Young

I just found out I saw Neil Young once.  Imagine that?

Beck (you may remember him from such hit songs as “Loser” and “Where It’s At”) was on a TV show tonight; I remarked to my boyfriend that I saw him live back in the day and that he was good.  I paused, thinking of my fragmented memories of him.  The images of distant , spotlit Beck shimmered and danced — elongated like a funhouse mirror.   Nausea came in waves, waves elongated like a funhouse mirror.  I don’t think I puked.  I was pretty lit by the time he came on though.

It was the H.O.R.D.E. tour. (Never heard of it, whippersnappers?  Stands for “Horizons of Rock Developing Everywhere” and was akin to Lollapalooza, another music fest’ you surely must have heard your parents bragging about attending).

I remembered seeing an outstanding band called Morphine who quickly commenced playing on endless loops on the CD player in my car.  The lead singer ultimately died.  I can’t see them again.

That balmy summer night piggybacked on a sunny summer day.  I had a belly full of beer:  the dusky images of stage lights, stars on stage, stars in the sky, sunset streaks in purpled hues, 20-somethings in shorts and tanks all whizzed by in magnificent jumpy blurs.  I smiled at the night, the tingling euphoria gathering momentum in my legs, staggering from show to show to beer tent.  My beer sloshing back and forth as I staggered from beer tent to show to show.

Tonight I strained my brain to recall who else played.  Was it Primus?  I’ve seen them a couple of times, but couldn’t remember where.  Yes.  They were there, according to Google.  And ………. Neil Young.   I scoured articles about the ’97 H.O.R.D.E. tour.  Had he headlined the whole thing?  Or just some dates in California?  Maybe a guest appearance in Chicago?  Nope.  The whole shebang.  I shook my head in disbelief.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a tremendous fan. I don’t even own any of his work — but I respect it.  He’s a legend.  And he was there.  But I wasn’t.

I remember with striking clarity an obese lady with a t-shirt with an iron-on type of decal.  I remember laughing, thinking how passe .  How terribly early ’80’s.  I looked closer.  It was a naked woman , full frontal.  She had a dick in front of her face – the man slightly off camera – and jism on her upper lip.  The t-shirt read, “Got Milk?  Where’s YOUR mustache?”   an allusion to the health campaign of the time.  Positively HORRIFYING.  But it was there.  I remember that with such clarity.  Why that?  Why not the Neilster?

Blues Traveler was there.  I blinked blankly at the list of bands before me.  Did not ring a bell.  Toad the Wet Sprocket. I didn’t remember their being there either.  I would not have been interested at the time — but I scratched my head, squinting stupidly at the list of bands.    Soul Coughing.  They actually WERE my thing.  I don’t remember them.  I cocked my head, staring at the computer monitor.  How could that be?  How could I not remember?  This is not ringing a bell.

All I had was that day, that summer day in 1997.  August 6th.  I blew it.  If I got pulled over, I’m sure I would have really blown it …. probably a BAC 0.350% anyway.  (And to clarify, I wasn’t the driver that night — thank God.  But I wasn’t above drinking and driving).   Neil Young was 51 then.  I will never have a chance to see him at that age again.  He’s in his 70’s now.    There is no do-over.  Time moves forward, with or without me, and doesn’t wait for me to catch up.

While I don’t have that day, while I have no time machine, I have this day.  And I choose sobriety.  Next week I see Roger Waters. You can bet your ass I’ll be sober.  I’ll remember it, too.  By the grace of God.

 

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10 Years Ago Today…….

Ten years ago today was New Year’s Day 2003.  I woke up in disappointed, discouraged disbelief that I had thrown away two months just a mere 8 hours prior.  I swallowed rum, Vanilla Extract, and  NyQuil with a chaser of Listerine.  I descended on these things like one-woman pack of hyenas on a carcass.

Struggling with sobriety, I went to a first meeting following my relapse.  People said “Hi, how are you?” and I answered.  I spoke slowly and methodically, bracing myself for a look of disappointment, discouragement and disbelief.  I saw none of that.  What I saw was encouragement.  I was embraced not disgraced.  I was encouraged not discouraged.  I was believe in and not disbelieved in.  While I didn’t have “approval,” I didn’t have disapproval.   I was appointed to the potential for a new way of life – not disappointed.  I left there feeling stronger.  It sustained me for a while longer.

By the time the spell started to wear off, by the time the strength had begun to ebb, it was time for another meeting.  Day two.  After that spell had started to wear off, by the time the strength had begun to ebb, it was time for another meeting.  Day three.  Etc.

