The In Sound From Way Out, Pt. I

Preoccupations of the healthy variety (helping complete a project for my aunt’s 6th grade curriculum, visiting friends out of town) have caused an inadvertent hiatus from writing over these past two weeks…so I have a good deal to catch up on, and get back in to my semi-daily posting rhythm.  As to not over-saturate this one post here, I may split my retrospective into two or three. I was probably physically traveling for 4 or 5 days out of the past 14, and away from home for 7 of those, so my activities have not really been conducive to sitting & writing.

On the day of my last entry (Thursday the 4th), I left home to go spend the night in Buffalo with my sister, and to see a show with her and a friend.  We got tickets to a Louis C.K. stand-up set ($45 a piece, which I’d consider very reasonable for one of the hottest comics in the game right now).  This was my first real social outing since returning from rehab, and I was pretty thrilled to be going to see live comedy – laughter is the best medicine, after all.

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Smiling with the sister at the gorgeous Kleinhans Music Hall, where we had excellent seats.

The show ran for about 90 minutes straight, and consisted of all new material.  C.K. echoes Carlin’s practice of doing a long-form special once a year, throwing out bits from the previous year and starting completely fresh with it.  Naturally, he delivered heaps more of his shrewdly brilliant, unfiltered observations on life from the perspective of an aging 45-year-old divorcee with two young children.  I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.  In fact, last weekend the special aired on HBO, so I can share his instant classic of a closing bit with you:

“Of course”…”but maybe…?” Yeah, it really slices to the core when there’s a grain of truth to it. That’s how you know it’s good comedy.

I was initially apprehensive/anxious about how I would feel encountering the presence of alcohol for the first time, but I handled it well & everything went smoothly.  We went out for sushi before the show, and my friend ordered a glass of Japanese wine with dinner – not a problem.  Upon entering the theater, we were immediately thrust into a sea of hundreds of people…nearly all of whom were milling about, trying to cram in as many drinks as possible before the show started.  The show actually started late because of this, and Louis commented on the fact, saying something to the effect of: “I was talking to my manager about whether we should start right at 7:30 because so many people were still at the bar, and eventually we just had to say “Fuck ’em” – we’ve got a show to do here. You people won’t stop drinking!”

I had to laugh as we were walking around the lobby; standing several inches below the “average” male height, my nostrils were essentially level with the hands of those in the crowd, many of which were clutching open beers or cups of wine.  Again, this presented no problem for me.  My brain recognized the presence of alcohol surrounding me in almost any given direction, but the acknowledgement presented no sudden triggers or cravings.

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After the show let out we headed to a local bowling alley to roll a few games.  I couldn’t say exactly when the last time I had gone bowling was (I bowled over 115 both games, pretty pleased with myself), but it almost certainly had been preceded by a heavy bout of boozing (White Russians, anyone?).  There did happen to be a bar in the room adjacent to the lanes, where my teammates ordered a pitcher of beer; I contented myself with a glass of ice water.  No issues there.

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We parted ways around 11:30, and I retired to my sister’s apartment to reflect on the night and crash out.  It’s a rewarding feeling, to know that I held lucid conversations throughout the evening, that I would fully remember the next day.  I had successfully engaged in nightlife socialization without tension or incident.

Talking through the experience with my outpatient counselor the next week, we came to the conclusion that this situation had worked out particularly well due to the fact that I was in the company of close friends who understood my decision and supported me in it.  If I had perhaps gone out with, say, a large group of loose acquaintances from college, the unconditional support would not necessarily have been there, and the pressure to give in to temptation may have presented a problem.   Understanding this about myself, for the foreseeable future I will choose to enter into potentially “risky” endeavors accompanied by only my closest circle of friends, whom I can rely on to look out for my best interest & help me avoid temptations/triggers.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the tragic string of events that occurred over the past week, but rather than focus on the brutally negative & disheartening nature of it all, I just want to take a moment to share appreciation for the widespread acts of human kindness displayed most prominently in the city of Boston (my birthplace), but across the entire nation as well.

So, here’s a video of a GIF of Joe Biden repeatedly whipping off his scarf as he exits a limo like a boss, set to Mark Morrison’s smooth as buttah R&B jam “Return of the Mack.” I can’t explain why, but it’s calming, and it helps.

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