Posts Tagged ‘drinking’

The hospital room had low summer lighting.  I think that’s what they call it, anyway.  Summer lighting.  It meant that the lighting wasn’t harsh or hard on the eyes.  “Muted yellow lighting” would have been more descriptive.

Anyway, it was calm.

Much like the patient in the bed.  He was calm, too.  Peaceful. Apologetic.

In the last few months, he had made an effort to talk with everyone.  His kids, his brothers, me.

In each case, he had offered up an offer of peace.  His way of saying he was sorry.  Sorry for the way he had treated us.  Sorry for the angst and anger he had vented on us.  Sorry for the hurt.  Sorry for the pain and the worry and the overwhelming fear he had provoked.

He told each of us that he loved us.  It seemed important to him for some reason.

I vaguely recall the time he told me that too.  I accepted what he said, politely.  That’s what you do, when someone says they love you.  Especially when that someone has been a vision of horror for such a large portion of your life.  You smile and you say “me too”.

Whether you mean it or not is another thing entirely.

I didn’t.  I couldn’t.

I damned well did not love him.

When he breathed his last breath under that summer lighting in that hospital bed, I breathed a sigh of relief.  And I felt marginally guilty for doing so.

melody

I went home that night.  My daughter was in the kitchen, doing something.  I don’t recall exactly what.  Probably doing dishes.

Leaving the lights off, I sat down at the piano, and started to play.  I didn’t have a song in mind, so I created one.  Arpeggios came to mind, and I followed through.  Minor keys, major keys.  A rhythm.  It coalesced into…..something.

It was at once stark, painful and hopeful. It was peaceful, and sad.  I decided to make it a song about my dad.  I called it “Hope of Glory”.

When the time came and we had the Catholic mass for him, I sat at the front of the church and I played that song.

Interspersed with the melody were the vibrations of memory.

My father, drunk and angry.  Wrapping a chain around his fist.  My mother yelling at him.  He had been pulled over by a cop earlier that week and by God he was going to go hunt for the cop and repay him.  My mother threatening to call the police the moment he left the house.

My fingers caressed the keys, plinking away at the foundation of the song.

My dad, drunk once again, looking for a fight.  Hearing me say something at the top of the cellar stairs.  I don’t recall what it was, but I had made the mistake of disagreeing with him.  “ARE YOU CALLING ME A LIAR?”

“But..” I started to say “that’s not what——”   Then I heard him running to the bottom of the stairs.  I turned, opened the door and bolted outside.

His 350 pound lumbering gait was no match for my lithe 140 pound sprint.  I could at least outrun him.   He roared in frustration at the door.  “DON’T COME BACK”

My fingers picked up the melody, to counterbalance the bass line.  The rhythm began.

My dad, raising his voice.  The first sign of a rage that would be repeated each weekend, and eventually every other weekday for years.

A series of thumps and scrambling and grunts.  My mom, crying out.  My grandmother yelling at him to stop.

My fingers played eloquently on the keys, calmly following through on the variation.   The silence of the church.

My dad, now sober, unable to relate to me.  We’re sitting in the living room, a show on TV.  He says something.  I say something in response, politely.  Awkward silence.

The song I play now building in volume and depth.  Searching…searching….

My father, laughing now with his brothers at a picnic.  Relating to them, and to a few of my siblings.  But not to me.  My mother, close-lipped and patient.  Me, just wanting to get away.

The song now slows, and I bring it to an end.  Finally.

—————–

On the night I first play the song, my daughter comes to my side.  Puts her hand around my shoulder.   “What’s that, dad?  It’s beautiful.”

“It’s just a song I made up, sweetheart.  It’s for my dad.”  She squeezes my shoulder.  My head is bowed, and my tears drop quietly.

—————–

He’s been dead for at least a decade now.  A little while ago I had a dream.  It was about him.  We were talking and laughing and I think we played some baseball or something.  I regret not writing it down when I woke up.

The only thing I know is: it was good.  And, apparently after making a concerted effort time and again over the years to forgive him for his drunken violent rages, I’ve finally made peace with him.

