Saturday, February 18, 2006
Okay, so I don’t feel energetic every time I leave the gym. Last night I attended the Cardio-Kickboxing class instead of seeing Jessy R. at The Whitehouse as usual. I miss her, but I really wanted to attend this class...now I’m not so sure. No pain, no gain.
Having missed the A.A. meeting at The Whitehouse and Jessy, I thought I’d fill the day out by getting online at The Café and relax with a cup of joe. I stayed there ‘till 10pm. This behavior is robbing me of the one promise I thought I’d never achieve in my lifetime ever again: a full night’s sleep. With two months sobriety, and the weight of immediate life concerns temporarily off my back, I have found that I can get a full seven or eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. I thought because of my age, this would never happen again in my lifetime, so I’m very grateful for that. And I’m doing it without the aid of Melatonin. But for some odd reason now, drinking coffee ‘till 10pm keeps me up all night. Go figure.
So I got little sleep last night. My House chore has changed to morning shoveling instead of evening boardroom cleaning. I set an alarm so I can procrastinate on my morning chore enough to catch twenty minutes of nap and I’m out like a light. Alarm goes off, I’m dead tired, I crawl downstairs in bodily pain, bitching out the little Asian lady instructor whom I could barely keep up with last night, regretting the task at hand. “Hey you! You wanna make some money moving furniture?”, says a stranger in the lobby. Hell no, my body replies, but with that I quickly assess my financial situation and seeing that I’ve got $3.00 in my wallet, most of which will be eaten up by bus fare before I can even donate plasma in three days, and I’ve been looking for work, my mind audibly replies, “Can you wait five minutes?”
In that time I shoveled the most critical areas of the back in order not to earn a check-mark for sloppy workmanship, changed into appropriate attire, and jumped into a truck with a total stranger onto a job I’m all too familiar with. Tim G. was his name, a recovering alcoholic/addict who owns his own moving company.
“Drug of choice?”, Tim asks.
“Alcohol,” I reply.
“Crack cocaine and alcohol for me.”
More small talk; I explain that I used to work for a moving company, which he finds intriguing, enough so that he does an impromptu interview. I leave out the fact that my muscles have atrophied and that I may not be as useful as he thinks. Who am I kidding? He can tell a physically built guy when he sees one. What you see is what you get. I just hope I don’t embarrass myself.
The job entails moving a family from one house in Saint Paul to another in the same city. The wife and her mother have made the job as easy for us as possible with loose items boxed and labeled by destination room. Both women are pleasant. The wife is a very pretty young doctor with a good sense of humor. She’s married to a doctor as well.
Forgetting completely about the previous day’s exertion, I establish a good working pace as to appear energetic, yet still pacing myself for what I know to be a taxing undertaking. The move goes well for a couple hours until I start to notice that I’m breathing heavy; I slow down.
We’re at the new house when I take my first break. Rather than sit, I walk the three-story house. Memories of a yuppie life I once shared with my wife June come streaming back with a vengeance, complete with the back yard that did not face anyone else’s so as not to share the view of each other’s kitchens. The life I once knew.
The mental and physical toll has me entertaining the idea of making my apologies to Tim and catching a bus back to The House. However, guilt for rarely completed anything in my later days of drinking, and the need for money, kept me at the job. This was, after all, merely the stresses of everyday life.
Assessing what needs to be done to complete this move, I concern myself with moving as much furniture and boxes as possible just to keep my mind off of my past life. Another thought enters my mind: Don’t transfer your anger for the loss of June to this lovely woman we’re moving.
Near the end of the day, my body starts to reveal its limitations. I miss a step while carrying a mattress and drop to my knees. Tim happens to be holding the other end of the mattress. That’s it! This is my last time working for him, I know it.
We finish up in six hours with a half-hour lunch gratefully supplied by the wife. Tim thanks and pays me, handing me his business card, asks for my cell number for future jobs. Hiding my shock, I give it to him. The pay is as much as I make donating plasma for a week, about $10/hr.
Arriving back home, I quickly shower and change for my interview at a second sober house. I’m so exhausted, I catch myself falling asleep in the meeting with my potential roommates. I share my brief story of how I got to this point in my life with regards to alcohol, get a short tour of the house, and find an unanimous vote of approval. I’ve got two sober houses I can live in when I’m out of The House by the beginning of next month. Both are contingent on me getting a job.
We dine together. I pass on their invitation to attend their A.A. meeting, not for lack of comfort, but concern that I might insult them by falling asleep.
On my way out I have a deeper conversation with one of the house-mates. I hope he’s still there when I move in.
The bus ride home is uneventful. Walking up to The House though, I notice something I haven’t in a long time, since my drinking days: my hands begin to cramp up and close. But this doesn’t worry me; my muscle will eventually recover in time. I slip into bed and pass out quickly from shear exhaustion.
I’ve experience a normal work day, my first in too long. The next day I find myself bored, only this time it doesn’t lead to thoughts of drinking.