“Wine Humor”


We just got back from our yearly mini-vacay in Ogunquit.

There’s something about a beach town that brings out attitudes and behaviors that are contrary to everything I stand for.  First of all – there’s the very idea of being on a beach.  Ask any of my friends and loved ones to make a list of everything that describes me, “outdoorsy” would fall somewhere between “conservative” and “HUGE John Mayer fan,” which is to say – nowhere.

But I do like the beach.  I like the beach at dusk, I like the beach when it’s raining, and I generally just like the IDEA of the beach, so long as it’s relatively EMPTY.  Because that’s another thing about me:  despite the great many people who are identified as “friends” on my Facebook page, if you put me in a room with all of them at once, I’d completely break down.  One of the reasons I drank was to deal with the intense anxiety of having to be “on” in a room full of people.  Nowadays, I have to do a check-in with myself before I go to a party or a show:  Can I make it for a few hours without feeling overwhelmed?  Do I have a plan in place if I need to bail early?  Should I just stay home?  These are things that I am only just starting to learn, and to implement.

Anyway.  This was not going to be an entry about my anxiety issues.  This is, in part, about how going to Ogunquit every year makes me do things that I don’t ordinarily do.  Like go to gift shops.  I can’t help myself; even though I know what’s inside of each and every one of them, I have to go in.

Ogunquit is LOADED with gift shops.  And, but for the names and the locations, they are more or less the exact same gift shop inside.  One or two of them may go the extra mile and sell one or two things that the others don’t, but by and large you can expect every gift shop to have:

  • Vera Bradley bags.  Science may one day explain why everyone wants to go around with purses and totes that look like they were salvaged from “bed in a bag” kits on the clearance table at Homegoods, but it has yet to do so.  Count on at least 10 square feet devoted to all things quilted and flowery.
  • Bits of crockery and metal imprinted with inspirational words like “dream,” “believe,” “love,” “despair,” “dysentery” (okay, I made those last two up).  These are typically kept in little glass bowls at the point-of-purchase, so you can load up your pockets with inspiration for roughly $2.99/word.
  • Soap.  Soap that smells like blueberries, pine needles, and “beach” – which smells like no beach on which I’ve ever set foot.  Apparently “beach” is supposed to smell vaguely floral.  “Beach” really smells like hot asphalt, melted ice cream, Coppertone, and just a hint of decaying marine life.  A not entirely unpleasant smell, but I guess that’s not what people want their SOAP to smell like.
  • Ceramic trivets celebrating the joys of dog ownership.
  • Charm bracelets.  Particularly those Alex & Ani numbers that you apparently need to have 50 of – 25 for each arm.  Remember when everyone had to have a Tiffany bracelet?  Now you have to have an Alex & Ani bangle, only you have to have a million of them.

The remaining floor space of these gift shops is dedicated to objects that celebrate what I can only describe as “wine humor.”  Refrigerator magnets, plaques that have been sanded down and dragged across a 4-lane highway to look “weathered,” bottle stoppers, towels, pajamas, t-shirts…basically anything that will trumpet the owner’s lust for the grape.  “Wine glasses” the size of slow cookers.  Overpriced crap with zippy one-liners (“Wine improves with age…I improve with wine!”), like, hahaha – I sure couldn’t function without my WINE!

It’s really only been in the last couple of years that I’ve noticed this whole “wine humor” thing really take over the internet and, now, gift shops.  And maybe it’s because I’m sober, but I find the whole thing…irritating.  Almost like a nudging, winking acknowledgment that ALCOHOLISM IS FUNNY!  I’m not reeeeealllllly an alcoholic, but it’s sure fun and whimsical to wear a crystal-studded t-shirt suggesting that I might have a tiny problem with WINE!  Hee hee hee!

Listen – I’m not some strident, mirthless neo-prohibitionist.  I’m not anti-alcohol.  I’m the first one to poke fun at myself and my disease.  Humor is one of the many ways I keep it in check.  But there’s something about “wine humor” that I find really off-putting, and…kind of scary.  It feeds into the still-prevalent idea that alcoholism is something to be laughed at, except when it gets ugly or otherwise inconvenient, and then it becomes something to point fingers at.  Where’s your self-control?  Why don’t you just stop at one or two?  What’s the matter with you?  Ohhhh, look at that doormat!  It says, “You can’t buy happiness….but you can buy WINE!”  That’s so cute!

