Wednesday, October 19, 2005

FLASHBACK: April 1992

Smash!!

In disgust at his "perfect life", I reached into the far left cabinet near the sink, pulled out one of my leaded crystal goblets I bought several years earlier, rarely used but kept for special occassions, and hurled it at Wayne's closed bedroom door shortly after he bid me goodnight, went into his room and closed his door. It shattered loudly into a million pieces.

Wayne was a friend of my best friend Linda.

Linda introduced me to Wayne in 1990 with the hopes we would be a match. Linda loved playing Dolly Levi, Matchmaker. She even did it, in a way, for a living through her Friends Program at the Blackstone Valley Center for Retarded Citizens. She arranged for dates among the clientelle of the program. She and I while I worked there and even after I left Blackstone Valley, supported this important social resource for the developmentally disabled.

We went one one date and although he had a great personality, I knew it would go no where as a relatonship.
1. He was way too hairy on his body, and was balding on his head, big turn off for me.
2. He was one of the most swich fags I've known outside of the bar queens. I need a man.
3. He had a very long nail on the pinky finger of his right hand . I mean, really about 3 inches. He said it was just a "fashion statement" but I was convinced that it was for snorting coke. (It turns out as years went on and I got to know him that it was indeed just a fashion fad.)

I didn't reconnect with Wayne until Christmas of 1991.

On December 7, 1991 I encountered one of the first major instances of frustration with trying to come clean from alcohol abuse.

I had resolved a week earlier to rid my life of alcohol. I had noticed that I was drinking an average of a case of beer a week and it was affecting even my non-drinking thinking...that is, even after the hangover and subsequent sobriety, I was left with periods of doubt, ineffective thinking, and diminished cognitive abilities. I was also gaining weight again having lost the 50 or so excess pounds I gained in 1987. I was up to 240 lbs.

On this day, I opened my fridge and saw on the condiment shelf an unopened can of Coors Light. (That was my favored beer back then).

Within seconds I was one my knees in front of the open fridge, crying my eyes out. I was torn. I wanted so much to drink it, but I also so much wanted to not drink it.

For alcoholics out there, I think only you could relate. The feeling is so disturbing. You don't know which impulse is really you...the you you have supposedly known all your life.

Eventually I succeeded in dumping the beer down the drain but it was not the end of my struggles over the next few months.

Around Christmas-time I knew that living alone was a detriment...too much freedom to drink. I found out that Wayne had just moved to a small apartment in a gay-enclave area of Providence, but wasn't really happy about the size of his loft studio apartment and the high rent.

I arranged through Linda to meet with Wayne again. Other than our ill-fated date, Wayne and I had been together in the fall of 1991 to arrange and attend Linda's 40th birthday bash with rented limo and reservations at her favorite Arabic restaurant in Worcester so it hadn't been that long ago I had spoken with him. (I had seen him at at least one Blackstone Valley theatrical event he was working for as well...he worked at Blackstone Valley Center (BVC) with Linda...at the time I was working for Northern RI Assoc. of Retarded Citizens (aka NRARC))

Wayne and I got together and subsequently went out to our favorite club "12 Caesars" a few times.

Though now we were on a purely pluetonic relationship, we bacame very close friends very quickly.

We both agreed it would be a great idea to rent an apartment in a safe neighborhood in Providence together in February 1992.

By March we had found our perfect apartment. Affordable, spacious, and recently remodeled. the landlord, Dan, a yuppie/preppie himself, immediately realized the value of renting to gays and was head-over-heels in desire to have us sign the lease. Wayne and I felt it was the right place so we signed a 1 year lease with him.

Wayne and I were on very opposite shifts so even though we now lived together we didn't really get to know each other fully, early on.

He would wake up around 6 am to go to his 8 am to 5 pm job and I would wake about 9 pm to go to my 11 pm to 8 am job. He liked to get at least 8 hours of sleep so he usually went to bed around 9:30. So we'd see each other for about 1/2 hour each day.

Even though I initially wanted to stop drinking altogether, I slowly found myself easily slipping into a habit again.

I sanctioned some of the drinking, at first, as sleep-endusing assistance.

Since I was on a thrird shift schedule, I needed chemically help to overcome fatigue during work hours...easy enough! COFFEE!! and I drank lots of it. But when I got home in the morning I needed to wind down in order to sleep while the sun is up, the neighbor kids are playing, the cars zooming by, etc. So I started taking nightcaps. At first just a few beers before lying down, but I felt I needed more and more so I eventually bu April was up to a 12-pack and half a fifth of bourbon every 2 days.

That fateful April afternoon I had run out of Jim Beam after drinking a few beers and a few shots of the remaining bourbon. I got in my car, drove to the neighborhood package store (can only buy liqour in Rhode Island from package stores), bought another fifth of Jim Beam an brought it home.

