Friday, March 21, 2008

A rare evening post

Just cuz I feel like it.

For some reason, today I was thinking about an early Good Friday in my life. I was 21 years old. I was drinking a lot. I was at a Bar ! Me? On a Friday Night? At a bar? well, yes. I am an alcoholic. I was 21 years old. I went out that night with my friend Maureen. She was my best friend through high school, and we drank a lot together (a lot).

She and I had different ideas about bars in which to drink, so we indulged both of our desires. She wanted to go to the local pizza joint - where guys hung out and played foosball. Me? I liked the bar next door - it was an old man's bar. Beers were 35 cents. We went first to the pizza joint. Then to the old man's bar. Then to the pizza joint.

I think it is funny that 35 years later, I remember this night. I remember the bars. They were the Olde Town Inn (note that phony extra "e") and Wille's Tavern. Woo! Hoo! I LOVED Wille's Tavern. We were dancing to 'have nagila', which I thought was hilarious, it being Good Friday and all.

Then we went back to that stinkin' Olde Town Inn. My recollections start getting sketchy here. But I do clearly recall smelling hair burning, and looking down at my own hair burning! My hair was down to my hips and some smart ass thought it would be funny to start it on fire. Well, I quickly extinguished it - I did, after all, have a beer handy to dip it into - and went after the man who put a match to it.

First I told him off, and then I guess we struck up a "meaningful dialog." We ended up talking in my car for some reason. Sitting outside the bar, talking in my red Datsun.

And do you know what my next recollection is?

Coming out of a black out, driving a green Porsche convertible across the Pennsylvania Turnpike - with him passed out in the passenger's seat. I quickly appraised the situation and decided it wasn't too bad. Here I was, driving a really nice car, with a really good looking man, and I had all weekend to go somewhere and do something! We went to Boston to visit my sister.

On Monday, I had to catch a flight home, because my new "true love" (who had set my hair on fire just 2 days prior) was going to drive to New York to visit a friend of his. I needed to call in sick to work. Since I was the switchboard operator, no one plugged in the phone, so I could not get anyone on the phone. And you know, there were no cell phones in those days, and no voice mail, so I had to wait until I got back to Chicago and got home to try to call again. It was much too risky to phone from an airport - with all those overhead announcements and all. I got in some trouble for that sick call, but no more than usual. They were quite accustomed to my sick calls. Funny, I still recall that the next day, my calendar had a note on it from the woman who covered for me... "8 hour goof Mary!" What the hell did I care about causing my co-workers distress!

When the fire setter returned to town, he moved in with me... that was good for at least a month! He was actually a bigger drunk than I was, and I didn't much like it. Ick.

So, I guess if I want to feel like my life is boring today because I am waiting until 9 p.m. to go to bed because I am so tired... I will thoughtfully consider how much I prefer the boring to the bleeding edge of excitement I indulged in for so long.

Thank God I lived through these misadventures, and ended up sober. It is a miracle. Nothing short of a miracle.


Scott W said...

Hoo! Wonderful! In college we were watching the Mickey Mouse Club in one of the dorm TV rooms, we were stoned out of our minds, I had a big red afro and I was listening to the butane in a Bic lighter when Sue ran over and began beating the side of my head. My big red afro was aflame!

Anonymous said...

I never set my hair on fire, but I can definately relate to coming out of a blackout driving someone elses car, the the rest of the story too. Thanks for the grateful reminder

Anonymous said...

My sponsor actually set me on fire when we went over the third step. He had poured gasoline on a campfire we were trying to get started and I didn't know it until the fireball engulfed me. We still joke about it; did you turn your will over to the care of God dave...we'll see about that. It took well over a month for the hair on my arms to grow back; and the smell; well there's nothing else like it. -Dave from Maryland

Mary L A said...

How I love these archetypal weekend drinking memories. That bright-eyed crazy way of reassuring oneself that it would all work out fine (the kitchen on fire, the sex without protection, the eviction notice) and looking at some cross-eyed hungover runaway husband with vodka breath and *just knowing* you were both meant for each other!

Ordinary sober life is sheer gift.

Thanks Mary Christine and a blessed Easter.

Kathy Lynne said...

Ah yes, those were the days.....

Blessings during the season.

Pam said...

Oh that was great darlin'!
I love that in our old drinking times, when some stranger would come into the picture...they were still there two weeks either our husband, lover, enemy, landlord, brother in law. THere was just no telling. Each new person became like a surprise ending.
Enjoy your family filled Easter weekend....little marshmellow peep.

dAAve said...

Yes, I know what you mean. I am still "resting" from my 3+ decades of partying.

Zane-nawwaa said...

That's good. I came out of a blackout nude in my convertible on the 405 by LA International Airport. My clothes were on the floor. Top was down and I was by myself. At least you had a MAN.