But the main issue I have with “wine humor” is that it seems to particularly target women.  It pushes wine as a harmless, and humorous, antidote to stress and anxiety.   A recent Wall Street Journal article about women and alcohol cited some rather disturbing statistics:

In the nine years between 1998 and 2007, the number of women arrested for drunken driving rose 30%…between 1999 and 2008, the number of…women who showed up in emergency rooms for being dangerously intoxicated rose by 52%.

In addition, women who abuse alcohol are more susceptible to alcohol-related heart disease and cirrhosis.

And yet cutesy gifts effectively giving women the A-OK to drink lots of wine are apparently really popular.  Wine, you see, is respectable.  It’s classy.  There is a ritual to wine.  Wine is something you pair with cheese, something you select based on your dinner menu.  Even if you’re drinking maybe a little more than you really should at night, it’s not something you’re abusing.  That’s vodka.

A sober friend of mine ONLY drank wine when she was still an active alcoholic.  And not Two Buck Chuck.  And always out of very nice stemware.  But it was always too much, it was always to drown out the voices in her head – the voices that nearly every woman alcoholic I know hears – telling her she wasn’t enough.  It was always to quiet the virtually nonstop thrum of panic.

11 years after my last drink (a plastic cup of Chardonnay, by the by), I am still learning how to deal with a stressful day/painful situation/room full of people without the aid of alcohol.  I don’t get to have a glass of wine to smooth the rough edges, and I suspect some people who are reading this believe I’m spoiling the “wine humor” fun for everybody else out of (pun intended) sour grapes.

As I said earlier, I’m not anti-drinking.  What I’m saying is this: most humor is not without its basis in some kind of pain.  It’s why I can laugh at myself, and at the absurdity of my situation.  But “wine humor,” to me, just isn’t particularly funny.



I am eleven years sober today.

If one looks at one’s sobriety date as a rebirth of sorts, I guess you could say that I am in the “tween” stage of my recovery, like the sober equivalent of a Belieber who writes stuff on her arms in pink marker. Beginning to assert my independence by being kind of a brat. “Just drop me off HERE, Mom….I don’t want anyone to know YOU drove me.”

Does that make sense? Probably not.  Anyway…

Usually what I’ve done in the past, when I’m writing something on my anniversary, is go back and talk about what an unholy fucking wreck of a person I was in June of 2002. I was standing on the precipice of just one more in a series of burned bridges for which I was responsible because I couldn’t stop drinking. But most of you know this.

The morning I had my last drink (which kind of – technically – wasn’t my last drink because I actually couldn’t keep it down) was like every morning which had preceded it for months and months. I was singularly incapable of dealing with anything without anesthesia. I’d have something to settle my nerves and to stop my hands from shaking, and then sit at my desk and try to look like I was doing something, until the panic would well up in me again and I’d have to scurry off somewhere to attempt, once again, to drown it.

But as any recovering addict will tell you, you can never, ever chemically beat the fear into submission. It always comes roaring back, angered by your attempts to hold its head underbourbon. Or undervodka. Underchardonnay. Whatever.
But I wasn’t going to talk about all of that today.

This morning was like nearly every morning which has preceded it for several years. I got up. I scooped poop from the litter box. I made coffee. I assessed the leg stubble situation to figure out if I could get away with one more day of wearing a kicky little dress without shaving.

Let me tell you something: these are all miracles.

Part of my recovery is making sure that I never entirely lose sight of the fact that by the end of my drinking, I couldn’t even handle doing laundry. Another part of my recovery is making sure that I never tell myself “I wasn’t THAT bad.” Because I was. I was well on my way to drinking myself to death. That I can have a morning involving cat poop and leg stubble is a gift.

There are challenges right now. My mother-in-law continues to decline. I have to accept that I cannot reverse what is happening to her. There is no “reset” button I can hit that will make her the person she used to be. It is difficult to see this as a “gift.” It is a learning experience, certainly.

My mother-in-law lives from moment to moment now, pretty much. Explaining something that is coming up even two days into the future puzzles her. In a way, it’s kind of a template for the way I should be living. What I have is today, with its accompanying cat poop and coffee and challenges and joys. If I look too far ahead, I get overwhelmed. If I hold fast to expectations, I will invariably be disappointed.

Today’s pretty good so far. You?

Single Set Drama


In high school, our Drama Club competed each year in a one-act play festival. We’d square off against other high school drama clubs in an orgy of hormones, showtunes, and Ben Nye pancake foundation. It was horrifying. It was glorious.

