Rainy Sunday with brief periods of cloudless skies, but the skies seem to be losing their grip on the sun. My ancient mendacious landlord is celebrating his 80th birthday and I decided not to go despite a personal invitation. I wish him well and have called him with apologies and sent along a beribboned gift. But I don’t go to events where a) an unlimited quantity of alcohol is being served and, b) I know in advance that am going to feel stressed and chewed up inside, unable to leave and surrounded by merry, loud-voiced, disinhibited partygoers. That leads to the default impulse to have a little drink or two. The landlord will get riotously cheerful on expensive Scotch and then want to talk to me, explain why he thinks subdividing the rented property is a Good Idea. I will disagree. He will argue with me and get red in the face. I will struggle to stay calm. He will get belligerent, my politeness will break down. His family will feel I am ruining his birthday party. I will feel infuriated, hurt and helpless and in need of an obscure something to settle my nerves. How we get to know ourselves in sobriety! Before I sobered up I had no idea who I would be dealing with.
So I am taking evasive action. Somebody told me the other evening that at 14 years sober, she still does not drive down the road where she once purchased wine on a daily basis. Why stir up the old demons? She is happy and strong in her sobriety, but still she does not take that road with the spacious bottle store and the convenient parking lot on the corner. Temptation comes to all of us in differing guises.
Update: and the housemate came home roaring with laughter and said it was a very good party. The landlord sent me some birthday cake and confided that he was hoping to convince me of his rightness in all things. He insulted his granddaughter’s new husband. He gave a speech that had everyone in tears and adoring him. There were roast lambs on a spit and he urged the guests to have second and third helpings, reminding his daughters-in-law that they need to lose weight and should leave the pudding alone. There was a local sangoma present who has the knack of bringing rain for the crops. And the Calvinist dominee who said a blessing. The sangoma brought all five of his wives. The place settings were horribly muddled. There were guests whom the landlord could not remember inviting, a table that collapsed under the weight of several ice-cream cakes, an offended guest who left early after having her bottom pinched at the buffet table.
I would have enjoyed it, but staying away was probably wiser. One day at a time and gradually we get to rejoin the world and participate with discernment and intuition.