Tou rette’s or not Tou rette’s, That is the Question



Slushkitty’s 2-year birthday was last week, March 20th – happy birthday, kitty cat! I have kept a diary since, like, birth. It was always very cathartic and therapeutic for me. I so fondly recall my younger days in less complicated times when I would write every day about my day to work through my troubles and moods, and to journal my happiness. If I didn’t write for even one day, I would feel a little absent or distracted until I caught up. But then a couple things happened: 1- Four people I can think of off the top of my head read my diaries – one even picked the lock! After that, when I’d go back and read my past entries, instead of remembering happy events or seeing how I got through or recovered from heartbreak – even heartbreak over the guy who picked the lock – my stomach would turn and my face would ignite knowing someone read my deepest thoughts, fears, and secrets. Being so violated, I was hesitant to write so honestly and in such detail after that. The devil is in the details. And 2- booze and drugs happened. I arbitrarily wrote in my diary during those years (and years and years). The devil is dreadfully in those details. I actually read some of the booze and drugs diary recently. It was indescribably disturbing… and cryptic. I scanned a page for you. It’s a real cliffhanger, missspellings and all!


The whole reason I started this blog was because I started writing again, writing mainly my 4th step, and some of it was pretty funny on paper. The reason it has been taking me over 1.5 years to write my 4th step is because I am writing and dissecting my story, the devils detailing specifically why I’ve been feeling a little absent or distracted (gargantuan understatement), not for the one day like when I was younger but for the years (and years and years) that I rarely wrote about, and was in deep denial about. It was horrifying remembering those times, but over these past few years through sharing at meetings and with sponsors and friends, I can now look at that old life with awe at the absurdity of it all, and with a big PHEW! I totally understand the humor of much of it now! The only reason so much of it is so very amusing is that we survived it. And we have a healthy, loving forum in which we can tell the tales, for “no matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others”. And if we’re happily benefitting others by sharing our experience, strength, and hope, why not have a little fun with it? Why not take it a step further, beat the ones who put their noses where they don’t belong to the punch, and showcase our own wild-and-crazy flavors of insanity in a blog, especially now that we are starting to ascend that scale. Sharing my stories is a reminder that things could be and sure have been much worse. Many memories that used to haunt me now inspire me! It’s like they were someone else’s adventures – a fucked up and really really dark cartoon character’s adventures. Of course they were mine and I am better for having lived through them… and they’re too precious to keep to myself. Or so I have been told, and so I choose to believe… and so happy birthday, Slushkitty!


Occasionally I go back and read earlier posts in the same way I would go back and read my diaries of younger days in less complicated times, remembering happy stuff or seeing how I got through tough stuff. Looking at earlier posts, I also see a bunch of references about restraint of pen and tongue, recalling how I furiously typed, going ape-shit on someone but then couldn’t post much of the entry, sometimes none of it at all. I made a commitment when I first started this blog not to use Slushkitty as a weapon. With two exceptions — ex-bf “Prince of Hell” and old boss “C.U.N.T.”— I have been able to honor that commitment. And lighten up because I was also reminded that my only job in my first year of sobriety is staying sober, and that no one ever said anything, not a word, about having to be nice. Give a sister a break. (I had to change my sobriety date again, dammit. I took a Percocet I had left over from my hystie.. six months after my hystie when I was not in pain, so in good conscience I had to change the date. It was sometime in May, I believe. I chose May 24th as my new date, because May 24th is International Tiara Day and everyone deserves to be a princess – or a drag queen – at least once a year). Back then, and sometimes now still, I wondered if my internal dialogue was symptomatic of Tourette’s Syndrome. Tou rette’s or not Tou rettes, That is the Question. And speaking of Tourette’s, welcome to my current conundrum…


Within 15 minutes of starting my new temp job, a guy who works there arrived. He walks around singing loudly, laughing like a lunatic, which I find very disruptive. Everyone thinks he’s so great. He is SO over-the-top loud and obnoxious, it occurred to me that he actually has something medically wrong with him. How would anyone be able to work with this distraction otherwise! My annoyance morphs instantly into compassion, and I think how strong he must be, how hard it must be to have Tourette’s, having to deal with judge-y ignoramuses like me on a daily basis. It is not that fun anymore — and it’s certainly not nice — to have fun at someone else’s expense. This realization, this gift of sobriety, kind of sucks when you’re an irreverent smart-ass. Where do you draw the line? I found that it’s especially difficult when you’re in a bad mood, are waist-deep in resentment excavation, in profound financial crisis, have noise sensitivity, have no one to commiserate with, and have had to spend hours trying to come up with a believable and non-self-incriminating way to explain how you lost your last $10/hour temp job because you a). punched, b). spiked the salad with acid of, c). put thumbtacks on the chair of, d). called the cops claiming indecent exposure from, e). other the person who like you has suspected Tourette’s and a high level of neediness that you had to sit next to in an adjacent cubicle all day. It’s a tough call whether restraint of pen and tongue is in order, or if it is too funny not to share. I have decided to share.