The challenge, each year, was to come up with something brief-yet-substantive, with a set flexible enough to travel and to fit onto more than just our own stage. As a result, someone sitting through a typical round would see a lot of single set plays. Living room dramas, dining room farces, kitchen confessionals. Keeping things small and compact typically ensured our repeated success.

I think back often to those festivals, and to the time I spent in Drama Club in general. Despite a great deal of turmoil on the home front and a deeply complicated relationship with my father, the time I spent onstage, backstage, on buses to and from competitions and to and from New York City, was a time in which I was the most comfortable with myself. In that environment, I felt utterly safe and valued. It provided a near-daily shot of magic into a life that was otherwise fraught with a lot of uncertainty. I never wanted to stop the process of transformation. So I went on to study theatre in college.

But then I “grew up,” which is to say that I started engaging in activities that I thought were pretty sophisticated, and more real than those which had protected me as a teenager. Those activities typically involved a lot of alcohol, and rather spontaneous “romantic” encounters. And even after I’d settled down on the latter front, on the former I drunkenly raged through the rest of my twenties and into the beginning of my thirties, long after drinking had any sort of even remotely magical effect on me. Oh, it was still transformative, to be sure, but I no longer transformed into anything pretty, witty or bright.

The other thing I began to notice was how very small my world was becoming. Because I was no longer particularly interested in alcohol as a social lubricant. I had no desire to be social. No, what I really liked to do was buy an asspocket of Jack Daniels, retreat to the “music room” (which in any normal house would have been the dining room, but I felt no need to entertain people in that kind of way, and so it became the room in which we put my records, the turntable, and our various and sundry stringed instruments) and drink. Drink, and listen to the same two or three songs over and over again. Drink until I felt better, which is to say nothing, and pass out.

This is what happens when alcoholism creeps up on you: you become the solitary performer in a single set play, only there isn’t any audience, or if there is, they’re walking out in the middle of it. It happened to my father, who by the end of his drinking lived in one room. It happened to me, hiding in one room and mentally staying in that one room even when I left it to go to work. It’s not particularly interesting to watch or be a part of, even as we convinced ourselves that we were the principal characters in our own great tragedies.

It’s an act that goes nowhere. Dramatic stasis. It will go on and on just as it’s going unless something comes along to change it.

So my father and I had to decide if it was worth writing a second act. It was. We did. It’s still in revisions. Generally speaking, we don’t give a shit what the critics will say.

In sobriety I found that comfort again. I’m not able to memorize lines quite as quickly as I used to, but I surround myself with magic, and with magic people (a couple of whom were in Drama Club with me all those years ago). I am acutely aware of what sustains me, and I don’t ever want to wander away from it again. And when the curtain goes down, I want this production to have been a success.

Symbols and dishonesty.


One of the things I knew I’d have to work on the hardest, once I managed to get the “not drinking” thing more or less under control, was my niggling habit of being a total liar.

I think that’s one of the things that kept me drinking long after drinking ceased to work, to be honest (see what I did there?).

In the time I’ve been sober, and in the time I’ve been hanging around other sober people, I’ve come to understand that they’re pretty well entwined, substance abuse and telling whoppers.  They’re reactive behaviors.  I did both as a response to what I was perceiving.  I did both because they (very temporarily) provided a quick “hit” of relief whenever I was feeling any kind of discomfort.  I drank, and I lied, because these things allowed me to be somebody other than I was.

Feeling awkward in a social situation?  Drink.

Feeling like I’m somehow going to be found wanting when weighed against someone else?  Lie.

Yes, I’ve read that book.  Yes, I am also a fan of that movie.  Yes, I know who that obscure German industrial band is.

Will I be more interesting to you?  Then I will say these things.  And I will drink so that these things pour out of me like bad poetry into a spiral notebook.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

Years ago, I read a biography of Edie Sedgwick, and was struck by something she did during her time living in Cambridge.  She was hanging around with a lot of Harvard University students, and while they adored her, and despite the fact that she was studying sculpture, she insisted on walking around Harvard Square with a hardcover copy of A Tale of Two Cities.  I related immediately to this little quirk.  I grasped that she, in essence, wanted everyone to believe she belonged there.  Simple enough to carry a book around and appear as though you’re well-read.  Just pray that nobody asks you what you’re reading.

When I was in college, I went to Cocoa Beach one weekend with my roommate, her boyfriend, and a guy I thought I was seeing.  I wasn’t really clear on what we were supposed to be to one another.  And this little weekend getaway was going to clear that up for me.  He’d hold my hand, put his arm around me, and I’d think that maybe he was heading into boyfriend territory.  But then we went out for coffee at some diner, and after we’d ordered, he closed his eyes for a few moments and then looked at me, meaningfully.  “I just sent a thought to someone.”


