I’m going to add just one more story for the day. Mind you, this is all practice and I personally have a lot of work and thought to put into what I’m going to be doing here…
This story is for Lori. Although, I don’t think it’s necessarily one of her favorites, I think it made the list.
Once upon a time, a long time ago before I met Jay, I had terrible taste in men. Feeling unloved, un-dateable and generally throwing huge low self-esteem pity parties I would go out with almost anyone. My thought was give people a chance and you may at the very least make a friend. So, when the guy in my apartment complex asked me out, I said sure, what the hell. The warning signs were there and unheeded. I mean, climbing the rock facing of the apartments while hooked into the stairwell railing was err… exhilarating? Exciting? Different? And who didn’t have primer paint at the ready to splash on their car to keep it that fresh dull grey?
The date was supposed to be a quick trip to some coffee house for a chat. It seemed safe enough so I was game. Come date time where the guy asked me to drive, I’m guessing because he didn’t want to chance ruining the freshly painted layer of primer on his car, he asks if he can drive my car. Sure. I wasn’t keen on it, the car was new then, but sometimes I’m downright stupid when it comes to needing to say “no”. Off we go down the road to the coffee house when he suggests an alternate destination. EXCITING! “Beth, would you mind if we go to my AA meeting. I missed it this week.” Ugh. Sure. How can I deny someone their right to sobriety?
We arrive at the meeting where everyone is quite supportive, sitting in a circle telling about their latest obstacles to staying sober. Here’s where you need to know something about me. I don’t really drink. Being around a grandmother who passed out after dropping a lit cigarette and a healthy amount of alcohol on your bed and you start thinking “eh, drinking… not so much my thing”. I don’t condemn it, I just don’t overindulge and if I do, it’s so rare that it necessitates stories of their very own. So, there I am having been sober for probably 25 years and not a token or a sponsor to applaud me listening to these people’s stories.
If you have been to an AA meeting, you know one thing is true it’s not like the movies. People’s lives aren’t neatly wrapped up in a heart-warming speech. They tell long winding stories that abruptly end then pat each other on the backs and say thank you. I sat, I listened and I was thankful that I had very different problems that didn’t involve group support or speaking in public. At the end, one of the members came up to me and gave me a hug. He expressed how nice it was to have me and how he hoped to see me in the future. I thanked him and basically said “I doubt it,” which made the man step back, look at me sweetly and say “you come back when you’re ready.” At this point what could I do? If I declared “I’m not a drunk!” they would have felt sorry for the young girl in denial so I smiled and nodded at the man then headed for the car.
Back at the car my date suggests that movies might be more fun than coffee. Sure. Although, I’m thinking brain rot would be more fun, too. Off we go to the movies. I can’t tell you what we saw. I only remember one little bit from our conversation. My date informed me he was a twin. I asked, “are you fraternal twins or identical?” He looked at me a bit perplexed so I repeated the question. Still I got no answer. I finally restated the question, “do you two look alike?” He smiled and said “yeah, he looks like me.” Thinking I was funny (a mistake I’ve made many times in my life) I asked “are you sure you don’t look like him?” That caused more eyebrow furrowing and that confused expression to return.
We finally make it back to the apartment and he asks if he can come in. Sure. My friend Tammy was spending the night and I’d alerted her that the freak who climbed the apartment walls and painted his car with primer was taking me out and asked her if she could be around. My date then made for my refrigerator, helped himself to my food and then shortly thereafter I helped him out the door. The date was thankfully over.
That’s my dating story. When I look back at just how stupid it was, I can’t help but being thankful that I have Jay.