I just got back from the most awesome reunion of friends, lunch with the "Intel" crowd at Weck's. (papas, oh yeah). You know, I used to approach lunches with these pals with trepidation--I realize now looking back that I was way, way too concerned with what people thought of me to actually engage with my friends, take an interest in their lives-- I was too busy trying to impress, but trying to be cool about it, to remember to love these people. Crazy way to live. I am so glad I somehow snapped out of that bulllshit.
I was excited about getting there all morning, and it was amazing. This is a big deal for a guy who hasn't really been out in three years. This is a group of the most intelligent and fascinating people I've ever met-hanging out with these folks has been an honor. I've got to say, they are pretty damn tolerant too! I can see it now, though when you're in the depths of the sickness you can't, I felt like an impostor, and I always felt I had to prove myself to these folks because I really didn't have any right to be in the job I was in. I was scared-scared that a huge social fuck-up could end the comfort my family enjoyed. And somehow the fools over at Intel kept making me interact with people in higher and higher "levels" of society. Man, I can act. Sheer, raw terror over the eventual fuck-up that would destroy my family as I flew all over the continent working 18 hr days to accomplish impossible tasks with flawed technology. I drank, drank, drank, and then drank some more- which of course actually did lead to appalling social fuck-ups in some unbelievable places and some out of control and needy behavior.
I went to lunch to day damn excited to see these guys, and for the first time ever in a social situation I actually listened to and was interested in the things they said. We shared some awesome stories over some very fun times when the group we worked for first started. I haven't smiled as a habit in a long, long time-and definitely not sober- but I'm smiling now. I haven't laughed that hard in--hmm, thinking, ever? I've never felt more alive and connected. Thanks guys. Now I have work to do. I don't know what, but it's great to be out again.
And you know what? This morning SUCKED! I was in absolute full twitch and throbbing pain, despite 1 1/2 hydrocodone and lots of "prn's." So, I put my foot down with my disease and said "I'm going, no matter what happens, no matter if I get there in agony, no matter if I act like a fool. I actually do have full documentation that I am legally insane, blind and crippled. It's a license to get away with bizarre behavior anyway. It's only my daughter's strict sense of decency and morals that has stopped me from doing things like: hanging out in an airport with a can, playing guitar on the street downtown, or washing windows at intersections. You've got to understand my sense of humor to understand why I'd think that's funny. My daughter does not.
Anyway, in hindsight I regret that despite respecting and admiring my friends, I was also afraid of them. I felt constantly challenged, threatened and judged. I felt like I was stuck someplace I shouldn't be, and that my family was hanging by a thread, and that I was bound to do something really, really stupid and drop the ball for everyone. I think a lot of people may feel this sometimes, the infamous sword of Damocles. It stopped me from knowing how cool my friends really are, and what an awesome support system was always there for me. I was this way with every single relationship in my life. Even with my wife. All my relationships were very, very two dimensional-and no one, absolutely no one was allowed to the third dimension. The third dimension was confused, angry, and alternately huddling in a corner or lashing out.
I don't really know why I'm better now and can look at it from the outside. My old life is now just a shadow of a sick and confused time. How I kept my marriage or my friends, I'll never know. You guys rock.
And, you gave me the most amazing feedback on this blog-- which I thought was becoming an exercise in narcissism. I say "I" too much. I figured people found this annoying. I wasn't looking for and didn't expect the compliments on my writing. I'm blown away, and I'll definitely continue. This is shaping up to be the most awesome time of my life- who would have thought? An awesome time can hit you out of the blue and change your whole world. We should all have one at least once a week.