Saturday, January 07, 2006

What Happens At Happy Hour?

Some of the teachers from my school were headed out yesterday afternoon for Happy Hour. I felt a twinge as I remembered all the Friday Afternoon Clubs that I had attended back in the dark days - "before the Clone Wars." They wanted me to come along. I wanted to go.
Well, part of me wanted to go. The social part of me that is witty and charming and makes such a lovely first impression. I wanted to go and be part of the gang, blowing the dust off the week that was and opening up the weekend with a little bit of camaraderie. The notion of knocking back a few adult beverages hung in the air and then I recalled the reason why I go straight home after school: I'm an addict.
The short version would be that I don't drink anymore because I'm no good at it, but the truth is I was once very good at it. The more accurate description would be "addict." I don't tend to do things just a little. I do things a lot. Drinking was a compulsion. If the bottle was opened, it had to be emptied. A case of beer has twenty four cans, and that's how you know you're done - when the cans are empty. In college we would look at each other and ask (somewhat rhetorically) "Penny Lane?" and we'd meet at the bottom of the beer glass. I would go to Penny Lane dozens of times a night. It was a physical challenge. When I got to a bar, I was there until Last Call.
Lots of people have a period of binge drinking in their lives. Mine was the Reagan administration. I was losing focus and losing friends. People loved to be around me for the first few drinks. I was very entertaining. It was the next nine or ten that became the concern. In my twenties, I considered myself indestructible and couldn't imagine why (given enough water and Tylenol) I couldn't pursue the lifestyle of Hunter S. Thompson, or Ernest Hemingway.
Those guys didn't end up happy. They just ended up. I made a choice some years back to try to find addictions or compulsions that wouldn't end up killing me. Running is working out right now. Writing a blog is working out right now. I had to give up Peanut M&Ms. In Hotel New Hampshire, John Irving once wrote: "Get obsessed and stay obsessed." I'm not sure I have any choice.
I didn't go to Happy Hour yesterday. I would like to go someday.


mrs. id said...

You're just into that whole "completion thing," that's all. said...

Happy hour is just that! I usually have one drink, some appetizers and relax. I have a difficult class and my shoulders are tight because I am scared to turn my back on 2 students. I feel they are capable of anything with no remorse and their parents will be nonchalant about any situation. My husband encourages me to release before coming home on Fridays. I do not get drunk or tipsy. I wait until I am at home.
It is also great when colleagues can actually have a REAL conversation without the fear of being written up for not following some absurd plan that works well back east (I was told), but not by policing teachers and students. It is a great time to talk to adults who have an understanding of your woes. Those that go overboard do not come or we convince them to leave before going overboard. We have control and exercise that. It is not a fad......just an unwind event.

Robin said...

I remember. Good for you.