I’m not one of those writers who can write while drunk. I’m not a Bukowski or a Kerouac. I’m not really an anything. I’m a nothing. And I like being a nothing—a nobody. A no thing. I am not a thing. I just am. I am.
I am not drunk right now. I have been drinking. Drinking with my best friend. A drink that cost me $60+ because I got a parking ticket.
But it was worth it. Or was it?
Was it worth it to sit there and once again be the listener? To sit there as she rehashed her current and former relationships for the 1000th time?
It started out like any other night with her—drama, naturally.
She had split-second changed plans on me and wanted to go to a happy hour on the Westside because she knew I was over on that side of town.
Not wanting to cancel on her, I agreed.
I met her near her boyfriend’s place. A place in that nice part of Santa Monica where you feel like you have to wear something that looks like you planned on not putting that outfit together when really you did. A place where you have to try to look like you don’t care. A place where you spend a lot of money on lounge-wear and workout clothes. My workout clothes and loungewear are almost all old high school T-shirts and sweatpants from my brothers and guy friends.
She came out of his apartment in boots with 2” heels, those dressy-type jeans that are so typical of that I-am-not-trying-but-I-am-trying look, and a peacoat over a shimmery sweater.
“We are going to be quite the pair,” I thought in my plaid pajama pants and Flashdance style sweatshirt that were fitting of the cool almost rainy weather.
I guess her outfit was more fitting to both weather and area, but I just wanted a tea and a chat.
I gave her a great big hug like we always do.
“Let’s see where we should go, “ she said as she grabbed my phone from my hand.
“My phone is dead. I’m gonna see where there is a happy hour near here. I might just download a new app for you. You have the same phone as me, right?”
Some small chit-chat that I don’t remember because I kept thinking about what I was wearing and how she was gonna want to go somewhere to be seen and I was in my freakin pajamas.
“oooooo, let’s go here!” she said as she handed my phone back to me with the screen showing a nearby lounge that was most definitely fancier than I had planned on. With all the fake enthusiasm I had, I assured her that would be perfect.
She had found a place a few blocks away. But, I was going to have to drive because I couldn’t park on that block after 6PM.
We got in my car and drove the 3 blocks away like true Californians.
We could only find meter parking, but I was ok with that.
I opened my coin purse that I got from a former friend that is a lot like her actually. Hmmmm, I think I have a tendency to attract opposites in my platonic relationships more so than my romantic ones. That coin purse is much much fancier than my handbag and was much more classy than my wardrobe that evening. I’m starting to see the layers my therapist talks about displayed in my accessory choices.
I pulled enough change out to feed the meter for the hour allotted.
We were both all smiles as we walked the ½ block to the bar. I was trying to cover my insecurity at my wardrobe.
We entered the restaurant/bar and I avoided eye contact with the hostess out front because I was so afraid she wouldn’t let me in the way that I was dressed.
We sat at the bar I was already thrown into listening to her whirlwind talk about her projects, her screenplay, her feature, her webseries, and her short. And then I tried to bring up my writing and felt like it was just bounced off a wall right back at me.
The bartender asked, “What can I get you ladies?”
She, without regard for me, picked up her menu and ordered her drink first.
I was just worrying about my car being at a meter in Santa Monica. I didn’t care what I got as long as we were out of there in time and I didn’t get a ticket. That worry had replaced my wardrobe worry. Worry upon worry inside my head. My typical mounting anxiety over the little things snowballing out of my control.
The room was getting stuffier and my underarms were feeling wet—and it wasn’t even hot in there.
All I wanted was to get my boyfriend’s house so I could be fucked 3 times over like I was the night before but I had to sit thru an hour or maybe more of this.
Mounting anxiety morphed to guilt in an instant. I didn’t even want to be there anyway.
I started picking at my nail polish. The nail polish I had just paid $40 for yesterday when I decided I deserved a mani-pedi.
My friend ordered her cocktail—gross. I hate mixed drinks.
I was pleased to see a Spanish granache on the happy hour menu. I asked to sample it. I did and it hit the spot. I asked for a glass of that.
Ah, a glass of much-needed red wine.
Oh, wait, what’s that? More anxiety, stealing my moment, of course. My mental saboteur ruined the moment by reminding me that I can only have one glass because I am driving to my boyfriend’s after this and the last thing I need or want is to be pulled over along PCH. I’m too broke to afford that.
My anxious mind found another thing to attack me with. I was now feeling beat up by myself and I was only one sip of wine in. All I wanted to do was leave that place. All I could think about was sitting alone in my car and hiding myself from the condescending looks from other bar patrons upon the girl in pajamas fumbling with her wine glass at the bar. I could feel their stares even if they weren’t true. I just wanted to go to my car and eat the cheap snack food I had in there alone. Like those organic Trader Joe’s snap peas. Yum. Those were more fitting of my feelings and appearance—bland and plain; unprepared and unkempt.
But my friend knew just how to pull me out of my head…“Oh my God, this is amazing! Try it!”