My Life as a Spiritual Vagrant

Drunk and depressed ( and Depressed

When I was a young man, I began searching for the meaning of life. Along the way, I wrote a travel journal, a mix of prose and poetry, and labelled it Fool’s Odyssey.

My life of joyful hedonism had stood me up. I’d gone searching for truth or, barring that, at least an excellent substitute. But so far I’d found neither. My life of happy materialism had lasted six days. My life of decadent sensualism, a day. My lives were getting shorter.

And now, sitting in that Paris café and drinking too much wine, I thought back on my failed loves. Or rather my failed loving.

I remembered living with my girlfriend in L.A., and drinking a lot of wine because we were 20. But the wine always made her sad, she said, because it reminded her she couldn’t trust me. Although I never was unfaithful with my feet. Only my head. She said there was no difference.

And then, like the wine, she grew too familiar. After she moved out, I did everything I could to be deep: Smoked a pipe and drank whisky. Typed a lot of poems. Watched things I hated on television until three in the morning. But the vacuum was on in my heart even then, and nothing could fill it.

I tried to remember her face, but her features had already begun to fade. Like a primitive polaroid, an instant picture with no depth of field.

And the wine? It was never really anything more than a reminder of how I already felt. If I felt good, then great. But if I felt lousy, it got inside my head and ran around shouting, “Boy, you sure feel lousy!”

So I tried pot, but that was only a variation on a theme (so much for the age of Aquarius). It either made me hungry or afraid of my own thoughts, or both. At which point I began to consume myself.

And the taste of myself was very bitter.

I mean, how could I like myself when I didn’t even know who I was? Sure, I might be a pearl, but then again I might just be an abandoned retread in some forgotten dump. Although I’d never really believed in reincarnation. I mean, how could you get it right if you didn’t know what you did wrong last time?

I felt like spiritual vagrant.

“What of laughter?” the Wise Man asked.

“It is madness.

And of mirth?

What is it for?

So I sought to draw my flesh with wine

that I might discover what happiness was.

But instead, I saw only madness in my heart

and evil, while I lived.

And after that?

Only death.”

Ecclesiastes 2:3 (paraphrased)

To read the next episode, click here.


About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Memoir, Quips and Quotes and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to My Life as a Spiritual Vagrant

  1. TEP336 says:

    Well written, Mitch. I can relate to all of that.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Gary Fultz says:

    Spiritual Vagrant is like being in the the caterpillar stage. I remember it well but with way less travel. Looking for wings to fly in the wrong places.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Oh, I gotta share this one.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. quiall says:

    Deeply touching and familiar.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. anitashope says:

    Looking for enlightenment in all the wrong places. We all have done it and hopefully we learned.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. uncoffined says:

    A lack of confidence in who we are and what we stand for can have bad consequences, I made the same journey years ago due to a less than ideal upbringing.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. chattykerry says:

    Who among us have not been unfaithful in our heads – we are human.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. “I mean, how could I like myself when I didn’t even know who I was?”
    (And how could you know who you were without knowing your Creator?)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. what a fascinating journey..curiously Mitch can I read this odyssey on my short story podcast ?

    Liked by 3 people

  10. numrhood says:

    were you & dad drinking a lot of wine when they were the age of your father when he passed away?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. haoyando says:

    “Although I never was unfaithful with my feet. Only my head. She said there was no difference.” LOL. I heard of that argument before.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Such memories…but look where they brought you and where you ended up! I can relate…that lifestyle never did much for me either!

    Liked by 3 people

  13. The checkers in your checkered past. I share some of them. Sure glad it is not how you start, but how you finnish. Well written honesty. Amen.

    Liked by 4 people

  14. Very scenic and a captivation of
    real life moments.💞💫

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Pingback: The Day My Decadent Life Sprang a Leak | Mitch Teemley

  16. Pingback: Someplace Not Here | Mitch Teemley

  17. Sharda says:

    Hmm, you tried to fill the emptiness with wine and whiskey and pot and what not. These can make the leap to cross the river of loneliness even harder. Hope you are feeling better today. Wishing you happy times.

    Liked by 1 person

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