huge in the ol’ US of A. I have worked in a bar town my whole life. Charleston was a bar city. Booze is the lifeblood of this nation. If you could rub some parents honest I bet 50% of us were conceived on some drunken night with mama face down in the sand somewhere. Our acts of nihilism, inhibition, rebellion, self-destruction are directly linked, nay, born of abject materialism.
So, as I take another drag of a smoke and hear the hallowed echoing laughter of idiots reverberating off the stucco and glass walls. As the exotically beautiful bartender pours another round of some strangely toxic yet highly agreeable dark liquid. As the faint aroma of inebriation and cheep perfume mix with the distant shattered starlight and everything tumbles slowly into my misfiring cerebellum a slow smile creeps across my lips. Negative space envelops the cosmos like a great sarcophagus buried beneath pyramids configured by someone else’s hands. Unseen things light unseen ways. Blacked out.