Ten years ago today I had a one-bedroom apartment, and it felt empty and lonely and brimming with anger.  Today I live in a three-bedroom house with a family and it feels full and lively and overflowing with love.  Ten years ago today I had newly declared bankruptcy.  Today I can pay my bills; it’s a struggle, but today I’m not standing next to a stray dollar on the bar wondering if the bartender will think it’s mine and get me a draught or whether she’ll realize it was her tip from someone else.  Ten years ago today I had shaking hands.  Today I don’t have the hands of a surgeon, but nor do I feel like people are staring at me and seeing how awake and angry my nervous system really was.  Ten years ago today I had little hope for the future.  Today I know that each day keeps getting better and can’t imagine it being better than today.

My dad called me this morning to wish me a happy anniversary – and a happy new year.  I couldn’t believe he remembered.  But like my friend Joe said, “How could he forget?”

 

How I Loved to Hate ……

I found something I had written some years ago.  It was a list of things I hated.

 

Among them:

1.  A guy who lived next door to me.  He was a little “slow” and he came over a lot to visit me and my then-husband.  He just wanted people to talk to.    He never stole from me, never did anything hurtful.  Just wanted company.

2.  The lady in my office building who had frozen dinners:  tuna casserole.  From the smell to her domination of the microwave, I seethed when I saw her.  Did it matter?    She just liked melted cheese, fish and noodles!  So what?  And as for her dominating the microwave ……  I don’t think she knew for a minute that she was holding up our lunch break.  And anyways …..  I could have rescheduled my lunch hour.  I could have said something tactfully to her.  I think what I really resented was my silence about it and my steadfastness in wanting to take my break at exactly 12.

3.  Three people who incessantly obsessed over their weight loss.  So what?  So WHAT?  They were “into” something.  Was that a crime?  Couldn’t I just lend them my ear, smile and nod?

4.  People who tried to predict what the sex of my child was by ….. old wives’ tales, like my nose was flattening and my stomach was “carrying high.”  Again.  So what?

 

My Apology:

So here I am, apologizing to these people who probably never knew how intensely I hated them.  I apologize for thinking such hateful thoughts, for sending so much negative energy into the world.   I recently watched a documentary called I Am.  The gist of it is how we have this energy, all part of a greater energy (I don’t say “greater good,” because they seemed to believe it’s not necessarily a greater good if we’re spewing this negativity …….).  Something like Avatar  I guess.   It’s about the cooperation.

In I Am, they put these sensor things in yogurt to show that the basest of existence reacts to people’s energy – and this includes yogurt cultures.  The director talked about calling his lawyer and the bar of the sensor started flying around to indicate the cultures were reacting to this.

I can’t help but wonder who was affected by my negativity whether it was silent scorn or my more vocal and angry negativity.  To you, the reader, who may have been a byproduct of my butterfly affect, I apologize.  To the people specifically, the objects of my silent rage, I  apologize.

In my step meeting I heard a man say “Every day I try to cut five people some slack …… whether they cut me off in traffic or whatever ……..”  I wish I had cut these people some slack.

Thank God things are different today.

 

 

Why Alcoholics Don’t Like Recycling (Humor)

I saw this on facebook today:

It made me think of my history with empties. I would cram garbage bags full of empties into a plastic garbage can with a lid so that all of my neighbors would not see what I had been doing in my spare time. They obviously knew there weren’t any parties in my humble abode. I also lived on a busy street and who knew who would drive by and see scads of plastic bins regurgitating beer cans and large glass bottles?  I was also too embarrassed to return them to the store for the money.  Standing at a nonjudgmental machine seemed (at a cursory glance) like a good idea.  But they are almost ALWAYS near the entrance of a store.  Who could predict what coworker, neighbor, parent, friend, acquaintance would come in?  Then I could go to the liquor store and mumble about the party — I did this sometimes. I would also intentionally buy different brands so it would look like many friends with many preferences had attended.  But my face still burned with embarrassment.  I knew they knew.  The same guy taking my garbage bag was often the same guy who rang me up some nights ago.  I rotated liquor stores, yes ……

There was a time when I even bought a keg and put it in my fridge.  Now it REALLY looked like I was having a party.  I took the shelves out and the plastic bottom to the fridge buckled and moaned in rebellion.  I crammed my few necessities around this keg — a thing of eggs, a loaf of bread, some half and half for my coffee ….. all of these things teetered around the keg.  Ultimately the bottom of the fridge splintered a bit and cracked.  I put one of the shelves at the bottom to support it and kept mum to my landlord about it.  Unfortunately, the more alcohol I had ready access to, the more I drank.  That keg was a blackout machine.

Thank God I can recycle everything today in clear conscience without a worry about who will see what. Today it’s mostly empty plastic vats of berries or tomatoes, empty gallons of milk, some yogurt cups, bottles of detergent ……. and probably wayyyyyyyy too many empty diet pepsis.

My “empties” look a whole lot different today.