Hope of glory.

pool

The first thing I noticed was the cut.  It stung when I washed my face.  And when I looked up to see what was wrong – there it was, staring at me like a third eye.  In fact, that’s about where it was too – right where a third eye would be if I were an alien (or maybe a little more spiritually enlightened than I am).

“Damn”, I thought, staring at an otherwise perfect face “I wish I knew how I got that.”

Slowly, bits and pieces of the previous night came back into focus.  Dinner, drinks (so many drinks), a game of pool and a ride home via taxi. 

My head wasn’t aching and my stomach wasn’t upset so I think I was safe in assuming I wasn’t hung over.  By the same token however, the room was still swimming, just a bit, so perhaps we can assume I was still slightly drunk. 

I took out my phone and texted my dinner and pool companion.

I jut got up and not hungover either.  May actually be still drink though. : )

A minute later I read what I wrote and provided the correction.

*drunk

Totally missed “jut”.

Much as my eyes wanted to close, I couldn’t stand the thought of missing work, or of calling in late.  Not on account of drinking anyway.  So I had a breakfast.  You know, to soak up the alcohol.  Although frankly – it didn’t stop the room from trying to twirl me around in a hazy ballet dance.  I kept wondering why my stomach didn’t want to heave.   It never does, actually, when I drink Chardonnay.

(By the way, I need to mention something before talking about this further.  I value the privacy of my friends and family so will never ever take liberties with their names or identities on my blog.  In fact, as much as I adore my good friend from that night, I won’t write much about her.   This blog is about me.  Beautiful, exciting, slightly narcissistic and totally humble me.)

As I was preparing breakfast, I suddenly gasped.

“Holy shit” I thought.  “Did I even pay for the pool and drinks at the pool hall?  Did we inadvertently scam that place?”  My friend had generously paid for our dinner and drinks, but I really had no idea whether I paid for our game of pool.   I know I *intended* to pay.

Me and my facial cut scrambled over to the computer to quickly look up my bank account.   I sighed in relief.  There it was.  $103.74 to Jerry’s Pool Hall. 

Memories of that never-ending one game of pool filtered through my alcohol-soaked consciousness.   It seemed the balls were all were magnetically repelled from the pockets or something.  We couldn’t get near them.   Sinking one of them was like a miracle.   We cheered each other wildly whenever it happened.  I’m pretty sure my cue was defective because several times it refused to even go near the while ball, preferring instead to skid along the green felt. 

Wait.  Not green.  The felt was actually kind of a pukey white.

And when we were done playing……well actually we weren’t done, exactly.  I think we just lost interest.  The black ball retained its stately dignity, having never come close to making an acquaintance with a pocket.   My companion went to the washroom, while I made a majestic attempt to get the balls back together.

I took all of the balls – both of them – out of the pockets and lined them all up with the unsunk balls.  Then I put the triangle thing around them.  Then (I swear to God this is true) I tried to gather them all up in my arms so as to return them to the front.  But they kept falling out of the triangle, scurrying away like bratty mice.

The guy at the front got tired of laughing I suppose.  He eventually came to my rescue and provided a tray for them.

I paid up and we left.  And that’s all I remember.

I don’t recall the ride home, don’t recall paying the cabbie.  Worse, I don’t recall whether I brushed my teeth or not before falling into bed.  The only evidence I was in the bathroom at all was the tube of suntan lotion and tube of toothpaste lying on the floor in there.  

What a night.

P.S. Bits of the night are still coming back to me.  It’s entirely possible that we did finish that game.  I really have no idea.  I do know I didn’t win.  I have no idea why this is important.

Rocky Romances

Posted: August 19, 2011 in dating, humor, Life
Tags: , , , , , ,

Look, Monday.  You can’t keep showing up on my doorstep.  Every time you do, you say the same thing.

“We can make it work.” And, “I promise you, this time I won’t mess you up.  I’ll set the alarm this time.  Make you some coffee.”

Every time, I let you in, and every time – every SINGLE time – I end up regretting it.  The alarm doesn’t go off.  Coffee isn’t there, I’m late for work and I end up in a bad mood.   When you’re around, things always seem to go wrong.  My boss decides he wants that three-day job done right now.  Then he only gives me four hours to do it.  And then, what’s worse is – he looks at you.  And then he smiles.   The bastard.   You’ve been seeing him behind my back, haven’t you?  Come on.  I even saw you holding hands with him.

