It's actually been a lot easier than I expected. It's usually not that hard for me to sober up for a month or so here or there, but my newfound obsession with riding my bike everywhere has made it even easier than usual. I've stopped craving the booze at all because I'm looking forward to my next ride. I'm looking forward to feeling even stronger and faster and sharper than I did the day before, to the weight I'm losing, to the newfound energy. I'm riding around ten miles a day (including two bridges a day), and logged around 33 miles on Wednesday when we did the Ride of Silence for Leigh.
So I'm sitting here sober on a Saturday night, in my apartment, watching Saturday Night Live as I usually do on Saturdays, because I hate going out and dealing with people on a Saturday night. I'm sitting here by myself and SNL is over and now the TV is just background noise and I want to go to sleep but I can't.
My relationship with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs is a bit strained, but I ultimately enjoy them. Really, it's Kelly's fault. She and Amy were obsessed back in the day, blaring 'Fever to Tell' every day for breakfast when Spring and I were dating and I never got over the association. Karen O kind of bugs me, but not enough to where I can't appreciate them (Nick Zinner, for my money, is pretty much the greatest guitar player to emerge in the last few years, when you consider that he's doing all of that all by himself.)
Anyway, I'm sitting up by myself watching this SNL rerun and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are there and I've already seen this one but nothing else is on and I'm still annoyed that the Nuggets couldn't pull it out in the end and for their second song they decide to play 'Maps'. I put the computer on the floor so I can concentrate just on the TV.
I choke up listening to it, which is funny to me because I never really gave a fuck about that song. Never really cared about it. I remember that the last time I watched this performance I was bawling. I look it up to be sure, googling the original airdate. Sure enough, it was April 11th. Seeing the date in pixels in front of me sends an immediate kick to my gut.
Saturday April 11th at 12:10 PM. This is a fact that I have memorized, for some horrible reason.
It strikes me as odd, with some distance, that I would have been so affected by the Yeah Yeah Yeah's performing 'Maps', even given what was happening. I don't even really associate it with Back in the Day. Maybe it was the whiff of it, combined with an unexpected sentimentality and beauty of the song. Something so achy about it, where my brain just wanted to associate it because, why not? It's a perfectly decent song to release yourself into when you want to cry about your dead friend. I mean, it's no 'Tuesday's Gone', but it'll do in a pinch.
Oh man. Now all of a sudden I DO want to drink again, just so I can get drunk and listen to "Tuesday's Gone" and just fucking cry. IT'S SATURDAY NIGHT IN NEW YORK CITY!
It's weird because it's not like I would, in a situation like this, just up and call up Dru or Eric or Laura and ask them what they were up to on a Saturday night at 1 in the morning. But knowing that they're gone makes me feel lonelier for some reason.
I mean, let's be honest here. If nobody told me that Leigh had died I wouldn't know the goddamned difference except that I'd be wondering why she hadn't updated her LJ or Facebook in a while. It's not like I was up and calling Leigh at 1 on the morning on Saturday to see what was up. So why do I miss her so much at 1 in the morning on Saturday? Maybe it's just comforting to know that the people you care about are somewhere, and that wherever that somewhere is they're happy. Maybe it is just an energy. Maybe that's what love really is - this thing that allows you to connect in some metaphysical way in the absence of direct contact.
Or maybe that's just something you tell yourself when you're sitting up by yourself at one in the morning on Saturday and you feel lonely.
Just this feeling when you part ways with people you care about, people you love. "Get home safe." "Take care." "Be good." Go back out into that world away from me, and come back to me soon and in one piece. Come back with fun stories, and let's make some fun stories of our own. Come back with a tan, some back with a new job or a new adventure or your hair different. Just come back at some point.
I blame the internet. Fifty years ago this whole idea of a global network that you kept tabs on would just sound silly. Now, thanks to the miracles of modern machines, I can see that...uh...hold on. Ryan is in Houston and he has the sniffles. SharOn is excited about her new mattress. Good to know. Josette is exhausted in San Antonio, and Amy caught fireflies with her daughters. These are tiny nubs, and they create stories instantly in my head. There are stories everywhere.
Or is it cheating, in the way that our grandparents would say its cheating? "Real" interaction replace with a poor, lazy substitute. But that's too simple and too dismissive of real connections that happen in this way.
Of course, when I'm thinking about the things I miss about my friends who have come and gone it is absolutely never anything to do with the internet. It's the big hug, the awkward way you walk, the laughing until I can't catch my breath. It is all there.
I'm actually, these days, feeling a lot better than this journal would make it seem. I actually spend a lot of my day smiling. I love my job. I have fun every day. I'm writing again, and have an exciting new project in the works.
Anyway, the point is that I don't know what to do with myself anymore. I'm healthier, more energetic, in better spirits, more full of life than I feel like I've been in years. And I'm looking this way and that way, all of the world laid out in front of me, and I'm frozen in place. These hands, this brain, this body, this soul. What to do with it now?
All of this sadness.