I often get drunk in my basement, despite the dampness, despite the chipping paint and strange, armored bugs that crawl out from under the cabinets and my writing desk. Through the floorboards above, only slightly muffled by the cheap living room carpet, I can hear my wife and children stomping and laughing, enjoying each other's presence. They seldom notice my absence. At least, I hope they seldom notice my absence.

I often get drunk in my basement, while goofing around with my wood-carving tools, or just organizing my projects, which often, when I come down the next day, are buried under empty beer cans and curly, tangled shavings of wood. My workshop often looks as though it was abandoned long ago, though I am down here most every night. Each morning I religiously replace each chisel, each saw and router bit. Then I begin again.

I often get drunk in my basement, to the dull rasp of sandpaper rubbing down knotty pine or the rhythmic curse of a miter-box saw. Despite the electric band saw and cordless power drill, I usually use the old hand tools when I work. There is something soothing to the feel of the worn wooden handles and the uneven, simple paths they take through the wood. Something primal, something tribal.

I often get drunk. In my basement, and otherwise. I handle it well, I have been told. My family hardly seems to notice the difference between the drunk me and the sober. My drunkenness seems to belong to the same general impression of me upon their senses as my grumbling about my chronic sore back, and my inability to remember their friend's names. Just one of my quirks. My drunkenness is hardly noticeable.

I often get drunk in my basement, in order to avoid writing. I am sitting at my writing desk now, and knocking them back. Behind me there is a bookcase three-quarters built. Before me there are stories and poems less assembled. My pen spits ink across the paper in arching, incoherent stutters. It is better if I can not focus on the words immediately. The only breaks I allow myself are for pissing, and for fetching more beer.

Once I am fully drunk in my basement, I usually head upstairs to bed. Reaching this state sometimes takes a long time. I usually have all morning to recuperate, and often the afternoon, as well. At these times I have the house to myself, but I do not enjoy my solitude. I pace the hallway, from kitchen to bathroom to bedrooms. The only place I do not go is downstairs. I do not enter the basement until the entire family is home.

I often find myself drunk in my basement, without memory of how I got there. These are the times when I get the most done. It is usually quiet upstairs, the family having gone to bed earlier. I have no clock in my workshop. I had one, once, but threw it away. When I am working, time is unimportant. It is a distraction. The movement of the sun does not reach me, here below the earth. Staggering from woodwork to paper, I labor alone.

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