Those Old Triggers

By Laura L.

< I had a vision yesterday of a quiet afternoon in a quiet bar, relaxing and sipping a couple of vodka tonics and flipping through a magazine with the television going quietly in the background and occasionally chatting with the bartender. – D. >

Yeah, sitting around at Borders bookstore with a cup of cafe latte doesn’t quite have the same pleasure to it, does it? <g> Maybe in time…

You know, it’s funny how we picture ourselves in these romanticized memories. Eight years ago, when my mother returned to the US, my sister, mother and I went to dinner at a wonderful French restaurant. There was a screw-up with our table, and we had to wait a couple hours to be seated. The restaurant also housed a jazz “club” so we went there. The music was great (live, of course) the ambiance of the place was seductive, and I was so very happy we had been able to convince the authorities that my mom REALLY needed to be allowed to leave England (whole ‘nother story.) At any rate, I was having the de rigeur Diet Pepsi, they were having wine, and all was well. From across the room, I spotted a couple — both stunningly attractive, beautifully dressed, elegant in every way. The woman was holding a snifter of brandy to the light, and swirling it in the glass. That image was so compelling, I was beginning to make plans for my return to “normal” drinking (yeah right!)

Then I began to think about what the scene would be like if it was “me” instead of “her.” Here’s what I realized.

  1. It would not be a snifter of brandy, it would be vodka — and WAY more than one.
  2. My beautiful dress would not cover up my running makeup, puffy eyes, and slurred speech. In fact, my dress would have been selected on the basis of how many people would be offended by it.
  3. This would not have preceded or followed an elegant dinner, and there would be no live jazz, either. It would have been balls to the wall drinking, and the more “dangerous” the setting, the happier I would be.
  4. My date would not have on a suit. In fact, my “date” would have been “discovered” after I had consumed five or more drinks.
  5. My “date” and I would not be swirling on the dance floor, but would be fumbling and drunk in the dark. More than once, I found that my “date” for the night had relieved me of the contents of my wallet before leaving the apartment.

It’s so easy for us to be led down the garden path of embellished memories. I have found it helpful to recall one moment, frozen in time, to recall. That moment is seeing the elegant couple, and knowing that woman would never be me. It is a waste of time for me to try to emulate her.

Besides, I have more fun being me — sober.