I believe that the HP of all of our respective understandings reflects our purest selves. By that I mean that if you are essentially gentle and quiet, your HP will cradle you gently and quietly in safety. If you’re essentially boisterous and colorful, your HP will scoop you up and dance with you in joy. My HP is essentially obnoxious in a clever and loving way, so it graces my life with inspiration and lessons via temp jobs. My current assignment has had me diving into the depths of my soul to face the truth about my life so I can break through my resentments and be happy while simultaneously forcing me to stifle hysterical laughter. As mentioned above, tragedy or misfortune can simply be rich with comedy. Tragicomedy, I believe it’s called.


As an out-of-control active alcoholic, I was ruining my life, career, credit, dwellings, every single personal and professional and romantic relationship, self-respect, body, spirit, sanity, etc… I did not suffer alone, mind you – I was taking everybody down with me. But I would not admit to anyone including myself that I had a drinking problem. Basic and obvious, alas I was blind. Recently I admitted to Lily, some friends, yesterday to an entire CK group, and finally to myself another basic and obvious fact: I didn’t go to college, and the truth that I have not told and have denied to everyone and myself is that I tried and failed.. 23 years ago. I have been terrified of trying again… for 23 years. This is a huge part of the birth of my self-loathing and shame, fueling the broken record that’s stuck on the refrain “I’m stupid. So stupid. I’m inferior. So inferior. Stupid! Inferior! Too late! Much too late!” and it has caused me to fight, flee, or hide for 23 years. Hallelujah! I can see! I can see now! The fella with Tourette’s (or not) pushed me over the edge and I surrendered, at long last! I can see!


But perhaps more than being able to see that fact, I am capable of doing something about it, and I have started taking some action to do so. I’ll keep you posted on my progress! I am so excited for this new endeavor! My other recent breakthrough was learning that I am not a mind-reader. Not only am I not a mind-reader, no one can likewise read my mind! No one is thinking I am stupid and inferior because I didn’t go to college. No one would even know I didn’t! How would they unless I volunteered it? No one is hearing my mean refrain, my internal constant Tourette’s tic screaming, “I’m stupid! I’m inferior! It’s too late!”. No one thinks it’s too late. And even if they thought this or could read my mind, it’s none of my business. And something else I learned? No one is thinking about me anyway. So, basically, I’m insane. My paranoia and fear are manufactured by my imagination. So I have decided that I’m going to put my imagination to good use, open myself to constructive criticism, learn good stuff, and all the while pushing that monster of a chip off my shoulder!


What does any of this have to do with Tourette’s guy? WELL, so now you know I am terrified of failing college and have been torturing myself for not going. I have been unemployed for over 10 months and have convinced myself I won’t get a job because I don’t have a degree in anything. My HP and in it’s ever-loving wisdom, love, and sense of humor has me working a temp job at a sales office of a staffing agency. ALLLLLL day long I look at resumes and all the higher education applicants have from prestigious schools, knowing these chumps are applying for entry-level jobs, and getting rejected. Not only do I look at resumes all day, I was hired to sort all the applicants based on their rejection status, so they know whether they still need to send out the canned rejection email. I have to listen to Tourette’s guy bullshitting applicants on the phone on his sales calls, saying the same thing to every single person..”I am SO excited to talk to you about your experience! We all love your qualifications! Just a couple questions: how long have you been out of work? Why is there a gap in your employment history? We’ll be in touch soon! SOOO excited to have talked to you!” He hangs up and WHOOOOOP! WHOOOOP! And then saying the same thing every single time to the woman in the next cube, “So annoying! DE-NIED! HAAA WHOOOOOP!!” I also had the unfortunate opportunity of hearing the following conversation between him and that woman-child he sits next to:


Her: I didn’t know Pharrell was so OLD!

Him: Really?? How old is he?

Her: Like OLD old. Let me check.. He’s 40!

Him: Daaaaamn.


I also get to overhear many conversations with other, but nicer and more mature, recruiters. “<Company> is offering a little less that you’re asking. They start between $100-120K. They have other applicants with PhDs – that doesn’t mean you’re not viable, but it may be an obstacle”. I do have a flare for hyperbole, but I am totally serious about these conversations!!!


