|Something feels… wrong.|
According to my friend, this pic "looks like someone just came in your eye at a kids birthday party."
… about eight or so years ago, my neighbor and I (both bartenders at the time), decided to grab breakfast one morning after a particularly long night. You know what goes great with egg bagel sandwiches? Screwdrivers. So we grabbed our breakfast to-go and made camp at our local watering hole. It was located on the main drag in town, so we made our entrance through the back, like a couple of low-down, dirty regulars.
There we sat, eating our bagels and drinking our doubles, when a woman walked in who had just dropped her kids off at school. My attention drifted from my friend to the woman as I watched her saddle up to the bar and order her "usual." When she realized she didn't have her wallet, just her check book, the bartender said, "Don't worry about it Suzy, I know you're good for it." Instead of drinking on her intention to pay later, Suzy signed a blank check and slid it across the bar, adding, "Just fill in the amount when I'm done."
That's when the voice in my head came thundering in: "This is you in twenty years," and it suddenly became a bit harder to swallow my bite of bagel. I needed something to wash it down, and this bitch had put a sour taste in my mouth.
Now back in the day, I lived in this apartment complex conveniently located one street behind a downtown that consisted of two bars, and another seven bars that also served food. The occupants of my ten-unit complex were the bartenders and servers of these fine establishments, which meant we all shared similar schedules and ambitions that consisted of nothing outside of work, booze and blow. It was just like Melrose Place.
One of the neighbors had a little girl - a four-year old daughter who I was particularly fond of, not only because we shared the same name, but we also had the same birthday. She was like my Mini-Me. I adored this kid, maybe because she felt like the shadow of the baby I didn't get to have six years prior. Who knows.
But I was no role model, that's for fucking sure. I can recall one day specifically: all the neighbors were having a BBQ and, wouldn't you know it, we ran out of beer. Fortunately the market was a stone's throw away, so I volunteered to walk over. Of course Mini-Me wanted to come with, and nothing inside informed me it would be inappropriate to stumble into a grocery store with a child - bright-eyed and innocent to the sub-current of debauchery and hedonism that fueled all my choices. In fact, it didn't dawn on me I was a horrible person until I caught the judgmental stares of every sober person buying groceries that Thursday afternoon, most likely wondering whether or not to call CPS. Only then did I hear it: "You're white trash." Excellent.
Then there were relationships. Similar to my moral compass, my "picker" has never realized a true north. I'm not accustomed to making the most fit decisions when it comes to romantic partners. But who wants to be alone? Not this girl. I mean, I recently adopted a dog in an attempt to thwart making a capricious boyfriend decision. And that's now. Back in the day, fogettaboutit - I'd go dumpster diving for a guy if I thought he might like me, so urgent was my need to fill that void of loneliness.
Every time I shacked up with a guy, seemingly so much unsolicited intuition accompanied it. I mean, gross - am I right? Who wants to deal with that naggy bitch? I remember watching an ex-boyfriend from the window of my apartment as he loaded his 50-million pound television into the bed of his truck, man-handling it like a fucking boss - the twinge of sadness I felt to see him go morphing into a sea of regret as my new boyfriend raced by on his hot pink razor scooter. I actually got to bear witness to the needle on the line-graph of my stock crashing through the ground, right before my eyes.
And goddammit it all to hell if the FIRST guy I dated in sobriety didn't come with that same sinking feeling, only this time I didn't have alcohol to drown out the voice of reason that crackled over the wire. For Christ's sake, why did that happen? I was sober. This wasn't supposed to happen anymore. I was supposed to be "fixed." But I found myself sitting across from this guy - this man I thought I was madly in love with - when the voice came through, only crystal fucking clear this time: "I'm going to outgrow him."
This is what it looks like when I'm paying attention. When I stop listening to that inner-voice things really end up going south. It's as if when looking a gift horse in the mouth, God's turns up the volume of His booming wrath to deliver a hand grenade so fierce there's no other recourse than a self-correcting response. Like the time when...
… I had a warrant issued for my arrest for check fraud. I'm sure there was a voice urging me not to (repeatedly) write that bad check to Ralphs for a hundred dollars over the cost of bread, but I wasn't hearin' it. Mama needed the cash.
Or that time I just wouldn't leave that guy, until the day he cheated on me with a Tranny and gave me gonorrhea.
|The culprit of my STD|
The beautiful thing is I now make a conscious decision to be aware of myself and my surroundings every day, which (not gonna lie) can be pretty fucking uncomfortable. But at least I'm not the recipient of discerning stares, regret, shame, or STDs anymore.
Moral of the story: pay attention. We already have the answers. Just choose to listen.