Wayne came home at 5:30 or so and I could hear him outside playing with the neighborhood kids. The little rugrats had been part of the reason I was still up, they were loud and obnoxious little punks. Still Wayne got along with them and I could hear he was enjoying entertaining them. Wayne is the type that gets along with anyone! He generally likes all kinds of people!!

I don't remember waht occurred over the next few hours but all I remember is feeling that he didn't care about me. He cared more about the little neighborhood brats than he did about me.

For some drunken-induced reason, this pissed me off greatly.

The throwing of the glass though, was a total impromtu impulse. And, within seconds of doing it I was shocked at what I had done and come to realize I was so NOT in-control!!

This was the first time in my life where I felt I was not capable of controlling my own actions and it scared the hell out of me!

When Wayne came out of his room and questioned me in shock about why I had done what I did, I couldn't come up with any reason. I just started to ball loudly and Wayne came over and hugged me and held me while I cried harder than I ever had on his shoulder for what seemed like hours.

The next day I vowed to never drink again.

I handed over the remainder of my Jim Beam to Wayne, he stored it away and he took on a few Al-Anon meetings to be able to deal with his alcoholic roommate.

I "came out" as a recovering alcoholic to work, friends and anyone else who would listen. I was free of the effects of alcohol in my life and proud of it.

I went on a subsequent diet and fitness program and turned my life around.

I lost over 65 lbs., adopted a philosophy of healthy living, stayed sober totally for at least 4 years and kept slim and fit with regular exercise for at least 6 years.

A Call From Park Place

Ric called about an hour ago. He says he was rushed to the hospital last night because during his intake interview his blood pressure, which was being monitored, was spiking higher and higher. Ric has high blood pressure but refuses to take medication for it. Now he has been placed on medication. He says he will discontinue it once he is out of there.

He didn't mention much more of what it was like there since I told him I was not able to get into the mailbox today and he is worried I will not be able to get his credit card bills and pay them with the prepared checks he has left. My key, for some reason, didn't seem to want to open the mailbox. I'll easily get this fixed since we have a spare key incase mine is defective somehow, but, of course, the worry-wort he is, he was fixated on this issue during our short phone conversation. Apparently there is a time limit on calls.

His speech seemed slurred and he mentioned he was tired because of the blood pressure medication. It seemed to make him forgetful as he couldn't recall some simple details during our conversation.

Meanwhile tonite I made American Chop Suey (macaroni, ground beef, spaghetti sauce and chopped onion...a real no-brainer meal), sucked down a six-pack of Killian's Irish Red and am sipping a bottle of Pepperwood Grove Cabernet right now.

Should I be in there with Ric?

I kinda envy the fact that he will have no excuse to NOT quit drinking.

He'll probably loose a good amount of weight due to less beer-supplied calories and mediocre institutional meals.

As mentioned before in a previous post, and supported by personal experience of a past recovery effort by Ric from his life-long friend Scott, Ric will likely become more of a ravenous zealot once he is released, and I'm not too looking forward to that, for sure.

It is a bit lonely without him here. Very quiet!

I think Ric doesn't really realize how much I actually do care for him.

I think I'll make a greater effort to make him aware of this when he returns.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

DO NOT PASS GO!! DO NOT COLLECT $200 !!

Well, fortunately it's not a direct sentence to county jail, just rehab for a month.

Finally, Ric and I went to his Pre-Trial last week and his lawyer made some arrangement with the prosecutor so that Ric would be able to avoid jail time and do 30 days in a treatment inhouse program. The revisitation of his case upon the acceptance of this treatment was determined to be Nov. 29.

Ric states that his lawyer said he may be reduced to a reckless charge misdemeanor rather than 3rd DUI felony. That would be very beneficial for his job.

But the treatment facility he is entering as of this evening is called Park Place Behavioral Health...thus the Monopoly connection.

Hopefully he will get the treatment he needs. You, loyal reader, have been witness to the issues I've dealt with with him regarding his drinking.

I, in the meantime, have a month with the house to myself...woo hoo!!!

Hope I don't burn it down! LOL!!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Just Another Ordinary Day or maybe My Own Ulysees-esque "Bloomsday"

Woke up at 6:12, just before the alarm clock was due to go off at 6:15. I frequently perform this little phenomenon of waking just before the alarm. Odd my sub-conscious can keep an internal sense of time, yet when conscious I am forever glancing at my watch or a clock to check the time.

Walked to work without incident, traffic very light. But then it always is everyday, isn't it? Though I-4 was jammed with cars, I smirked in defiance at the gas-guzzling metalic masters and their hapless, zombified enslaved humans trapped inside them as I passed on the bridge overhead. I strolled easily all the way to work with not one other pedestrian causing a sidewalk traffic jam.

