The Big Sleep
How we cite our quotes:
A racket like that, out in the open on the boulevard, seemed to mean plenty of protection. I sat there and poisoned myself with cigarette smoke and listened to the rain and thought about it. (5.35)
In this scene, Marlowe sits in his car and watches Geiger's store. The key phrase in this passage is "poisoned myself." Not only is Marlowe's job as a private detective lonely (he has no loyal sidekick and sits alone in his car), but it's also pretty dangerous. And it's definitely not good for him.
I parked, aired out the convertible, had a drink from my bottle, and sat. I didn't know what I was waiting for, but something told me to wait. Another army of sluggish minutes dragged by. (6.6)
We've lost count of how many times Marlowe tells us he's having a drink by himself. It's a wonder he's sober enough to shoot straight.
I didn't go near the Sternwood family. I went back to the office and sat in my swivel chair and tried to catch up on my foot-dangling. (21.1)
Marlowe's sense of humor comes through in his remark here. He makes light of his boredom and sense of isolation, but beneath his witty sarcasm we can sense the deep-seated loneliness that comes with being a detective. Is Marlowe's sarcastic wit a coping mechanism to help him deal with his isolation? We certainly think so.