No more.  Monday I don’t want you around here.  Don’t call, don’t show up, don’t send emails to me.  Nothing.  I don’t want your promises.  They mean nothing.   In fact, I’m going to put a restraining order on you.  Do you hear me?

Are you even listening?

Dear Tuesday,

Honey I’m glad you came into my life.  But I have something to tell you, as gently as I can.  You’re not for me.  No, no, there’s nothing wrong with you.  You’re great, really.  And no, you’re nothing like Monday.   You’re far more gentle.  Far more forgiving.  You’re good-natured.  It kills me to have to break up with you, but really, it’s not fair to you that we keep seeing each other.

No, I’m not seeing anyone else right now.  It’s just that….well….you caught my eye on the rebound, after the horror of being with Monday.   Sometimes that happens.

I know.  It’s shitty, and I’m sorry.  I have to go on though.   So should you.  Find someone more worthy of you than me.   Can we be friends?

Hi Wednesday.

You know, I don’t know what we saw in each other.  Do you?  No, I didn’t think so.  I guess I should have known it wouldn’t work when I first heard the ringer on your Blackberry.   I thought you knew that I hate Nickleback.   But isn’t it great we can end this now, mutually, without either of us feeling messed up?   Oh, you’ve gotta go?  Sure, sure.  I understand.  That Blackberry isn’t going to answer itself, is it?  See you around.

Well well well.  Thursday, you sure do have beautiful legs, don’t you?   Man, you put me in a good mood.  How about we take a little drive?  Go somewhere?  In fact I…

*gulp*  Oh.  My. God.   And what’s your name, gorgeous?   Friday?

(Uh, Thursday?  Listen, I’ll give you a call sometime OK?  Gotta go.  Something just came up)

Sorry Friday.  What was that?  You want to go bungee jumping?  Well I’ve never tried it, but..OK!  Let’s do it.   Man, you’re wild.  What’s that?  You want to get a tattoo?   I don’t believe in…I mean, sure.  Let’s go get one.   What’s mine say?   It’s Japanese for “Monday’s a bitch”.   Who’s Monday?  That’s a long story.

So, what did you get for a tattoo?  Oh it’s your new name?   When did you decide that?  Just now?  Wow.  You’re a little unbelievable.  Can’t believe anyone moves as fast as you. So anyway,  what’s your new name?  Saturday?  Cool!  That’s great!  It kind of fits you, you know?  I look at you with your long brown hair, and your mischievous eyes and…there’s no better name for you than Saturday.

Ok how many drinks have we had so far?  You lost count too?   Hahahaha.  No, I don’t care.   We can still dance.   Wow you feel so good in my arms. Man, I like you.  In fact…I probably shouldn’t say this so soon but…what the heck?  We can blame it on the fact that I’m drunk, so I’ll just say it.  I think I’m falling in love with you.

Hang on.  I’d better sit down for a minute.  My head’s spinning….

What?  You what?  I can’t hear you over the music.   Why don’t we go outside for some fresh air?  *coughs*  Wow, that’s some strong-smelling weed.  No, but thanks – I’ll pass.  I’ve had too much to drink, and that stuff will just mess me up.

*blinks*

You want to what?   I thought we had a good thing going.   Don’t give me the “it’s not you, it’s me” thing.  What’s going on?   We’ve only been together for 40 hours, non-stop, and you’re already seeing someone?   Shit.  I can’t believe it.  I mean i knew you were wild but…….

Fine.  I’ll see you later.   No, we can’t be friends.  I don’t want to be “just friends”.  Not with you.  You were the best thing that ever happened to me.   Never mind.  I’ll get over you.  Somehow.  Not sure how.    Hey, can you give me back my jacket?   I know you’re cold.  Maybe your new boyfriend can give you his.  He’s not here?  Well give him a call.  Oh all right.   I’ll give you a ride home.  But that’s it.  No more favours.

We’re here.  Can you manage?   Holy mother of God.  How much did you drink?  Yeah sure.  I’ll help you up to your door.  What’s that?  You have to puke?  All right.  I’ll hold your hair back.  There.  Feel better?

