old friend is waiting for
me when I get into the office this morning.
first-thing-off-the-elevator pit stop at the Dirt Company kitchen -- to
drop off my lunch, to start the coffee, to make sure nobody has
plundered my secret stash of Laffy Taffy -- I swing the refrigerator
door open ...
and there it
is. Eleven bottles of Samuel Adams Boston Lager, lined up in
glistening rows on the
top shelf of the office fridge.
Secra! says my
old friend. Remember me??
gut-punched. Whut the hell?? BEER in the office
Frigidaire?? And then I remember: Yancy's farewell party
yesterday. After sixteen years with The Dirt Company, Yancy is leaving
to start his own consulting firm. They threw him a party in the
conference room yesterday afternoon. I stayed long enough for the
obligatory slice of seven-layer double fudge cream cake and a few
minutes of polite, Nice working with you/Best of luck in the
chit-chat. But then I headed back to the front desk, right about the
time they were dragging out the liquid refreshment. The leftover cake is sitting on the counter next to the sink, and this
apparently is the leftover liquid refreshment.
three-and-a-half years of
sobriety, this is the first time I've opened a refrigerator -- any
refrigerator, anywhere -- and come nose-to-nose with temptation.
got a great idea!
says my old friend. How about if you slip a couple of bottles
your bag ... right now, before any of your co-workers get into the
office ... and sneak them home? You can
drink them on
Sunday, when David is out of the apartment all day. It would
my friend is right. It WOULD
be easy. I could drink the beer on Sunday afternoon, while David is out with his kids for a few hours and I'm home alone.
It would be fun: I could toss a little Jesus & Mary Chain onto
CD player, plop my feet onto the desktop and i.m. with my online pals
all afternoon long, just like old times. (While
it, maybe I can call up a couple of ex-boyfriends, order $500 worth of
crappy jewelry off the Internet and accidentally set something on
fire!) When I'm done, I can sneak the empties outside to the
dumpster and gargle with a bazillon gallons of Listerine before David
would ever have to
that *I* would know.
And so would David, because I would tell him.
neither one of us would scream or file for divorce or send me to my
room without supper, I know that David would be disappointed, and I
would be disgusted with myself, and neither one of us would go to bed
happy that night.
I say to my old
friend. "I've got better things to do with my weekend."
old friend shrugs
indifferently. Have it your way.
noon I'm a frazzled, bitchy
mess. The menstrual floodgates have finally opened after days of crabby/weepy/zit-intensive anticipation. Now I've got
those uterus-in-a-meat-grinder cramps I get once or twice a year. It's
making it difficult to concentrate on office supply orders and Fed Ex
what you do,
whispers my old friend. Tell JoAnne you've got to 'take care
girl business,' and then sneak across the hall and chug down a quick
bottle or two. It would be so eeeeeeeasy.
once again, my friend is
right. It would be easy. In fact, it would be EASIER than easy. Nobody
ever goes into the supply closet but me: I could sit on the floor,
behind the boxes of paper towels and pretzels, and slug down two or
three of those Boston Lagers before anyone even realizes I'm away from
my desk. A little alcohol, on top of a couple of ibuprofen, would probably knock my cramps right out of existence.
with my precious
three-and-a-half year sobriety record.
I say to my old
friend. "I've got better things to do with my afternoon." I'm going to
stick to tea and Motrin.
old friend shakes its
head. Fine. Suffer. See if I care.
late afternoon things have
quieted down around the office. As a matter of fact the place has
turned into a veritable ghost town: even my boss has slipped out a
couple of hours early. I sit at my desk and listlessly leaf through an
office supply catalog, praying for this workday to hurry up and end
already. I want to go home and put on my Happy Pants and curl up in bed
with my heating pad, my husband and a couple of junky pop culture
love this idea!
says my old friend. Why don't you go grab a bottle out of the
fridge, open it up and slip it into your bottom desk drawer, just
like old times? You can sip on it, whenever nobody's looking. It would
be so eeeeeeeasy.
of course my friend is
right, as usual. I could sit here at my desk, with an open Samuel Adams
in that bottom desk drawer, and every so often -- when I'm sure I'm
unobserved -- I could take a quick sneaky pull off the bottle. It would
be like the old days at The Phone Company, when I used to keep a Friday
afternoon split of Cold Duck at my fingertips.
like fun, doesn't it?
my old friend says, seductively
it does. It sounds like a
great way to pass the rest of the afternoon. Except that one bottle of
Samuel Adams -- or two, or even three -- wouldn't be enough to get me
where I want to be. By the time David picked me up after work the buzz
would already be fading, and all that would be left is the sour
afterburn ... and the craving for more.
it," I say to my old
friend. "I've got better things to do with my life."
old friend laughs. OK,
OK, it says with a smirk. Be a party-pooper. But
one of these
days ... you're going to come looking for me again.
may very well be true.
Maybe one of these days -- under circumstances I can't possibly foresee
right now -- I won't be able to resist the lure of
friend. All I can tell you with any certainty at all is that it isn't
going to be today. Today I'm going to finish the rest of my workday --
all twenty-two and a half minutes of it -- and at five o'clock I'm
going to switch the phones over to night ring, turn off my computer,
pack up my stuff and head out the door for the weekend.
after I stuff a
wedge of seven-layer chocolate fudge cream cake into my purse.
a great weekend,
p.s. have a
great ride this weekend, bev
and bitter hag!
forget to wear your GLOVES.]