#17 Reason not to drink: so I don’t end up like my Grandma Maryalice
I remember when I visited her in Florida by myself when I was 10 years old. We ended up traveling with my Grandfather up to Wisconsin and I have already shared with you all the infamous meat-eating misadventure and the follow-up to that a few years later with the Pork incident. She was a mean son of a bitch! But I’m remembering having arrived in her condo all wide-eyed hippie child excited to be away from my parents and siblings and ready for adventure. There was a hurricane going on, as happens in Florida, and though I’m sure it was unimpressive by Floridian standards, the palm trees outside her condo were bent almost in half and brushing at the windows. I was impressed and increasingly more scared as the evening wore on and I had nothing to do but notice the hurricane trying to get at my bones. You don’t show fear to people like Maryalice. I remember her pouring drink after drink of the hard stuff and cajoling me for being afraid. I just realized that I can’t remember her smoking but the condo must have been thick with her cigarette smoke because she smoked a ton and didn’t believe in fresh air. I felt spectacularly unsafe with this slurring adult inside and nature acting just as drunk outside.
Her teeth, when she got up in your face with a scowl, were pretty scary.
My grandma Maryalice was a very unhappy person and she enjoyed taking it out on other people. As you can imagine, I have no fond memories of her, much as I wish I did. Her smoking got to her before her drinking did and she died relatively young of emphysema but I gotta tell you, I’m pretty sure her liver was done-for too. I haven’t gotten close to her level of drinking so far, which is why she’s tonight’s reason for not drinking. I never want alcohol to get in the way of my ability to comfort scared children or be the cause of delivering bitter misery to the people who love me. Alcohol is to enhance experiences in life, not drive them.
I’m feeling a little better today (hello mood swings). Thank you all for listening to me and being there for me. Today I started tackling something I’ve put off for a while because I couldn’t deal with it even though I knew I needed to. There haven’t been too many times in my life where I have been in a situation that forces me to choose between being silent or doing the right thing. I always say that I’m the kind of person who does the right thing, even if there are personal consequences to me. Life has decided to call my bluff. I’m sorry that I can’t give any details – you know I normally disclose everything freely – but I just want to report that I’m following through. I’m doing it because I can and others can’t. I’m doing it because saying “no” to wrongs when we encounter them is the only way we keep the good in balance with the bad.
Mostly I just have to fill out some annoying forms, so nothing heroic or anything.
I feel like I’ve honored my character and my beliefs today.
Now it’s time to watch Criminal Minds and drink some decaf black tea.