Ok we’re at the door.  Where’s your key?  Never mind.  You’re too drunk.  I’ll just ring the bell.  Maybe your roommate can let you in. Take you the rest of the way.

Oh hi there.  Sorry to wake you up.   Frida- I mean Saturday here had a little too much to drink tonight.  You’ll take her?  That’s great.   No, no problem.  Happy to help.  By the way – what’s your name?

Well hi Sunday.  Pleased to meet you.

The slim dark-haired girl with the slight sexy figure wrapped in the tight little black dress sauntered over to the table.

“Well, hello” she said.  “What can I get you?”

The patron smiled. He was a sucker for pretty faces.

“Just a Chardonnay for now, thanks.”

“Sure.  Be right back.”

She turned and sauntered way, with the same careless sway that high heels scrambled to enhance.

He opened his iPad, and turned to the espionage novel he’d been munching on.

It was hard to concentrate.   The piped in music in the dark bar was infectious.   Mick Jagger’s “Dancing in the Street” demanded some attention.  He read a few words, and then looked around.

The server sexily sauntered over again, with a massive tray – which held just one drink.   “Here you go, hun.”

Hun.  He smiled quietly.  Such a word was usually the purview of buxom older women, who endeared all and sundry to their tender affections.  It was the clarion call to favours, usually manifesting in the form of tips.   It seemed odd coming from a 20-something little college girl.

Back to the book.

Except that an older couple showed up not two minutes later.    Unremarkable, except for his booming voice.   The quiet reader quickly learned that this couple was celebrating twelve years of dating, or something.  Anyway, it was twelve years since their first date.   And as the music on the speaker system changed over to Lily Allen’s “The Fear”, the boisterous man and his date began to sing along.

At first, the reader was annoyed.  He muttered an aggrieved curse.  “Oh for fuck’s sake…..”

And then he found the humour, and began to laugh, shoulders shaking.   “Money for Nothing” began to play.

“WE GOT TO INSTALL….MICROWAVE OVENS…CUSTOM KITCHEN….DELIVEREHEHEHEEED”   The man and his wife/girlfriend sang with the gusto of bottomless lungs.

He smiled.   Maybe it was the Chardonnay.  He wasn’t sure.  But he wasn’t annoyed.

Against the backdrop of the singing, he found his way back to the book.   People died horribly.  One guy was strung up in a torturous position.  He worried about dying, even as his girlfriend raced to his rescue.

More wine came, and the reader imbibed.   Even more arrived, like magic, and like magic, it disappeared.

The older couple eventually paid their bill and left.   The reader read.

The sexy server came back and quietly placed a plate of Bruschetta on the table.  He was oblivious, until his hand hit the plate.  He looked up and saw her across the room, smiling.  He transacted another smile, and mouthed a “thank you!” in reply.

As the Chardonnay evening blurred, he managed a few tweets on Twitter.   In the Olympic sport of Inebriated Tweeting, he might have managed a Bronze, but that was it.

Cute brunette brought the bill.  He paid it, while silently thrumming to the sound of “I’m So Glad” by Creme.

It was nothing remarkable.   Just a pleasant night.

Still though – it was something.

After receiving a prompt in an email message today, I’ve elected to respond here in this blog. Please feel free to do the same.

In fact, I kind of insist on it.

Don’t make me whip out a can of thousand-yard googily stare on you.

So…what would you say to your 16-year old self?

Well, here are some things I’d say to myself at 16:

———————————-

“Son, that 28-year old married babe isn’t interested in your chaste Christian friendship. Turn the lights on, boy! She’s got something else in mind. (Maybe her feeding you Southern Comfort late at night while she giggled and laughed at your jokes while making coy suggestions should have been your first clue.)”

———————————-

“Dude – ride the bike, or walk and enjoy the scenery. You can’t do both. If you try, you’ll end up having an accident when you ogle that girl. Trust me, the embarrassment is worse than the pain.”

———————————-

“Um – look. I know your hormones are racing and you really want to have the babes pay attention to you, but I gotta tell you: checkered pants are not the way to go. You look like a fooking dork. Gnome sayin’?”

———————————-

“See a doctor about your inability to pay attention. This is treatable.”

