A slippery slope
Depression, alcohol and God.
What a combo.
Sunday afternoon and two men are tossing around all three subjects during a brief and intensely artificial exchange.
The first is soon to be homeless and in dire need of new digs.
The dilapidated and condemned shack he lives in has been sold by the bank to recoup mortgage repayments and other debts accrued over a very long period of time.
Depression, anxiety and alcoholism have brought him to this point in life and I am there to give him a helping hand.
The second has a one bedroom hovel on the market and, co-incidentally, our paths have crossed before.
He too is clinically depressed and struggling with an addiction to the bottle and all that brings with it.
One has been supping on cans of super cheap ale since early morning - the other started his day with best intentions and has just had a couple of sly ones after attending a morning church service.
Both are trying desperately to appear sober.
The booze they think they need to function has in fact handicapped them further and the sight before me is pathetic to behold.
Both speak in exaggerated tones - full of false bravado and apparently wise in all the ways of the world.
Each, it seems, wants to be seen as 10 foot tall and bullet proof.
The reality - as witnessed by myself and a land agent who I'm sure has more potentially lucrative things to do - is very different.
They touch on the topic of depression - immediately finding common ground and share the little pearls of wisdom that come and go depending on the alcohol levels in their blood streams.
"Have faith in God," the churchgoing drunk slurs.
The other, an atheist whose only higher power is Dominion Breweries, nods his head in mock understanding and momentarily loses his balance.
These blokes, once had mothers and I can't help but think of those women and the high hopes they would have originally held for their newborn sons.
Visions of happy lives, successful careers, quarter acre sections and blue-eyed grandchildren.
No such luck here though fortunately neither lady is alive to see the unshaven, smelly old boozers their wee boys have become.
"Each man had potential to be so much more," I say to myself on the drive home later that day. "It's depressing to see... how could they do this to themselves? How could this happen?"
I am feeling decidedly down as I approach a supermarket and remember a box of Bruer beers is selling at just over a buck a can this week on special.
I pull over, head inside and make the purchase.... things always look better after a couple of bevvies.