As one of my Day Zero Project goals, I stupidly put on the list to not drink for one month. Was it a good idea? Yes. Really, should it be that hard to accomplish? No. And normally, I don’t think it would have been. It’s all about breaking a routine, one that I only indulge in once a week. But it seems stupid now, because of the timing. This has been the worst month on record in recent years over here at BBR headquarters, and you will be filled in on all of it, albeit piece by piece over a few different posts. But we will start at the beginning.
The first day of this month-long endeavor was November 30th. The first day I noticed I missed drinking was December 11. It was the day that hell broke loose here in Mpls/St Paul. For the non-local readers, this was the day that we got 17 inches of snow. We watched semi’s get stranded on the highway, we watched plows and non-essential police get pulled off their duty due to impossible visibility, and we endured wind, snow and ice that would inevitably collapse the Metrodome.
At 8:30 am, I would have told you that the highlight of my day was watching my hippie neighbor trying to BIKE down the back alley in the fresh 8 inches of snow we had already gotten dumped on us so far that morning. I thought about yelling out the window that if the LSAT/ACT exams got cancelled state-wide I’m pretty sure his bongo lessons at the co-op did too, but the wee bit of evil inside me was enjoying his blatant failure a bit too much to interrupt. After all, it was without a doubt, the best spying I had done all week.
But at 11 am, with the wind gusts picking up and ice accumulating on the INSIDE of my brownstone’s seemingly pre-Civil War era windows, I anticipated the new highlight of my day, which would be when I could no longer see the liquor store so conveniently located a mere 500 feet away. Sure, the ice crystals glossing over to the point of invisibility made for a bit of a temperature drop in Casa de Bluebird, and I suffered severely diminished blood flow into my toes for the next 48 hours, but I knew it would alleviate the mental withdrawals I was having of my personal “home time” with candles, Netflix and a nice
glass bottle of Riesling.
See, when the weather gets miserable, pretty much my favorite thing to do is retreat into solitude. I elaborately arrange my couch pillows in a specific, secret, Type-A formation, crack a cork and catch up on the magic of movies. I recharge in a matter of hours for the next week ahead. And really, there is nothing else that this day was good for. Told to expect 12-18 inches of snow, and accounting for the above mentioned conditions, today was not that day I would be finishing up my Christmas list. So home-bound, it was.
But this plan of couch lounging and cork popping is all just a pipe dream, thanks to the self-inflicted Day Zero Project. That first drink I have on New Year’s Eve I will be quite the reunion if you ask me. But I will make it through this month if it kills me, no matter what happens. Because with only 10 days left, how much worse can it get?
The last time I drank, a.k.a. the day before this damn “task” began, alerted me to the fact that a self-appointed break would be beneficial. Undoubtably, you are riveted to this back story. Maybe a little because I have a knack for making bad decisions and blogging about them. Maybe a little because after falling at the bank, everyone is waiting for the day I fall out of a car in motion. (This is not that story.) But mostly, probably your interest lies in the fact that it is Monday of a holiday week, and you just need to look busy until it’s time for lunch.
So, the day before this task began started the way too many of my weeks have been lately, full of too much stress and too much work. The entire week was stress from all forms possible; work, family, general life, etc. Then, I worked a double on my “Friday”, which is in actual people terms, is a Monday (pay attention, this gets important later.) So I got off work at noon on Monday, and after 14 hours of work I decided to stop and get a bottle of wine for that night as a reward for making it to the weekend. I was to go home, take a short nap (as not to waste a whole day off sleeping) and then have a low-key night with beloved candles, wine and Netflix. It sounds so simple in your head, doesn’t it?
Then the variables of life started to kick my ass. When I went to get the wine, my favorite beer was on sale, and being a true Libra at heart, diplomatically shooting down conflict at every turn, I bought both. And when I got home, I got a fifteenth second wind and was no longer tired. And the wine that I tried to have a glass of to make myself tired invigorated me to the point that I fired up the internet and started catching up on things. (After working overnights for a few years, you get really good at developing fifteenth winds and powering through so you do not sleep through your life and everyone else’s. Plus, it is nice to see the sun every few days.) So the wine turned to beer, and the clock passed
a few a lot of hours without me being the wiser, and suddenly it was 8:15 pm.
Then it hit me. The fact that I had been up for over 24 hours, and that the only food I had in my system, a Luna bar eaten at 6 am, was long gone. Now, it’s not like I was an hour away from starving to death; I could have just anticipated the reserves would work some overtime and take care of this one. But if my undergrad education taught me anything, it was to EAT after drinking more than you meant to, if only for the benefit of a better morning. (Anyone else learn the 3-2-1 recovery method the hard way?)
Since I was too busy and important within Internet World to be bothered with cooking, I placed on order to my favorite chinese place up the road and anticipated a neatly wrapped delivery in 15-20 minutes. I even put the cash in my pocket ahead of time, with a nice $5 tip for the delivery guy, because it is always the same guy, and he reminds me of a good friend of mine, and there is something about him that is really friendly and pleasant. I then sat back down at the computer. Chaos ensued.
Because my computer is within an apartment, I had to put my head phones back on, so I could blast my music at an improper level and ruin only my own eardrums. Which means that, when the delivery guy buzzed, I didn’t hear it. The first time, the fifth time, the twelfth. After 20 minutes of buzzing, something caused me to look at my phone and see 15 missed calls. It seemed like only minutes had passed since I ordered my food; reality had obviously been much longer. 15 buzzes in a Minnesota winter, that dedication. Told you this guy was awesome.
Of course, I immediately feel horrible. I burst out of my apartment and run down the hall to rescue the delivery guy from outside. In a weaving fashion, I’m sure. And of course, it’s the guy that I knew it would be. For a moment, I hoped that maybe some new hire would be the subject of my demise, but no luck. I open the door, apologize profusely and get out the $20, thinking the whole time I should even tip him more. And, of course, feeling extra special for being this drunk. On a Monday. Which, unless you understand my schedule, is enormously unacceptable and seemingly pathetically sad.
“19.15,” delivery boy says.
“What?!?” I exclaim. This is all I can quote, because I’m not sure what exactly I said after this. But I know that this is the wrong total, and there must be a mistake, and that this way he gets a tip of 85 cents, which has not been considered acceptable since 1939. But I know better than to try to argue, considering my state. So I tell him that I will go get more cash, all the while silently praying that whoever’s food it is that I have does not have an affinity for any type of seafood lo mein.
Delivery boy gives me a look of death, shoots down my offer, and storms out the door, no doubt now 30 minutes behind on his route. Shit. I know where this has gone.
See, most of the time when I get food from this place, I do carry-out. It is, after all, on my way home, and while it’s too dangerous to walk to as crossing a pseudo highway is involved, I feel a little bit lame that the delivery guy has to drive such a short distance. And while waiting for my carry-out I have heard the owner, the cutest little man you ever did see, with the sweetest little accent you ever have heard, over the phone deny people delivery based on past behaviors. Likely not much different from the behaviors I have myself just committed. Even walking back to my apartment, my favorite food from the neighborhood in my hand, I feel dejected. I cannot eat at this place ever again. I already know the words he will say, as I have heard him say so many times before.
“You no order dewiverwee no more.”
Commence Day 1.