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1.10.01

I've been worried about Marty for the past few days. Looking at the length of this post, I ought to drop in some foreshadowing that I'm not quite so worried anymore. I suppose the worry started when he started his blog, because some of the stories he wrote there showed me parts of him I hadn't realised existed. It's really easy to just see Marty as the single most considerate person on the planet. I remember Barbara saying, after she had spent just a weekend at our house, "I think Marty is the nicest person I've ever met." And that aspect is definitely there. But I was seeing other things about him. At the time it was more of a background confusion, because I didn't quite understand and I didn't know to what extent he had dealt with these things.

Then there was Saturday night. Marty got very drunk, drunker than he should have been. I don't know the circumstances surrounding it -- why he was drinking, what his attitude was, and so on. I had spent the evening with Dave, Amanda, and April-Lyn, first at the Victory At Sea/Mary Timony concert, and then at the Barge. When we got home, Marty was asleep in his bed. I went upstairs to work on my geography seminar paper. At about 1:30 I looked over and I saw a splash of yellow jump from his mouth into the windowsill. I ran downstairs and fetched Dave and Meredith. We tried to wake Marty, but he wouldn't come to for more than a second or two at a time. I was feeling pretty helpless, because I knew I should be able to help him, but I didn't know what I should do. Eventually I found Bridget's phone number, and she reccommended calling 911. So Dave called, and Campus Safety came on down. I got the feeling it was pretty routine for them to deal with this kind of thing. I've just been sheltered because my friends generally drink so moderately. Marty woke up enough that we could get him to the Campus Safety jeep and take him to the emergency room.

Dave, Meredith, and I stayed with Marty in the ER until about 3:15. There was a kid in the next bed who had cut his hand up pretty bad, and was making a lot of loud wisecracks. One of the hospital staff asked us when Colgate was going to become a dry campus. The nurses seemed fairly routine about the whole thing, as I suppose they have to be on a campus with such a strong alcohol presence. Marty spent most of the time apologizing. It was hard to explain to him that we were just doing what friends ought to do. My main worry was that he seemed more concerned by what he had done to us than about the harm he could have caused himself.

Yesterday and today he seemed to go back to normal. It made it hard to really feel the need to work things out. It was a lot easier to consider Saturday night in terms of particular circumstances, most of which I didn't know about because I wasn't around, and less in terms of systemic issues. Jeanine, whose advice I've come to respect a great deal, told me quite forcefully that I ought to find some help for Marty. But once she signed off, I wasn't sure how accurate her diagnosis could be from only hearing my descriptions of the situation. And I didn't know how I could raise the subject without making Marty feel worse.

Then I read in Marty's blog that he was going to talk to ResLife about possibly leaving the house. At that point I knew I had to talk to him, so I asked him about it.

My talk with Marty was a bit awkward. There were a lot of empty spaces, because I never really learned how to have a heart-to-heart talk with anyone. I don't talk seriously with my friends very much. At least, not in such a personal way. But it was a good talk to have. I got the feeling that Marty is dealing with what's been happening to him. He seems to understand where he needs to go. And I think he's finding out how much everyone here does care about him. I told him, in complete honesty, that he's the best roommate I've ever had (which is not to slight Eric, Matt, Gary, or Joe -- I've been unusually lucky in terms of roommates). I really want to see him work through things, and I'm more optimistic now that that's going to happen.

Then I put my headphones on, and WRCU was playing "Detachable Penis." It's kind of funny how suddenly I can shift mental states, because within seconds I was bopping along with King Missile and griping to myself about how whatever SOURCe did to my computer logged me out of Blogger and the New York Times.

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