Saturday afternoon found me wandering around Union Square. I was on my way to the gym and planning the rest of the afternoon. Debating whether the sun would stay out and if it was worth going out to the Christopher St. Pier or if I should just fetch Riley and bring him over to Tompkin's Square dog run, with the added possibility of ogling some shirtless latin basketball players.
As I walked past all the photographers, artists and craft sellers as well as the endless tables of Obama hats and Michael Jackson T-shirts, I eventually reached the Union Square Greenmarket. Saturday is crazy busy at the market, so I rarely buy anything on Saturdays, but walking through it usually brightens my mood regardless. Something about nature and dirt, fresh vegetables and flowers I assume.
I wasn't very far in when I passed a stand that was selling locally grown and bottled wines. I've never bought wine at the greenmarket, when I was drinking wine, and I really grew fond of it the last 5 years of my drinking, I usually bought at the local liquor store on the next block. I would scrupulously avoid buying the big jug-o'-wine, always opting for at least the next rung on the price scale. My wine selection never got lower than the $4.99 bottle. Frequently several of them. But that way no one could mistake me for a common drunk. Even when Trader Joe's opened up nearby and sold their famous two-buck chuck (for 3 bucks) I imperiously passed it by for the far superior 5 and 6 dollar wines.
So at first I really only glanced in the direction of the wine stand, not paying any more attention than I would at the card table covered in pot-leaf stenciled ashtrays that look as haphazard as one would expect from a cannabis-oriented artist. And it was then that I was surprised that while my eyes barely registered the three well dressed young women simultaneously knocking back plastic cups of sample wines, my brain zeroed in on them like a lazer. And then quite unexpectedly I heard a little voice from some deep cave in my skull say rather matter-of-factly: "No one will know."
I would be lying if I said I wasn't startled and a little frightened. I shook it off just as quickly and kept walking, but it bothered me the rest of the afternoon. I knew immediately that something was wrong. I had been upset all day because the temp agency I work with screwed me over the previous day. They sent me to New Jersey to work a party that either never existed or had been cancelled. This was not the first time. But this time I took it very personally. All day I had been lamenting why I can't find a full-time job, why I have to work for this chicken-shit outfit. I felt undervalued and under-utilized. I worried that for some reason they were not placing keeping me gainfully employed as a very high priority and that somehow that was my fault. I didn't work hard enough or play the game correctly. I was too passive and didn't sell myself. They were treating me like I was unimportant because deep down I know I am blah, blah blah, blah barf.
It's all the bullshit that runs in the background that I try to forget about, to not believe anymore, or at the very least not listen. Sometimes I fail. Sometimes I get so angry at other people I don't know how to deal with it. Sometimes I blame myself for things I can't control about the way other people act. Sometimes I get so confused by the jumble of emotions and hurt feelings that my impulse is to punish myself. To make the worst decision possible for me. As if hurting myself will somehow hurt "them". Whoever them really is.
So I went to the gym and took a long hot shower and then I went directly to a Gay-A meeting. And I got a seat because someone I made friends with saved one for someone he knew and I heard people like me talk about some of this and a whole lot more and I told my friend what had happened and what I thought about it. And by the time I walked home, I knew that it didn't matter that no one would know. I didn't need to drink that day.