Hello, all of my nightmares! I am old, uneducated, people actually do lie and make fun of your resume behind your back, applicants with way more qualifications than I have get rejected, I’m working for $10/hour and these people at $120K would be taking a paycut, hundreds of these applicants apply for the same job and get rejected each week, etc…. So, I’m marinating in my nightmares and then I realize that I am laughing my ass off at the ridiculous situation I have found myself in. How could I not laugh! I realize that I’m texting a few of my more warped friends about what’s going on because they’d appreciate it. I realize I have friends at all. I realize that the wheels are spinning about a new blog entry. I realize I have a conscience and maybe I shouldn’t write about it. I realize the education/rejection/bullshitting are in fact realities but they are not personal – they’re pretty universal. I realize so much of the stuff of my nightmares is changeable if I want to change them. I realize I have so many resources of so many varieties to change my reality, or more important, to change my mind about myself and the way I treat myself. I realize I don’t have to turn lemons into lemonballs. I realize HP is working in my life and has given me gifts of questionable taste to heal myself, and maybe others, through comic relief.


I’ve been at this job for three weeks. The woman I report to came to my desk last Thursday, heard Tourette’s guy whooping and hooting and singing, she stopped talking, rolled her eyes, and said, “I am so sorry you have to listen to him all day. He is so annoying”. I realized not everyone thinks he’s so great. I realized there is nothing wrong with him. I realized he is just obnoxious. I realized my maladaptive coping mechanism to deal with people I find annoying is to pretend they don’t exist. I realized if I change coping mechanism, I would have realized sooner that Tourette’s guy sings loudly all day because he has on headphones and is singing along to music and has a really bad voice. I realize if he thinks Pharrell is old, then he himself must be very young. I realize he’s oblivious, not an asshole out to get me. I realize I am not an asshole because the answer to that question “Tou rette’s or not Tou rette’s?”, is “not Tou rette’s”… = fair game! WHOOOOOP!


My Lanai and It’s Dirty Secrets



So, I am upon another anniversary season. One year ago, my Leroy got sick and went to kitty heaven, but that is very sad. Two years ago, I relapsed over CM at 11 months sober, but I am so bored with that. Three years ago, I surrendered to the bitch and joined CK. I could have sworn I wrote about those final days of drinking but even with some determined digging in SK, I couldn’t find anything. Broadening the dig however, I found some misc. files that I hastily sent myself from work before I got canned, and found some clever Slushkitty drafts, and I found the blog I started! Woot woot!


They say the more things change the more they stay the same. I’m still coming to terms with a lot of the same stuff I was last year. The entry I started writing about that last fateful year began with me announcing that it was the first blog I was writing without a cigarette. Then I went off on some tangent about “Judging Amy” and guess I never finished writing it. Did you know that the little girl who plays Amy’s daughter Lauren did in fact age? BBFITW and I thought she had progeria, that premature aging disease, because after eight seasons she was still in first grade… or so thought this drunk and that pot-head. And come to think of it, if she actually had progeria, the opposite would have happened to her… right? She’d look like she should have been in Shady Pines (“Golden Girls” reference #1), and not in first grade. What was I talking about? Oh, yes. So I never finished the blog and I started smoking again in the meantime – good thing I never made the announcement that I quit smoking. And alas, here I am today, mumbling under my breath, rather than announcing, that this might be the last blog I write with a cigarette. But hopefully and with some help, the more things stay the same, the more they’ll change this time.


My parade route to destination CK was a long and très tragique one, and there were many red flags along the way that I pretended not to see. I described these red flags in an earlier post – and I’m repeating now because it’s funny – as ticker tape in my One Woman Parade of Crazy. In the same way that my hundreds of Mrs.-Jones-she’s-a-nut–she-snubbed-me seemingly inconsequential but wicked resentments snowballed into that monster that’s been in the way of my happiness and Love for the past 42 years, the seemingly relatively non-dramatic and inconsequential but humiliating pickles I found myself in during the last few months of my drinking most certainly snowballed me, a bloody pulp, into CK.


Snowballs! The winter of 2010-2011 yielded Boston 81” of snow, which is about double the average. (This year we’ve gotten 57.1” so I don’t know why everyone is complaining! This is kids’ stuff! Toughen up!). I lived, and still live, on the top floor of my house and have a lanai (“Golden Girls” reference #2) off the living room. Having the same recycling dilemma as every single CK I know, occasionally I’d sneak some bottles out on trash night and stick them in the neighbors’ recycling bin, but more often than not, I’d just put them on the lanai and hope they’d go away. Having 81” of snow that winter made that almost possible – the snow would just blanket the bottle cemetery. Out of sight, out of mind! …until April… when the snow melted.