“Yes.  I sent it to the girl I’m in love with.”

He then proceeded to tell me what a complicated relationship they’d had, but she was in Michigan.

“I see.  Did she get it?”

“I think so.”

“Well, maybe she’ll send a…thought…back to you.”

The next morning, my roommate and I went to get breakfast to bring back to the condo in which we were staying.  And I ducked into Ron Jon.  And it was in Ron Jon that I found myself seriously considering buying a used surfboard.  Just to have in my room, you know.  In case someone walked by and saw it and would come to the conclusion that I was….Gidget.  Or something.  I was so craving reinvention at that moment, was so desperate than to be anyone other than the girl sitting across from a guy who was “sending thoughts” to another girl in fucking Michigan, that the complete absurdity of buying a surfboard was nowhere in my thought process.

Fortunately, common sense – in the form of my roommate – prevailed:  “And how in the hell are we supposed to get that back to the dorm, Lees?  Jesus.  You’re insane.”

Edie’s book.  My (potential) surfboard.  External symbols of an internal need to be someone other than who we are, because who we are seems woefully inadequate.  Edie became a drug addict.  I became an alcoholic.  Edie died before having a chance to get at the painful truth about herself.  I’m trying to be more honest with myself.

In which I think about my ink.


Say what now?

I’ve seen this “flowchart” bouncing around Pinterest and Facebook lately.

As someone who is trying not to take everything so PERSONALLY (and as a recovering addict, this is a daily challenge), I get that it’s a “funny” way to get people to think before they ink.

But as someone with a fair amount of ink, the assumptions this flowchart makes are – well – kind of insulting.

Now – I’m used to being insulted, both by total strangers and by people who know me. I remember showing up at a family reunion with half my head shaved and spending that long weekend enduring whispered reports that my hair was the topic of many discussions. I’ve had people come right up to me and tell me how much more “attractive” I’d be if I wasn’t dressed like a derelict. And I’ve gotten the stink-eye more times than I can count. This is part and parcel for anyone who’s made the decision to let his or her freak flag fly. I get that, and have tried to accept it ever since I was a teenager, when my friend Keith gave me the straight dope one afternoon in study hall: “Look, Lees – if you’re going to go around looking a certain way, you’re going to have to deal with people giving you shit for it. So either stop dressing like that, or stop whining about it.”

So I’m used to people expressing disapproval at my appearance, which isn’t even that extreme anymore. I now look like what I am: a somewhat-eccentric, “artsy” woman hurtling toward middle age. We’re a dime a dozen around here, and it’s safe to say that most of us have at least one tattoo.

I get why people don’t want a tattoo. What I don’t get is why some of these same people can’t accept that there are those of us who DO want them, and DO have them, without accusing us of possessing poor judgment, of being under the influence, or of lacking that nebulous state known as “class.”

And that’s what chafes me about this flowchart. It makes some pretty broad assumptions and/or sweeping generalizations which, I’m sorry, in 2012 are just fucking silly. Plenty of us tattooed folks hold “white collar” jobs. Plenty of women have tattoos on their lower backs and aren’t “easy,” nor do they particularly want to be thought of as such. And don’t even get me started on the homophobic undercurrent happening there.

So to the people who post this stupid flowchart on their Facebook pages, or repin it on their Pinterest boards, I ask you this: why are you wearing that dress? That hat? Those shoes? More than likely your answer will be that you wear these things because you like them, and you like the way you feel in them. Right? It’s decorating yourself, is it not? You’re making a statement about who you are and what you like. It is no different for us, only we’ve decided that we don’t want to take these decorations off.

The idea of permanence is uncomfortable for some. I understand that. Trust me when I say that I’ve weighed that particular concern very carefully, and ultimately came to the conclusion that I like the idea of my story – the people I have encountered and the things that have challenged and inspired me – right there, on my skin. And so I moved ahead with it. It is an ever-evolving installation. I have an artist I adore who understands me and – each time I come to him with another element of my story – works with me to make sure he gets it exactly right. My tattoos are about trust. They’re about enduring discomfort with the knowledge that when the discomfort has subsided, I will have something beautiful. That’s what my recovery has been about from the day I realized I had to stop drinking. And one of my tattoos reflects that concept: an cailín a bhfuil áilleacht an bhróin ina gnúis. It’s Gaelic, and translates roughly to “the girl with the beauty of sorrow in her face.”