———————————-

“That girl you saw at that Christian crusade? The one you complimented? You know the one I mean. You said her dress looked pretty. Yeah. That one. Lose her phone number.”

———————————-

“You’re right to be concerned about being an alcoholic, because your dad is. I can tell you that you’re not, though. Just be aware of your intake at all times and you’ll be fine. If you ever feel you need it – then stop.”

———————————-

“Look, I know it’s a chintzy job at a library and it doesn’t pay all that well. Still – pretend that 10% of your pay doesn’t exist. Put it in a saving’s account. Make a habit of it.”

———————————-

“There are all kinds of people who want you to think exactly the way they do. There’s peer pressure, and there’s dad pressure and there’s pulpit pressure. Don’t give into any of it. Think for yourself. Trust nothing they say until it can be tested so that you know it’s true for yourself.”

———————————-

“You know how you fart around every morning and end up leaving so late that you have to run to school? Well ….the late thing? Not good. The running thing? Awesome. Keep it up and make a habit of it.”

———————————-

“Remember when the math teacher was making corny jokes, so you folded up a paper airplane and you launched it at him such that it flew perfectly right at him and parted his hair? Remember how his face turned red and he laughed with the rest of the class? That was awesome. Do more stuff like that.”

———————————-

“Don’t be so quick on wanting to settle down with one girl. Date as many girls as you can – just so that you can get an idea of what works and what doesn’t. You can’t know this until you’re out there.”

———————————-

“Also – make a promise to yourself that you won’t get married until you’re at least twenty-five, ok?”

———————————-

Finally – and this important son, so pay attention here – make sure you write down three things:

1) Microsoft 2) Apple 3) Google

Even though that last thing sounds ridiculous, it’s going to be important someday. Watch the news, and when their stock goes live, open up that piggy bank and spend like a drunken sailor – buy up as much of all three stocks as you can. Especially Apple, because at the beginning it’s going to be cheap. Very cheap. But by the time you get older, it’s going to get extremely expensive, and you’ll do well.

Trust me.

———————————-

YOUR TURN

Decision Night

Posted: April 11, 2010 in Life
Tags: , , ,

Technophiles have a difficult time prioritizing properly. If I’m any kind of indication anyway.

I’m always on the hunt for new gadgets.  Like the iPhone, and now the iPad.

Last week I lost my $500 Shure earphones – probably on the subway system.  Although that same evening I was at a bank annual general meeting and may have lost them there.  It truly was a heartbreaker, and so I opted to purchase a replacement set next week.  In the meantime I would use some backup “Plan B” earphones.

That was the decision, until tonight.

I had finally prioritized my Saturday evening and had intended to visit a kind of unique place in Toronto called The Drake Hotel.  It really is a hotel but it’s also an entertainment venue, often featuring up and coming musical artists in its underground auditorium.  I’ve seen some truly great bands there, and some mediocre ones too.  So tonight I went, only to discover that it was closed to the public – they had a private event going on.

Talk about feeling ripped off.

I went upstairs and grabbed a glass of wine and watched the mating dance of the desperate.  That got too depressing so I left.

Next stop: my favourite bar at the corner of Bay and Bloor in the centre of downtown Toronto.  There, I ordered up a bunch of glasses of Chardonnay wine (really should have ordered up a bottle and did it right) while I read my ebook.  Funny thing:  the more you drink the more you have to go back and re-read the same passages over and over again.

Once again I got to watch a few examples of people with low expectations hooking up with other people of low expectations.  What a drag.

There was a guy feigning intense interest in whatever it was a woman was telling him.  It was so patently obvious, and I’m sure she wasn’t stupid and could see it too.  However it was getting late, and I have to think she didn’t want to go home alone anymore than he did.  They eventually left together, just as I was re-reading that same chapter for the fourth time.

I gave up reading, got my bill and staggered walked sedately to the subway.

It wasn’t until I got home with the strains of The Tragically Hip pounding in my ears that I realized it was WAY too early to call it quits for the night.  I wanted desperately to party.  To be around other people and just have a wild time.

It hit me:  that only happens when I’m with the gang from my comedy improv group.   I had previously made a half-hearted commitment to look the improv school up and take a few more courses.

