I did not sit down to write an “Adventures in Temporary Enforced Sobriety” post. I sat down to work out my feelings about the Oakland Ghost Ship fire. But before I can do that, I feel I should briefly update you on that pervasive personal dryness situation, now just over a month away from its conclusion. So here’s how it’s been going since I took time off this blog to work on a different writing project for the month of November.
- On Election Night, I returned home from a day at work, listened to some returns, and then did a shot of bourbon with my husband before heading to a friend’s house. Despite the night’s devastating outcome, I drank not one more drop.
- The next night, however, upon learning of the death of Leonard Cohen, I helped myself to a small glass of white wine while cooking dinner. Red wine would have been more appropriate, but my housemate didn’t have any. (Thanks, Laila!) So, yes, I fought against the bottle but I had to do it drunk. RIP LC.
- The night before Thanksgiving, I attended my friend group’s annual T-day Eve night bar meet-up. I spent as much time as possible on the dance floor, drinking Coca-Cola. I had no booze, and happily drove the husband home around midnight.
- For Thanksgiving, I skipped my meds (as approved by my infectious diseases doctor, who, as mentioned previously, has the same last name as my husband and is therefore extra trustworthy), had around four glasses of wine with dinner and a ridiculously good time. To the folks having the kid-friendly dance party in the dining room: I’m sorry; I didn’t know the windows were open. To the folks I played Apples to Apples with: You’re very welcome.
- At a holiday party this past Saturday, I had two small glasses of champagne punch; at another one the next night, I had two small glasses of wine; at both I was very dressed up and having many somber and confused and heartfelt conversations about the Ghost Ship fire. It felt dissonant as hell, all done up in sequins and velvet while wondering aloud whether friends and friends of friends would be marked “safe.” We’d all been in spaces like that, as artists or patrons or residents. And whether it had been a month or a decade since we’d set foot in an underground warehouse event, we all felt the nerve net of the Oakland arts community in our blood, under our feet, stretching out above us all. So I had two small drinks, two nights in a row, with no ill effects. And soon I’ll share a more intensive exploration of the dissonant, nostalgic, and mournful feelings sparked by those discussions, and the nonstop international news coverage that’s still taking place.