My landlord “Dizzy” is straight out of Central Casting – an authentic middle-aged townie from the Charlestown projects. And his voice! That voice! Think of a really really really loud Harvey Fierstein with a potty-mouth, a Boston accent, and some boundary issues. Early that April 2011, Dizzy unannounced climbed up a ladder to my lanai to clear out the gutters, and to his – and my! – horror discovered all my bottles. “What the fuck is this?! I mean, I don’t care what you do, do whatever you fuckin’ want, but these are gunna staht to smell! You need some help getting’ rid of ‘em? I’ll help.. I’ll…..” NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! Mor-ti-fied, The Prince of Hell and I bagged them up later that day or the next and took them to the recycling bottle return machine thingies at Liquor Land.. and naturally used the $10 towards an 18-pack of Miller Light cans. This is where my drinking took me: 18-packs of Miller Light cans. *Shudder*. Around that same time, Dizzy’s wife “Tishy” – also out of Central Casting – had to come up to my apartment because the stove was broken. Tishy, unlike Dizzy, gave me fair notice. At this point, the Prince of Hell was basically living with me because he wasn’t working (long, obnoxious story behind that) so his cable and Internet were turned off, and I was bringing him meatball subs every night and putting quarters in his meter. Yes, my drinking took me there, too. So, I was walking into my apartment at the same time Tishy and the repairman were leaving. I walked into my living room and there was the Prince of Hell, on my couch, waiting for his meatball sub, all gross in nothing but his boxers, watching TV, every surface of my house covered with our beer bottles and cans. Mor-ti-fied. I was speechless. If absolutely nothing else, he couldn’t have at least put on pants?? Apoplectic, I walked away, as he yelled after me, not entirely unlike Dizzy,  “What? What do you care? You’re paying rent. You can do whatever the fuck you want. They can’t say anything. What’s your problem…” I walked into my room, texted Bed, asked him to take me to a meeting, and the rest, as they say, is history.


Cut to: this winter and the 81” of snow. I don’t smoke in my apartment anymore. And having been snowed in and unable to open the back door, I stand at said back door, blow the smoke outside, and yes, throw my butts on the lanai. Give me a break – I am captain of this ship called Living Alone and have been for a very long time. I can do whatever the fuck I want – walk around naked, not pick up after myself, and generally just be gross – but I had every intention of picking up the butts, and I always do. One day about a month or so ago, I unfortunately did not pick them up fast enough. Dizzy called one morning when I was already out and about, and said he had to come over to fuckin’ shovel the fuckin’ snow. I panicked and asked him if he could wait an hour until I got home. He said sure, sure, no fuckin’ problem. I bolted home, and discovered to my horror, little gobs of slush and wet footprints up my stairs – there were strangers shoveling my lanai! All bitchy, I asked, “Did Dizzy not tell you that I asked if he could wait until I got home?” to which they replied, “No – Dizzy let us in – how the fuck else would we be able to get into your place?” to which I replied “Oh, I’m sorry I’m sorry – you’re right – I’m sorry – I just asked.. um.. yeah so.. I’m just worried about… the cats?”. Dizzy called me later and unapologetically said he had to get up there right away (liar!) because it was a hazard (liar! He slipped and said the guys were on the clock) and he doesn’t care what the fuck I do, and to do whatever I fuckin’ want, and was I mad because he saw the cigarette butts? Mor-ti-fied. I told him.. um.. that I was.. you know… just worried about… the cats?


I’m going to accept this mortification with the cigarette butts as the last, or at least one of the last, heave-hos to get me to quit smoking for good, like the beer bottles and cans did three years ago. My doctor has me on the nicotine lozenges (which are covered by Masshealth!) AND the patch (which is also covered by Masshealth!), but made the unfortunate admission that I can also smoke while on the patch. So I am of course. But unlike three years ago, now I am actually a little worried about my heart exploding and/or having a stroke. The Time has Come. I can do whatever the fuck I want, and what I want is to fuckin’ quit smoking! And I think that I have some family and friends in my life who actually do care what the fuck I do and want me to quit, too. And to you I say, thank you for being a friend. (“Golden Girls” reference #3).


P.S. If anyone else would like to quit, let me know. Maybe we can buddy up and quit together! And then get our teeth whitened together! And smell better together! And have more money together! And have more energy together! And live longer together! And etc, etc, etc…!