The weather is getting just slightly more mild here in Central Florida...great for outdoor activities but one big ugly side-effect is the fact that most large building AC systems haven't been tweaked to compensate (like work, stores, etc.) so that they tend to get very cold indeed by afternoon-time. So, while it's a mild walk to work, I will freeze by end of shift. Yikes!

Today was one of those hell days at work. Crotchety caller after crotchety dumb-as-fuck caller! To make it worse, since I slept poorly, my mental capacity was well below par and it made even the simplest of problems difficult. (Ever have one of those days where you swear you're Charlie in "Flowers For Algernon" AFTER the experiment starts to fail!)

Phil is a good guy and I enjoy spending time with him at the parks and all, but his ultra-sweet demeanor with these callers is an injustice to the carefully crafted attitude of emotional-displacement/aloofness/sublime distain that most of us "seasoned" (aka "jaded and burned-out") CSRs have developed with experience. Ah, he's a nubie! He'll learn. (I so feel like David Spade in the Capital One commercials, he he!)

Phil gave me a ride to Albertson's where I bought some rather meager groceries since last week I had to visit the Walk-In Clinic to have my little fleshy blob (nick-named "Ralph" by the nurse) near my right arm pit removed. It got inflamed and threatened to be accidentally ripped off. $195, thank you, for 10 minutes, a pair of scissors and what amounts to a battery-operated souldering iron! But, at least I didn't bleed to death as would have been the outcome had I attempted the proceedure myself. Yea!

Ric is home BTW. He started his LOA (for his clinical depression, aka, preparation for his trial and possible ensuing 30-day jail sentence) last Thursday and already he is unknowingly making waves in my preferred routine.

Came home this afternoon and he proudly announced he made dinner. Oh yes, and the house reeked of it! Chicken tacos... (how difficult! he must have slaved in the kitchen for hours! LOL!!) ...and spiced so much as he likes it, with a cup and a half of garlic salt in the mixture (it tasted like it!).

TV...his preferred programming. Though I liked his choice. We watched the second half of "Frequency" with Dennis Quaid...excellent movie. I had seen it at least 2 times before. Some really huge gaps in the logic of the plot but it is a "time-travel-in-a-way" sci-fi/suspense flick so you have to take the science of it with a grain of salt (or a mouth full of Ric's chicken tacos which supply a lot more than just a grain of salt!)

We then popped in a DVD Phil lent me called "The Final Cut" with Robin Williams. Deeeeeep! But despite my penchant for "intelligent" movies, I think the director of this film was aiming too high. The science in it really had no foundation in reality and though Robin did a good job, I think he was trying just a little too hard. The traumatic childhood incident which haunted Robin's character was seemingly tragic, but a man in his profession (a "cutter", a final editor, if you will, who reviews a digital playback of a dead person's life in all it's highs and lows and presents a sanitized, neat Remembrance video for loved once at the funeral) would have nullified his own experience by the no-doubt more horrific sins and mistakes of his clients' lives. Or, at least, not have been so utterly obsessed with it to the point of hysteria...I just didn't buy it.

After the movie, I made a ramen noodle snack (well, actually 2 packs of Nissin noodles and a can of Campbell's chicken and wild rice soup mixed in!) and went here to play with Mildred while Ric watched "Supernatural" a new TV series. I have gotten into only a few TV shows this season...

"Surface" on NBC. I like the first 2 episodes but last nights was a bit of a drag. The biggest special effect of the night was either the "once daring and enterprising scientist turned Pentagon sell-out" using the creature's "fluids" to make his hand impervious to the flame of a bunsen burner, or, the "nerdy pre-pubescent teenage boy and his best buddy sidekick's" playhouse-turned-baby-beast-hideaway getting struck by lightning! Woo Hoo! Let's hope it gets better.

"Lost" on ABC. It's an enigma, wrapped in a riddle, inside a mystery! Or some shit like that! I have the strong suspicion that the show's writers brainstorm each week and come up with the next episode's quicky twists and turns of plot on the fly. Probably not, but it has that..."Hey, what if they found this!!!", or "What about if they saw this!!" feel.

"Invasion" on ABC right after "Lost". Im 50/50 on this one though. It seems like it is trying to be like "Lost" where there is very little evidence for what is going on until they have time to use many "tense" and "emotional" scenes for character-building. That way, when more of the "alien" mystery is slowly revealed, we, the audience feel more of a connection to the character's experience. Problem is though, it's done pretty much in "real-time", not "flashbacks" like "Lost". Also, the whole "alien-body-snatchers" (if that's where they're going) is sooooo over done.

Well, it's getting a bit late and I do need to be up at 6:00, so....I think I'll quickly check out the boys on "Flirt 4 Free", briefly zip over to Corbin Fisher's to see if he's updated or not yet (maybe get in a quick self-gratification), sip a bit more of my iced pink lemonade Crystal Light and let my pretty little Benedryls take me away to La La Land!