Not Home For the Holidays

I discovered recently that one of my friends from high school has been arrested and in jail a couple of times for DUIs and, most recently, an OWI. It's something she never mentioned to me in all the times we spoke or saw one another when we got back in touch a few years ago.

I'm really shocked because I didn't see it coming and wasn't expecting that to be the information her sister gave me when I wrote to find out where she'd been. I knew that after the end of a serious relationship she had been going out a lot to bars, but I saw it more as Something People Do When They Breakup, not that it was indicative of a deeper problem, or that she even had a problem with drinking.

I guess she's going to be in lockup for 15-40 days, which means she might be spending Christmas in jail. Her sister told me she was also in over Thanksgiving.

In a way, I tend to feel at least partially responsible. I know that it's not “my fault,” but in all the times we've emailed one another over the past year I could have just picked up a phone or driven out to her side of town to visit with her. Maybe the impersonal nature of our most common form of communication made it difficult for her to tell me what was going on. Maybe I led her to believe I wouldn't understand since I had spoken about problems I had with someone close to me drinking.

As much as I hate the constant hustle and bustle of the holidays, the traffic, the shopping-cart-rage, the parking, the blown paychecks to buy stuff for people, the driving to and from this relative's or another's house . . . this friend has it a lot worse.

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