Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Road Taken Ain't So Bad

Life is the sum of all your choices.
                                                                     - Albert Camus

I gotta work out. I keep saying it all the time. I keep saying I gotta start working out. It's been about two months since I've worked out. And I just don't have the time. Which odd. Because I have the time to go out to dinner. And uh..and watch tv. And get a bone density test. And uh.. try to figure out what my phone number spells in words.
--Ellen DeGeneres

Day 30   Lookie there! That’s three 30’s since June 1. They’re so much easier to do when you’re  not looking forward to a drink at the end.

Mass was more snore provoking than thought provoking this morning and I’m still experiencing some lingering somnolence from it. I have a “discussion” every morning with my Co-writer about what I’m going to work on first, the blog or the book. I suffer from brain drain after about 11:00 am and whatever I’m writing then, suffers. I always vote for the book, because after all that is going to be my ticket out of here and get me on Oprah. Oh yeah, she doesn’t have a show anymore, I guess I’ll have to settle for Ellen, I like her better anyway. My Co-writer usually votes for the blog, he says things like there might be someone out there that can’t wait for the book and needs to hear what “we” have to say today. He has a higher opinion of “our” writing skills then I. So while I’m trying not to nod off in church this morning we are having our same argument and finally I say, “Okay, if you want me to write the blog first you’re going to have to give me a sign.”

I sit through Mass waiting and listening for a sign but today is Saint Edward’s feast day and the priest said he had no idea why he was a saint except that he was king of England when Westminster Abbey was built. Maybe if I was a carpenter, I could see a sign in that but I didn’t think it pertained to me. I went to Albertsons and I didn’t find a sign in the produce section or in the checkout line magazine headlines. Ashton and Demi are grabbing enough headlines these day and I refuse to give them another one. The drive-through window boy at McDonalds mumbled something when I picked up my breakfast burrito but I couldn’t make it out and I couldn’t read the crude, home-made tattoo across his knuckles. So got home and settled at the computer and got ready to write…but first I had to take a swing through the message boards, too many signs there to pick just one, and then I brought up my blog just to see who had stopped by since yesterday and….Lookie there! I had a new follower. I found my sign. So “new follower” I dedicate this blog to you. It is truly your lucky day to receive such a dubious honor.

I was driving down Church Street (that’s the name of the street, it’s on a sign but it’s not a sign, have I confused you yet?) in Carlsbad this morning and grinning at the at two guys bickering on the morning radio show and I got to thinking about all those mornings I drove to work with a hangover, not a grin to be found. Then I got to thinking about never having a hangover again and the grin got bigger.

I drove to the riverwalk and walked and fed the ducks and swans some rolls I had left over from last night. I prefer the ducks that honk and bump each other out of the way to get to the bread over the swans that kind of glide over to sniff (do swans sniff?) disdainfully at the bread before reluctantly eating it. No more soggy stale bread for you!

I finished my nature walk and, of course, nature came calling and I needed a bathroom. Have I told you I hate public bathrooms? Not the kind in restaurants or grocery stores but the ones in rest stops and parks. I always think I’m going to find a dead baby or a severed head floating in the toilet. I don’t know why I think that but it’s there and I can’t get rid of it. I think about holding it but I realize I’ll just be miserable during mass so I take a deep breath and hold it and go in. There is no light and the early morning sunlight isn’t quite bright enough to dispel the darkness and it takes me a minute to make out what is scrawled on the wall across from the toilet I am sitting on.

“Call 911 right now.” It says.

Well, that’s reassuring. I wash my hands and, of course, there are no paper towels and as I’m shaking the water off of my hands I look down at the overflowing trash can and there on the top is an opened pregnancy test box. I surmise that this is no happily married woman’s pregnancy test that was performed in a cold dark public restroom. I imagine it was some young teen-age girl’s, a girl who is too scared and too ashamed to do the test in the security of her own home. She doesn’t want anyone to know. I don’t know what the results are but I’m pretty sure that a positive result didn’t bring joy, it brought fear and the thought that this is the worst day of her life and that the rest of her life is ruined. She feels so alone.

Just like the teenage girl on the skateboard I blogged about yesterday, I want to talk to that girl and tell her it will be okay, that what looks like a tragedy can miraculously turn into a blessing. I was that girl thirty-two years ago, seventeen years old, still in high school, unmarried and pregnant with my oldest son. Do I regret it? Not for a second but…I will always wonder what my life would have been like if that pregnancy test would have been negative. Where would I be now? Who would I be? Would I be as strong?

Alcohol raises some of the same feelings in me. Given the choice, would I take that first drink again. Most the time I think I would answer unequivocally, “No” but then again if I hadn’t, where would I be now? Who would I be? Would I be as strong?

I’ll never know the answers to those questions. I can say, I like who I am now and I like where I am now. And I know I wouldn’t be as strong.

So today I’m just out there doing my best to flex my sober muscles and follow the signs.


  1. Wow! Lookie there, I've got two new followers and a bunch of new blogs to check out. Welcome! (Okay, up there I get your message.)

  2. I used to call those God-cookies 'bread crumbs' I just realize they were there all along and when I changed my perspective I was able to see them.

    You were a bread crumb for me. I blogged my first 2 years and can identify with the journey you've shared so far.

    Please keep writing & sharing. I enjoy your style and honesty, and admire your willingness to try again after less successful attempts at sobriety.

    I'll keep coming back. Be sober and celebrate today my new friend.


  3. Thank you, S. I will indeed celebrate the day and do it soberly. Just a few years ago I didn't what a friend of Bill W. was. The cap'n and I used to host a cruisers' net, a kind of morning radio show over the VHF radio where cruisers would call in and introduce themselves, ask questions, etc. One day someone asked if there were any friends of Bill around and the cap'n asked,"Bill who? I don't know but if they're around they'll be at Snappa's happy hour tonight."