Are there people who act hastily? Who get a little tipsy and make a rash decision that they may come to regret? Of course. In my experience, these folks are largely the exception, and not the rule. But you know what? They’re not “classless,” either. Think a minute. “Consider the source,” as my dad always says. That’s all I’m asking. I’m really trying not to whine.

Ask me about my tattoos; I’m happy to explain why I have them, provided you’re genuinely interested and not throwing shade.

What I Don’t Miss…


I was reading an article in the Globe this morning about President Obama, homebrewer. And it made me a little wistful.

Because I won’t lie. I miss beer. Sometimes – I really, really miss beer.

I miss microbrews. I miss a nice Hefeweizen with a slice of orange in the summer. I miss a pint (or three) of Guinness in the winter. I miss the ritual of the two-part pour.

Most of all – I miss believing that because I knew so much about beer, because I wouldn’t be caught dead drinking a Budweiser, that I wasn’t – couldn’t POSSIBLY be – an alcoholic. Alcoholics, after all, aren’t as “discerning” as I was. Right?

I’ll tell you – it’s hard sometimes. Even after ten+ years of sobriety, being in a place like The Burren fills me with a longing that a hundred plates of curry & chips will never assuage. I think, “GOD, I miss Guinness.”

It’s then that I have to remember what I DON’T miss.

I don’t miss waking up with a hangover that I could feel in my back molars.

I don’t miss the prolonged crying/screaming jags I’d have outside of The Burren, TT’s, The Middle East, The Field, or The Phoenix Landing.

I don’t miss the tiny fragment of clarity I’d experience when I’d stop crying/screaming long enough to look into the eyes of whatever guy I’d been involved with and see the moment of realization that he was with a truly crazy, sick young woman, and then the disconnect.

I don’t miss waking up and either having something missing (wallets, keys, sweaters, dudes), or being in possession of something that I’d have no recollection of acquiring (candleholders, table centerpieces, sweaters, dudes).

I don’t miss wondering how much longer I could get away with being a drunk before Kevin would leave me, before I’d lose my job, before I’d have one too many and wind up in the hospital…provided I’d be discovered in time.

I don’t miss some of the really BAD decisions I’d make in order to keep drinking, decisions that endangered me, compromised my morals, sold myself short.

I don’t miss keeping track of what liquor store I’d gone to the day before, so that I wouldn’t go there two days in a row, because I didn’t want the person at the counter to think I was an alcoholic.

I don’t miss the spectacle of far too many ATM receipts in my pocket, all of them accrued in a single evening.

I don’t miss having drinking define me — being afraid to stop drinking because I would lose some crucial aspect of my personality.

So, yeah. I miss beer. But I don’t miss it that much.

Line Garden


In between my eyebrows there is the start of what seems to be a dastardly clump of “fine lines.”

It’s all well and good for me to come on here and demand that women love themselves without resorting to drastic measures, when my skin is still relatively supple and I fit into most of my clothes. It’s another thing altogether to be confronted with the indefatigable fact that my fantasies of going undercover as a high school student, sorority sister, or American Idol contestant have been forever dashed against the craggy outline of my aging face. I feel betrayed. I have dutifully slathered myself in sunscreen for as long as I can remember. I don’t smoke, and I haven’t had an alcoholic beverage in over 9 ½ years. And not only am I still dealing with chin breakouts at the age of 41, now I’ve got these crinkly bits on my face. For a split second, I found myself pulling and tugging at the skin on my forehead, wondering just how painful them Botox shots really are.

And then I thought, well, hadn’t I – in a way – EARNED these? Didn’t they represent 41 years of doing and feeling stuff? I came by them honestly. They could represent any number of life events. My first year of sobriety, and having to go through all the holidays, birthdays, weddings, and other such events where drinking was a given. A lump. A mammogram. A biopsy, and then waiting not-very-patiently on the results of said biopsy. Staring down the barrel of the possible end of my marriage. 4 different moves (3 of them sans professional movers). Getting my MFA. My dad’s triple bypass. Worrying about friends and loved ones. Getting frustrated with friends and loved ones. Losing friends and loved ones. Trying not to fly off the handle when friends and loved ones keep doing the things that took the other friends and loved ones out.

Too, they could represent the many, many things that baffle me and cause me to furrow my brow. Tila Tequila. Log Cabin Republicans. People who keep trying to sell me on Ayn Rand. Glee. Fat free potato chips. Julie Taymor. Dubstep. Flip-flops worn outside of the shower/pool/beach. Rick Santorum. “Leaf Peeping.”

