I miss…

Intellectual bathroom graffiti: I F*@KED YOUR MOTHER!

Directly beneath this gem, in a different pen, a different hand: GO HOME DAD, YOU”RE DRUNK!

I’d like to stop right there. A flash-post. Call it done. Flash what? Not fiction. This one is real. On the bathroom wall of the Tune Inn, circa 1986. Every time I read it, I cracked a smile. And I read it a lot—I was a barfly. I could walk to the Tune Inn.

My kids can’t tell me to go home, sleep it off, stop embarrassing them. They can’t cut me off. I don’t drink. Anymore. Today I miss it.

I miss crowding into a scarred wooden booth. Empties litter the table. Puddles of beer working their way towards the edge. A double-cheeseburger with fries and gravy. A late dinner. After an appetizer of tall-boys and banter.

Photo by Dennis SteinauerI miss ruling the table. Sinking two balls on the break. A half-drained IPA close at hand. A dozen sticky glasses keeping it company, waiting to be bussed or knocked to the floor by an errant pool cue. Lining up shots, dropping the balls. Against the Machine raging from the jukebox. In the zone—that drunken, confident, euphoric zone.

I miss dinner parties of mediocre food and decent wine. And sushi dinners washed down with Singha. And pizza feasts drowned in Anchor Steam. Tapas paired with Pinot Noirs, Zinfandels and Rieslings. A table of eight. Everyone tipsy when the check is served. Cab to our next destination. Live music & Jägermeister.

I miss quiet conversation late at night. An empty bar, Guinness stout to slow me down. Making the most of my weekend. Stretching it out by refusing to sleep. Trying to keep the moment alive. Flirting with the waitress—out of respect, not for a date.

I miss reading a book until midnight. A glass of wine at my side. Not drunk, but maybe buzzed. Engrossed in my story. The household silent. My wife and kids sleeping. Content with my story and my drink. The cat sleeping against my leg. Both of us at peace.

My to-do list at work is out of control. Cross off an item, add three new ones. I came home wanting a reward for a well-fought battle. A condolence for losing the race. A cold beer. A glass of wine. But this feeling will pass. It always does. Until it does, I live with my memories.

18 thoughts on “I miss…

  1. When I was younger I was an occasional binge/social drinker. Drinking would turn me from someone who was shy into the belle of the ball, the center of attention. There is a fine line to becoming a social butterfly to drinking so much you sprain your ankle or get sick.
    I miss those days a little.

    Liked by 4 people

    • It’ hard not to miss those days. A recurring theme in my “substance abuse” stories is how great my life seemed when I was a hard core drinker. I think accepting that is part of the process of becoming a non-drinker.

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  2. I am around enough binge drinkers (the culture in Ireland encourages it) to realise I’m not able for it. You talk of sticky glasses and puddles of beer with nostalgia and I wrinkle my nose in disgust, immediately imagining the sickly sweet scent of a booze-soaked carpet that has never been cleaned. Pool, yes, dinners, yes, wine, yes, chats outside under strings of fairy lights as I drink a vodka and coke, yes – I do all of that and more – but I somehow skipped out on the Irish gene that allows people to get utterly plastered to the point of getting kicked out of places and vomiting in taxis. I find no cosy glow in the clinking of pint glasses. I like a quiet pub, with a roaring fire and decent food. I like picnic tables with outdoor heaters, and I love a white russian or two… but I’ve never had to deal with the pull you speak of.

    I admire you and your determination. I admire your control. I admire your choice, which is what it comes down to, I suppose. A choice to live a different way, and pursue different rosy glows in life.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for your vote of confidence. BTW, these memories are in chronological order starting in my mid-twenties. You’ll notice that the grungier scenes happen earlier in my life.

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  3. I’m only seventeen and I already feel like this feeling of being overwhelmed won’t end. I do know that the real deal hasn’t arrived yet. And I often find myself wondering, what’s the purpose of this? why do i have to spend my entire life running and chasing the dream of being free of all this one day even though as time passes my belief that I’ll never escape this cycle strengthens.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a good question. I’m not in the greatest position to give advice, but a good exercise is to think about what you want out of life (fame, comfort, helping others, etc) and then try to guide your life towards your goals. I think our system tries to create a bunch of clones, and much of what we learn is fairly useless for what we wind up doing.

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  4. I drank some when I was in my twenties. I didn’t like it all that much, but it seemed necessary to fit in. People say alcohol loosens you up socially, but it was the opposite for me. I was still in the closet back then, so I was even more “on guard” when I drank, lest I might say something that would give me away. When I started distance running, I drank very seldom and told people I didn’t want to harm my training. Comical excuse, but it worked.

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    • It’s interesting how some people are programmed to binge drink and others will have none of it. Other comments have shown me that people can enjoy getting buzzed and still have a healthy relationship with alcohol. I was never like that. I took an enormous amount of self control to stop drinking before I got drunk. That’s why I quit. Too exhausting.

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