Tonight I realized it was time to put it at the top of the priority list.  The new earphones can wait.  This can’t.

Besides – improv experiences provides all *kinds* of blogging material.  Trust me on this.

The best is yet to come.

Anticip………..ation

Posted: April 1, 2010 in ADHD, humor, Life
Tags: , , ,

I woke up this morning, startled.

I could see daylight, and that never happens.   Blearily, I squinted at the clock, which wavered back and forth, like a bad 3D movie.  The damned thing wouldn’t stay still.

“Stand still”

“Um, no.”

I pushed my knuckles into my eyelids, massaging the eyeballs, trying to coax them awake.  I opened my eyes again.

Oh dear lord.  It was worse.

Finally I dragged myself out of my warm – oh so warm, and comfy – bed and staggered over to the clock, which finally relented and maintained a constant pose.

“Oh good.  It’s only 7:00”

Wait.  7:00?  That means I only had………and I tried hard to compute the sleep hours I had tucked into my consciousness.  And failed.   Whatever it was, it wasn’t enough.

Stumbling into the hallway on my way to the bathroom I noticed a smell.  I stopped, sniffing.

Then I realized it was coming from me.   The smell was familiar too.  It was like a long-lost philandering cousin.  It wrapped me in its embrace.  And that’s when I realized what it was.

I was bleeding alcohol through the pores of my skin.

Ew.

Strangely, I didn’t have a headache, or exhibited any other signs of being hung over from last night.

I remembered last night and I smiled.   Such a great night.  I haven’t had such a full night like that in a long time.  One thing that happened though:  my companion and I closed the bar.  One of us noticed one of the servers sweeping up and suggested we leave.  It seemed like a good idea, so we did.

As I staggered to the sink, and closed my eyes for a few seconds, realization dawned.  There was a good reason as to why I had no hangover.

I wasn’t quite done being drunk.

That truth brought a grin to my face.   There was time to get on top of this thing, and that’s what I did.  I made a beeline for the water cooler and started loading up, in an attempt to stave off dehydration.

Work of course was a complete write-off.  I tried.  My eyes rebelled though.  Bad enough that they were red and watery.  Asking them to look at a computer screen was too much.  I brought a newspaper to work with me too, and was just as successful getting through that.

Finally, after lunch, I put my feet up on my desk, and thought “just a couple of minutes of shut-eye should do it.”  In theory, it’s supposed to work.  I nodded, and jerked awake, only to hear the ongoing sounds of productive work being done by my colleagues.   Figuring it was safe, and no one could see me, I closed my eyes once again.

And woke up startled once again.  This time, there were no sounds around me.  I’m not positive, because I was unconscious at the time, but there’s a 95%  chance I snored out loud.   No one was that uncouth as to ask about the state of my consciousness.  For that, I was grateful.  Had they done so though, I would have laughed.  What are you doing to do?

It’s not as if I regularly close down bars and try to work the next day.  A family member suggested I “work” from home.  In retrospect – that was a damned good idea.

I gave up trying to nap.  It wasn’t working and I was still pretty much dragged out.  Placing my feet back on the floor, I pulled my chair over to the computer, only to hear my cell phone ring.

“Sir?  We have an appointment for you.”

I was stunned.  I’d been waiting for this phone call for four weeks.  It was the doctor’s office, letting me know I have an appointment to be assessed for ADHD/ADD.  I had been calling them once a week, looking for that appointment, and they hadn’t gotten back to me.

Until now.

I was elated!   Finally – a time and date.   She gave me the details and we hung up.

It’s like you have this limp all of your life, which prevents you from full-out running.   You think everyone has this limp; that it’s normal, and that you’re just not trying hard enough to run, because you see other people around you running just fine.   And then someone comes to you one day and says “you realize that there’s a group of people who limp the same way you do, and that they’re born with this limp, and that there are ways to get around it, so that you can run like the rest.”

The elation only lasted for a while though – I still had the lack of sleep and the after-effects of the full-on drunkfest to deal with.  So I returned to earth, a little regretfully, but happy just the same, both with the memory of last night, and this news percolating gently on my brain.

It’s in the beginning of July.  Closer than I thought but still pretty far away.

Still – I can’t wait.