In the beginning

Actual journal entry – 1989

During this process I’ve rediscovered some journals that I’ve kept over the years. It’s been cringe-inducing to read the rants and musings of my 20-something self, but also insightful and at times, hysterical. I hope to use some of these ancient missives in this blog and this was one of the first entries I stumbled upon. It stuns and saddens me that I knew 28 years ago that my drinking wasn’t normal.

I’ve left the spelling and syntax untouched as I feel transparency is tantamount to honesty. 

04/10/89

Days as cold, grey and cloudy as my mind. The cool morning air and stacks of smoke billowing from the dirty inner city, as I find my way home. The cafeteria is a blurred, scattered conversation that I’m not part of. These people have had showers, and more than likely, sleep.

Sometimes it’s a lot easier to keep fucking up your life than to deal with the hassle of keeping it straight. Sometimes in the afternoons you find it’s difficult to remember who you saw or spoke to that morning, or in fact, exactly what you did. After all, you know better than to attempt to remember last night. You always feel more alive at nite, anyway. It’s dark and smoky and there’s something cold and alcoholic in your hand and you know that you can pretend all that you want tonite, and then pretend you didn’t tomorrow.

The nites in between are the best. The slow nights with the regulars are cool, but almost everyone feels they should be somewhere else. It’s a shared feeling, and we drink to it. There are nites when you can’t breathe and everyone is there, and you couldn’t care less. The nites in between are the unexpected ones, the ones that keep you going back. All the “right” people show up, the nite is young and the drinks flow almost freely. You feel that life is fair and good and lucky to be a part of it – and you feel like you fit, if only for a little while.

Then there are the days sometimes you find you can’t stand, and it’s 6:30pm. You laugh, and order another round. You toast to irresponsibility, watch the sun set through dirty windows, feel the lights as they flicker on, and wonder where tonite is headed, and you.

Every now and then you’re alone. Not often, but sometimes 15 minutes to 3 hours can catch you and you look around and inside. You see bills unpaid, and no $ to pay them with, if you’d even thought about it. Six classes missed and it’s only Wednesday. Unreturned phone calls, and a stack of laundry piled up the the closet shelf. So what do you do? It’s Wednesday $ night, and you grab something off of the top of the laundry heap, hope it doesn’t smell too bad, and run to Gus’s* to bounce a check and start the ball rolling.

Again.

 

* Gus’s was a joint on the strip in my college town that would cash checks for students. You know, back in the day when there weren’t atm cards and the like OMG I SURVIVED THE DARK AGES YOU GUYS.

Apertif


Drinking has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.  My parents believed in pre and post dinner drinks and of course the occasional night cap.  They threw epic parties.  I can remember my father teaching me how to mix the perfect drink, when I was around 7 or 8 years old.  One tall glass.  Four ice cubes.  Two overflowing *jiggers* of Lord Calvert (handle bottle) and top it off with a symbolic splash of 7-Up.  Stir with index finger and taste.  If your face screws up like an onion and you gag, it’s perfect.

Oddly enough, I never touched the stuff in high school.  Whilst my pals were partying under the bleachers during home football games, I was annoying Miss Goody Two-Shoes working in the concession stand or rooting on the team clear eyed and squarely sober.  I wasn’t afraid of alcohol, of course, but I knew the rules and it never occurred to me to sneak a sip at any juncture.  In fact, I found myself mortified when my high school sweetheart caught me trying to stealthily pour out most of what was a Bartle’s and Jayme’s strawberry wine cooler during a hay ride.  I couldn’t tell him I didn’t drink, I mean, all the cool kids did, right?

Now.  College was another story altogether.  I found myself out of town and off my parent’s leash for the very first time.  The party simply never ended.  I learned how to shotgun a beer and take off my bra (without removing my shirt) within the first week.

Naturally my next move was to California.  The call of the beach and long-haired rock and roll boys of Sunset Boulevard were too much for me to resist.  Insert frying pan to fire metaphor here.  I spent the next ten years roaming from state to state and honing my skills.  Party girl.  Wild child.  Reckless and independent.

And just like that, I was about to go Pro.

 

*it would serve to mention here that my father wore the balance bar off of that jigger not once but twice in its lifetime and my grandfather, a tool and die maker by trade, soldered it back together.  Both times.