By Richard E. Bleil
Every time I’ve had a first date, I have been stood up. I don’t mean that every woman I’ve ever dated has stood me up, but my first date, I was stood up. My first date in college, I was stood up. My first date in graduate school, I was stood up. There comes a time when you either have to laugh, or cry. I choose the former.
I bought a house sight unseen in a new state where I had a new job. It was a trashy little place, but it was cheaper than renting, so I figured that, as long as I had a roof, heat and water, it would work. The wallpaper was literally falling off of the walls. It was a dump, but it had potential, so I had started peeling the wallpaper off as the first step in fixing it up but hadn’t gotten very far.
I met a woman through an online service in a city that was about an hour away. She wanted to meet, and it would be my first date in this state.
My first date.
I’ve learned that, if indeed you are going to meet a woman for dinner, pick a place where it just didn’t matter if she showed up or not. So I picked my favorite wing place, and the fact that she didn’t show up only meant that I could have the Parmesan garlic wings, the spicy garlic wings and the garlic mushrooms.
And I wouldn’t have to worry about being attacked by vampires for the rest of the night.
Now, I don’t drink. I’ve never liked the flavor, and I certainly don’t like the effects. More than once I have been told that it is an “acquired taste”, but I never saw the purpose of acquiring the taste. Seems like I could find better things on which to spend my money. But, I did like to keep a little bit around the house for guests. I had a six-pack of beer and a nice bottle of wine.
Laugh or cry, no matter how often you are stood up, it still hurts. Every time. It brings up feelings of inadequacy, feeds into feelings of lack of self-worth, it’s just bad. And an hour drive back to the little house in a town where I hadn’t even yet met the neighbors, it started to feed on my feelings. Now, I don’t drink, but I am an experimentalist. On the drive, I realized a few things. First, I realized that people drink, heavily, when they are upset, and I wondered why. I also realized that I had more than enough alcohol in the house for a lightweight like me to get very drunk. And I realized that I would not have to drive anywhere, so it would be safe for me to get drunk. So, I decided to try the experiment.
I woke up the next day, surrounded by beer and wine bottles. And, I learned a few things about myself, and what I do when I am drunk. First, I discovered that when I am drunk, apparently, I work. I know that I work because in what would eventually become my bedroom, I had stripped the wallpaper off of all four walls. I didn’t do a very good job; each wall had an oval on it where the wallpaper had been stripped, and I avoided tricky spots like corners and window sills. None the less, I understand now the story of the cobbler that “went to bed” every night and awoke to find work had been done. Drunken bastard.
Second, I discovered that when I am drunk and doing work, I do it with every light on. Yup, every light, every overhead, every floor lamp, and every desk light was blazing on full brightness in the entire house. Apparently, the world is a dark dark place when I’m drunk
Third, I discovered that when I am drunk and doing work with every light on, I do it in the nude. I know that I was nude before I began working because my right leg had two flat red marks from where I was apparently slapping the scraper clean as it clogged with old wet wall paper, and there was glue all the way down my leg.
Fourth, I discovered that when I am drunk and doing work with every light on in the nude, I also do it with every window shade up.
Every single one.
And I suspect that this is why my neighbors never introduced themselves while I lived there.