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There’s something about Sunday night
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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I drink alone

Friday was the worst day of my work life thus far. It involved claims of suicidal tendancies, a very long wait at the emergency room, and a feeling of complete and utter helplessness. And it all happened in not just eight hours, but twelve. I actually cried when I was done. (No matter how upsetting or frustrating things get, I rarely cry at work.)

I left work at 8 p.m., having been too busy to eat lunch or dinner, and drove through wet streets that shone during flashes of lightning. (It was a dark and stormy night.) I didn't know what to do, where to go, how to process my day, and how to work up strength to return to work on Monday. I just knew I couldn't think about it.

I ended up at my favorite burrito lounge. Busy on a Friday night, there was only room at the bar, which is where I wanted to be.

I'm not entirely at ease--not at all, in fact--being alone at a bar. But I absolutely couldn't be with anyone at the moment, nor could I face going home.

I ordered a Corona, and hunched over the bar. It was awkward. For me, anyway. No doubt no one else in the bar and restaurant even gave a second thought to me, but I felt out of place and uneasy in my position. It helped to keep a hand on my beer, and soon I drained it. My brain slowed down and emptied. I started to feel blessedly numb. I stopped worrying about how I looked to others, and what they thought. I stopped worrying if I looked too exhausted or worried or upset.

The bartender was inept, but he finally noticed my empty bottle, and gave me another. I ordered food. I ate slowly, and memorized the labels on the bottles behind the bar. I tried not to stare at the people in conversation to either side of me. I got drunkish.

I was ready to leave when the bartender set down another beer, and said it was from a guy in the kitchen. I think he was a little runty guy, and I was far too old for him. But I felt it would be poor form to turn down the drink, and besides, it was only the second time a stranger had ever bought me a drink (the first was at a club in college, when the waitress pointed out a skeevy guy who offered a drink and suggested I turn him down. I got a water instead.). He didn't bother me. In fact, he didn't even approach me. He was probably the type who just likes to be able to say he's gotten a woman's drink before.

I drank it slowly, for I still had to drive. And then I was ready, and my mind was softer and clearer and more peaceful, and I was able to put work behind me and go home.

It's not something I can do easily or often, but in the end, I was glad I did. I like being able to do things alone.

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Blogger Skeezix said...

Sometimes you just need to do that. I know I've done it before (drink by myself) and frankly it really does help ease the pain of the day.

5:40 AM  

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