Somewhere in there was an awful scene, with people expressing disgust for Billy and the woman, and Billy found himself out in his automobile, trying to find the steering wheel.
The main thing now was to find the steering wheel. At first, Billy windmilled his arms, hoping to find it by luck. When that didn't work, he became methodical, working in such a way that the wheel could not possibly escape him. He placed himself hard against the left-hand door, searched every square inch of the area before him. When he failed to find the wheel, he moved over six inches, and searched again. Amazingly, he was eventually hard against the right-hand door, without having found the wheel. He concluded that somebody had stolen it. This angered him as he passed out.
He was in the back sear of his car, which was why he couldn't find the steering wheel.
I read this little passage, and I think to myself, "That's stupid drunk." Keep in mind that Billy is not a drinker, due to stomach issues. He has just cheated on his wife at New Year's Eve party where all of his colleagues in optometry are in attendance. Vonnegut says there was an "awful scene," without going into details, and then Billy finds himself passed out in his car.
I can honestly say that I have only been stupid drunk like Billy twice in my life. The first time was in high school, and I ended up with broken glasses. I don't know how I broke my glasses, but, when I woke up in the morning, they were broken. The second time was in graduate school. I'd just taken the GRE (Graduate Record Exam)--a day-long torture that all prospective graduate students must endure. I went to a party with my wife (who was then my girlfriend), and I proceeded to drink heavily. Don't remember a whole lot of how I got home.
I am not proud of these moments, and I haven't ever gotten stupid drunk again. On occasion, I have a mixed drink when I go out to dinner, and I have been known to add some special ingredient to my hot chocolate on a cold winter night. That's it, though.
Having a family history of substance abuse, I don't really want to go down that road very far. My tolerance of alcohol is very high, so I know that I could easily develop a dependency. Right now, I have a friend who is in treatment in another state, and I've been praying for her a lot. She's a really good person who has a really bad problem.
I am grateful every day that I have avoided any kind of chemical addiction in my life so far. But I also know how easy it is to fall into the habit of taking pills or drinking at night. I think my friend is finally getting the help she needs. She has so much talent and love.
Saint Marty hopes she never loses the steering wheel again.