Friday, October 29, 2010

Going to A Bar Sober

Okay okay, so last night I went to a bar after dinner with a friend.  Since I've been sober for over four months I'm feeling pretty good about things, and have made some successful attempts toward socializing while not drinking.  I played some great ping pong the other night.  I went out to see a movie.  I know, these seem relatively minor generally, and they are, but just being with other people in a social setting when drinking is typically involved and I'm not drinking, is good = makes inherent sense.  The more of a track record I can build up not drinking but hanging out where people might drink, the better.

And so last night I went to a bar.  It was the first really loud noisy and hugely stinky bar I went to since becoming sober this time.  And it was immediately familiar in a way.  But I was decidedly removed from the situation, which meant that all I could stammer out to a friend was "gosh, it's really loud in here, isn't it"--long pause, looking around, me looking at the ceiling, noticing the patrons and their varying states of drunkeness, the way that they were harsh then soft within their own conversations, and the generally brittle timbre of the music (thin and heavily tinged toward highs and lows)--"it is really really loud in here, is't it?"""  And then nothing.  Because there was nothing more.  I left.  I just decided to leave and go home.  And as I walked, the music faded out behind me, and I saw that some people were headed over to the bar, and excited for the place, for the scene, for the chance to mingle.

I distinctly remember arriving at bars ensconced in ambiguity and general inwardness only to drink, then drink again, until, over an hour or two, I would find into the land of extroversion and humor and a generally good state.  A drunk state too.  And over the course of the night, the experience took on a different vibe.  The dimness of the lighting wasn't just hiding the run down nature of the place, but making it into something else, something new.  And the the churning ice cream factory that produced excursions of motley conversations, and the extremes of behavior and the general need to keep pushing toward some infinite horizon that wasn't actually there at all, until utter exhaustion couldn't even get a foothold into the stubborn lock down that was my mind.  These same bars would become little nooks of activity and home life, teaming with potential.  And they would do so over and over, for me, if I let them.  Every night they could hold the same promise: to remove me from my own world, to make me think that my world existed in their walls.   To allow me to continue the fantasy that other aspects were swimming along.  In short, to equalize me with other bar denizens, friends, whom I could then manufacture into points of measure, to benchmark where I was and how I stood, whether it was slumped or straight.

And these days changing means being quieter, not more noisy.  So the bar looked sterile in a peculiar way.  Sterile and full of people.  Objective and obvious and not inviting.  So I left.

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