In the end, what are wrinkles but proof that we’re not here forever? Some people would find that terrifying. Some people find aging terrifying. I find it annoying, but necessary. I’m 41, and I don’t especially want to pass for 25. I don’t know about you, but 25 wasn’t all that great for me. You can’t go back. Well, you can – emotionally and mentally. I happen to know a thing or two about that, and I’ll tell you: sometimes certain people, places, things, and behaviors need to stay in the past.

And I’m reminded of when I first realized I had to stop drinking. I was 31, and actually quite a bit more haggard than I am now (drinking’ll do that). I would sit in church basements and – sort of – listen, but mainly I was trying to pass as someone who hadn’t been drinking just minutes before I walked in. I know now, of course, that I wasn’t fooling anyone. And yet the women in these basements treated me with such kindness when by rights they should have recoiled from me. And their stories were all over their faces, in every crease and line and wrinkle. I wanted to be, more than anything, an old sober lady. With any luck, I will be.

Fuck the Botox. I’m cultivating my line garden.



One of my best sober friends (actually one of my best friends period) is Nick.  We share the same fondness for trash culture and catty remarks, and have spent many a Sunday morning howling with laughter.

One such morning I remember him saying, almost wistfully, “God, you would have been SO much FUN to drink with.”  I knew what he meant.  There would have been a time when we could have held court at some bar like the bitchy queens we are, trading witty barbs and laughing at other people’s shoes.  And it would have been fun.  That is, it would have been fun until closing time, when we’d go home and be without our audience.

I found myself thinking about that kind of “fun” yesterday.  These days, I very seldom get nostalgic for my drinking years.  I’ve rewired my brain sufficiently that any kind of yearning I might feel is immediately short-circuited.  But yesterday was our end-of-season staff barbeque and general blowing-off-steam get-together.

I am in a somewhat unique position in that I have worked at the same place for over 18 years.  I was a drunken mess here, and I am now a sober responsible mess here.  So I can stand in pretty much any one area of this building and recall being a drunken mess with virtually all the same scenery (literally and figuratively).  And so it was at yesterday’s staff party.

We had grills going, we had trash barrels full of beer and soda, we set up a giant bouncy house in the middle of the scene shop.  And the carpenters and electricians chipped in and got an ice luge.  If you’re not familiar with this, it’s a large block of ice with curving channels carved into it.  From Wikipedia:

A determined quantity of liquid, typically liquor, is poured into a channel at the top of the luge. A few seconds later the drink is dispensed at the bottom of the channel at an ice cold temperature…directly into an open mouth of a participant.

It was a source of great amusement to the staff, many of whom took a turn at the bottom.  My coworkers are good sports, the kind of people who can let loose once in a while – like, oh, what the hell, I’ll do this once, have a burger and then go home and have a good laugh about it.

I do not understand these people at all.

Also in attendance were most of the actors in the company we are playing host to for the next several weeks.  They are here from England performing two of Shakespeare’s plays in repertory.  Further, they love to have a good time.

I stood there with my Diet Coke and reflected on the whole scene.  For my 23-year-old self, this would have been absolute heaven:  virtually unlimited supplies of alcohol and English actors.  Instead of trotting dutifully home at 6:30, I would have closed that sucker down.  There would be laughter, mirth, several turns at the luge, and roundly inappropriate behavior with at least one of those English actors.


And that’s when I had to force myself to remember something that one of my early “sobriety mentors” told me.  She was a fabulous woman named Gloria.  Mobility issues had confined her to a wheelchair, but she cheerfully dispensed advice and was absolutely invaluable to me when I was sick, sad and scared.  When I’d lament that drinking used to be SO MUCH FUN and why can’t it just be FUN again she’d say to me, “Honey, you have got to play the whole movie.  What you’re doing is showing the trailer.  You’re only seeing the good parts.”

And here I was, almost nine years later, doing the same thing.  What I wasn’t playing in my head was the fact that the English actors would invariably go back to their rooms, begging off any further “fun” because of their grueling performance schedule.  I would be left to manage to get myself home, drunk, smeary-eyed and vaguely embarrassed.  I’d be hungover for about two full days.  I would probably have had to avoid at least one of the English actors for the rest of the run.


I looked over at the clock hanging near the band saw.  6:15.  I knew this party would go until at least midnight, but I finished my Diet Coke, grabbed one more burger, went home and had a good laugh about it.