As I’ve mentioned in several previous blogs there is a bar a couple blocks from my house that is sort of like my Cheers. What separates it from Sam’s bar are the little amenities such as the broken glass speckling the back patio, a strange odor of something decomposing behind the bar, a house rat named Splinter who is seen dashing from one trash can to another, and a clientele that includes eccentric intellectuals, well-dressed attorneys, not so well-dressed attorneys, professional rehabbers and folks bordering on homelessness. We all have one thing in common though: we are all drinking to avoid something painful in our lives we would rather not confront. At least not today.
For me the demons summoning me back to the bar are lifelong struggles with depression and the unexpected widowhood I was thrust into a couple of years ago. I have another blog on WordPress devoted entirely to that little life fuck so I am not going to dwell on that experience here, however I do think many of the mistakes I have made over the past year have been a direct result of that security being snatched from me. I like to call them grief fumbles.
My husband never liked this bar so we rarely went there and I consequently lost touch with many of my friends. In hindsight I’m glad it wasn’t our bar because now it can be mine again, and it doesn’t summon to the surface memories of my old life. He died and I picked up my former habits and hangouts without much hesitation.
Unfortunately the bar has its own new set of haunts for me now. For starters I’ve had many emotional and weepy public breakdowns so I’m already that girl who cries easily…even more so when shots of whiskey are passed to me or I’ve taken a few too many Xanax. I also had an extremely turbulent 9-month relationship with one of the regulars that ultimately ended with him being kicked out for starting fights. I’m not going to take all the blame for that but I’m sure I was some sort of catalyst in his breakdown, and I know his friends probably hold that against me just a little.
I also became desperately lonely and lost after that relationship ended so I tried to put bandages over all my past wounds by fucking whoever came my way. I was slightly discerning… slightly being emphasized here. In a predominantly male bar finding band-aids is fairly simple because guys get drunk and want to stick it in something warm and wet…and there I was. How convenient for us all. But now I feel the embarrassment of slut-shaming. I know I shouldn’t feel bad because I used them the same way they used me but we all know the cultural and societal differences between the sexes, and being a male who sleeps around makes you the Silverback, however being the female who does the same just makes you a simple whore. I slept with guys because I was incredibly lonely and craved affection and human contact. That’s it. I knew none of them would ever be able to fill the void my husband left in my life, but it felt nice to close my eyes for just a minute and feel something besides the overwhelming absence of him. Grief fumbles…
And most recently I had my overnight stay at the hospital under suicide watch. I didn’t even try to hide this because the bar is small and my neighbors who also visit the bar on a regular basis saw the ambulance. I made it fairly easy to put the pieces together considering the days leading up to my trip in the ambulance were filled with multiple breakdowns, and numerous texts and phone calls I have no recollection of making. It isn’t like I gave a shit if it was a secret because I wrote about it here. My philosophy is make fun of yourself before they get the chance to. I believe this strategy at least takes some of the fun out of it for them.
Now I am in a very complicated relationship with this bar. Sure, guys talk shit about me and probably exchange details but we all kiss and tell right? And I’m certainly not the only individual in that place who hasn’t overdosed or made a complete ass out of themselves during a drunken binge weekend. But now the bar has become that boyfriend you know you should break up with because the relationship is toxic in every way imaginable, and yet there is the comforting familiarity of knowing each other’s faults, and accepting them…sort of. It’s just easier to remain in an uncomfortable situation than to leave and have to start over again, most likely making the same mistakes with a new cast of characters. So I guess you’ll know where to find me tonight, despite all of the voices screaming from my heart and my head to stay away and end it.