liquor laws.

I have a new policy regarding smoking: I can only have a cigarette (or two or three…) on days that I am not going to yoga. Essentially, I can only smoke on Tuesdays, because that it is my only definite day of rest. All other without days with yoga arise because of unpredictable circumstances: illness, traffic, heavy work load, etc. This anti-smoking stance has very little to do with the fear of cancer and respiratory illnesses. My motivation is a lot more pragmatic: the first five minutes of class are spent doing breathing exercises; these are infinitely more difficult/less rewarding when I have been smoking.

I have been really good at sticking to this. To make it easier (read: force myself to adhere to this by taking away my options), I have been leaving my cigarettes at home on all days I am planning on yoga. This strategy went downhill yesterday. I was feeling inexplicably stressed (all right, maybe it was easily explained: a lot going on at work, carrying the weight of my friends’ personal problems, the usual). I wanted a cigarette. No, I needed a cigarette. I bummed one from one of my friends in the mailroom. Alex (aka, Nana) gave me grief, as she is both anti-smoking and pro-Bikram. I defended myself, but I have to admit that I felt guilty. It started a snowball effect in my mind…”Oh, now I’m smoking…next I’m getting wasted…and then I’m losing a shoe…and then I’m drunk-dialing my ex-boyfriend…”

Okay…time out! I have been know to get wasted and lose a shoe (it’s easier than you might think)…but I have a strict “NO DRUNK DIALING” policy. Things I would rather do before I would drunkenly call someone: throw my phone in the river, eat broken glass, give up shampoo.
I will admit that I have made intoxicated phone calls to fellows in the distant past. But now I’m over it. For one, if I really have something to say to someone…and I truly, truly mean it…then I should probably call them when I am sober. If I’m nervous about speaking with someone who may/already has hurt me, but I really want to speak to them…I should just do it, without having the escape hatch of “Sorry, I was drunk.”

I guess that’s the thing about drunk dialing that upsets me the most: everyone uses intoxication as an excuse for putting themselves in a vulnerable position. Or as away to explain away the physical manifestation of their actual true feelings. If you feel the need to call someone after ten drinks, it’s because you actually miss them/have something to say. Alcohol does not induce false feelings. It only washes away the carefully constructed facades we create to protect ourselves and our image.

Here’s an example: An ex-boyfriend of mine started calling me in the wee hours some time in February. Usually he did not leave a message. I chalked it up to drunken misdialing, as we hadn’t spoken in months and months…and he had made it very clear that he (inexplicably) hated me. But then one night, he left a message asking me to call him back. “Hooray,” I thought. “He’s finally going to try to be my friend.” I was really happy! I had been missing him for a long time, but my own pride (and my self-induced obligation to respect his feelings) prevented me from contacting him. So I called him back, leaving a message. No response. I sent him an email, saying something like, “Hey, I called you back. What’s going on?” And this was the response I received:

“i apologize for calling you and imagine it won’t happen again.i’m only writing this because i know my call provoked attention, which, truly, i don’t want.i don’t remember calling but my telephone log said it happened and your response confirmed the action.it could have been and hope it was accidental.”

I was enraged by this! For one, I returned his call because he asked me to call him IN THE VOICEMAIL HE LEFT FOR ME. This was no fucking accident! He meant to call me and he wanted to talk to me. Otherwise, why would he bother dialing the phone? Once again, the whole “I was drunk and I didn’t know what I was doing because I was, you know, drunk” defense. Argh!!!!!

I should also mention that he continued to call me about once every week or two, at 2 am. Sometimes he left messages, sometimes he did not. He most frequently called on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. This went on for months.

Let’s all start holding drunk dialers accountable. The same goes for drunken texts. I say we treat all contact, even the late night slurry variety, as actual and legitimate. Who’s in on this with me?

I’ll finish this off by telling you the story that once (and for all) cured me of drunken calls, drop-bys, etc: I was terribly enamored with a boy who lived down the street from me. In fact, he lived exactly half way between a particular bar and my house. I called him from the bar when I was only a little tipsy. “Do you want some company later?” This was obviously a euphemism. No, he was feeling tired/busy/whatever (because I can’t remember). I tossed back about 8 drinks and then decided to go home. Of course, I passed his house on my way. It occurred to me that I should drop by. His house was dark, so I decided that I should just climb through his bedroom window. At this point, my memory is super fuzzy. I know that I was planning on trying to “get sexy” with him, but I was definitely far too drunk to do anything other than pass out. Some words were exchanged…and I’m pretty sure he told me I was wasted and I should go home to bed. I climbed out the window, walked down to the sidewalk, and got on my bike. I was only two blocks from home. I really should have walked, but suddenly I was in a hurry. Everything was going well, until I opened my eyes to discover that I was lying on the sidewalk with my bike on top of me. I staggered home and blacked out without getting undressed. I was so concussed/drunk, that when the boy called a few minutes later to call me, I didn’t hear the phone…even though it was next to my head on the pillow.

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