I am inarguably drunk.
I want to put my head down on the bar. Not for a nap. I swear I am not tired. I just need a few moments to compose myself…and to stop the spinning. Several additional minutes will be required to mentally map the route back to my apartment. Because honestly, I am having a hard time remembering where I am.
But putting one’s head down on the bar is poor etiquette. Or at the very least, it will result in one’s expulsion from the establishment. I wouldn’t mind being tossed out the front door, because, well, then I wouldn’t have to search for the exit. But Cheryl doesn’t seem ready to go home. She’s talking to some guy that we might know.
We are at this weird yuppie bar on the corner of Damen and North Avenue. Why are we here? I hate this place. It shares a customer base with Banana Republic. The drinks are stupidly expensive. I am hit on by creepy former frat boys looking to rebel by fucking hipster chicks. At least they have the money to buy me drinks, but then I’m forced to listen to their favorite treatises, “Why/How the Dave Matthews Band is Really Good” and “My Intense Newfound Interest in Skydiving Makes Me Cool.”
First we were at that bar with outdoor seating. The one on Damen. I think it was once a gas station. We drank sugary red girl drinks.
Then we were at Rainbo. Andy and Thom were there. I played pinball while I downed a few gin and tonics. I was laughing to myself, remembering the first time I tried a gin and tonic. Brad was drinking one. I thought it smelled like perfume. One sip later, I realized that it tasted like some sort of awful household cleaning product. An acquired taste, I guess.
And then we came here, because this bar serves alcohol until 3 am. Or maybe four. There are so many different kinds of liquor licenses here in Chicago.
Fifteen minutes ago I was laughing while Cheryl and I tried to convince the bartender to play some Wu-tang.
An hour ago I was drinking two shots of whiskey in tandem.
Six hours ago, I was putting on shoes and lipstick, because Cheryl convinced me that going out for a drink would help me forget about everything.
Eight hours ago I was talking to Laura on the phone. “Yeah, work is going really well and Ryan and I went to Michigan a few weeks ago and I guess things are good between us again and No, I’m not doing drugs any more and Wow, I just feel so amazing.”
“That’s awesome,” she exclaimed. “It sounds like things are going great for you!”
She’s right, I guess. Well, to a certain extent.
Everything seems wonderful on the surface:
I’m not feeling too crazy.
I just got a raise at work, thanks to the crystal clear focus and boundless energy I have acquired since I returned from my forced vacation/mental health holiday in August.
Cheryl moved into our apartment, the result of the departure of yet another third roommate at the same time her building was sold and emptied of all its hipster occupants. Gentrification and it’s requisite condos are marching into the Ukrainian Village. Even hanging around at home is now fun.
My skin seems good. My hair is growing fast. I don’t feel fat. And I just got my bike tuned up.
I guess it is good.
But beneath my smiling happy-go-lucky exterior is a simmering stew of insecurity and anxiety. It’s only a matter of time until everything falls apart. I’m just trying to steel myself for the inevitable crash.
When will Ryan find someone prettier/cooler/more fun?
When will I fall back into a routine of tiny plastic bags and nodding off on the rug?
And then of course, once the drugs come back into my life, my job is going to go terribly awry. I swear my coworkers are watching me for the slightest sign of junkie-ism. “She hasn’t eaten lunch this week. Sure, it could be an eating disorder perpetuated by fashion magazines and junior sizing at most major retail chains. But really, she was probably just getting high on drugs around the corner between noon and one pm.”
When will my friends grow tired of my secret craziness that creeps out at inopportune moments? Surely Cheryl will soon realize how unstable I really am. If my excessive tooth brushing doesn’t weird her out, it will be all the crazy shit I’m prone to saying when I think I’m alone.
I guess this seems negative. I’m just being realistic. “Expect the worst, be surprised by the best.”
To be continued tomorrow, dudes…