There are some recovery sayings that are hard to believe at first. Like this one:
We are not a glum lot.
Yeah, right, was my response when I first read this in the sober literature. Fun was the last adjective I would use to describe teetotalers when I was new to sobriety. The way I saw it, life and other people could not possibly be fun without two nightly bottles of wine (and that was just for me). Was recovery healthy? Definitely. Spiritually enlightened? Absolutely. But fun? I didn’t think so.
Now I look at it differently. I see that I am more joyful overall as a sober person and able to appreciate all of life much more deeply than I did as a drinker, including pleasure and humor and friendship. And love? Even before sobriety, I knew that amour without liquor was infinitely more amazing than stumbling drunkenly into bed.
Humor is especially important now that I am sober. I have to keep laughing, especially at myself, if I want to avoid the pitfalls of drama and self-pity. And laughter, as everyone knows, is essential at times of sorrow and catastrophe. Not because we aren’t grieving about the horrific and tragic events that are now occurring on a daily basis, and not because we don’t take every aspect of the coronavirus crisis seriously and to heart. But because smiling and laughing, if only for a moment, takes an edge off our edginess and makes us better able to cope and help others. And all of us need to be brave and helpful now.
(Underscoring this last point, I notice that a dear friend has just posted a humorous sendup of Jazz Age literary genius and famous lush F. Scott Fitzgerald on Facebook: an imaginary letter written by F. Scott during an influenza epidemic in the 1920s, detailing all the alcohol he is stockpiling in order to survive the outbreak.)
In a similar vein, I would like to take this opportunity to laugh at myself, and allow you to join in.
All forms of drama, including too much daydreaming and magical thinking, are frowned upon in sobriety. Working ourselves up by imagining things, whether scary or exciting, tends to trigger the desire to calm ourselves with a drink or drug. And I am highly vulnerable to being a drama queen.
My theatrics, along with my daydreams, tend to increase when I am under stress, and a global pandemic can do that to all of us. So…to out myself.
Since the start of the coronavirus crisis, my son, who lives in Vermont near the New York border and close to the city of Albany, has been talking to me about moving up there for a few months or longer. Several other members of my family live in New York State, and my desire to be closer to loved ones was obviously enhanced by the coronavirus emergency.
So I began thinking about the move. The main problem was that I didn’t know anyone in Southern Vermont other than my son, and although family members and a few friends would be closer, they were all at least an hour and a half by car from the tiny town where my son lives. As a single woman under a national order to shelter-in-place, I would be pretty lonely up there among the pine trees. It would definitely be sweeter, I reasoned, if I could somehow find a romantic partner in the Green Mountains.
Now this is where it gets just a tiny bit nutty. I looked on Match but nobody struck the right Goldilocks note. They were too old, too young, too drunk, too dull. So I gave up, and focused my attention on my current non-romantic passion, which is MSNBC’s coverage of the pandemic.
I turned on the TV and there was Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York holding a press conference: confident, relaxed, statesmanlike, not exactly handsome but appealing in a tough and manly way, with those big Italian eyes and a charming vein of something like humility or self-deprecation, or maybe it was just good manners, in his demeanor.
And (cue the laugh track) I realized that I was starting to, well, fancy him. Yes, Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York, leader of the state at the epicenter of the crisis in this country. I had a big old crush on the Governor.
I would venture to wager that some of my readers have also developed a soft spot for the leader of the Empire State, whose star has been rising as the charismatic and courageous Man In Charge in this crisis.
You already know that I need to get a life. I have told you this before. And perhaps you hoped that somehow during the pandemic I could expand my horizons–maybe by standing in line for toilet paper and handing it out on a street corner or performing some other service.
I am sorry but no, at least not yet, although I do not rule out a free toilet paper stand. I am still the same silly woman who has been writing this blog and waiting for a prince to show for the past decade. Seriously, apologies.
But back to my latest bit of foolishness. And your opportunity to laugh.
I guess there is nothing that strange about having a crush on a public figure, even a politician. I know at least one lady, formerly a left-wing activist, who has an inexplicable crush on Donald Trump. She tells me it is because he reminds her of her Daddy.
My dear departed Daddy looked nothing like Andrew Cuomo, although Andrew has a few physical and character traits in common with one of my exes for whom I still carry a torch. Whatever the reason for my fixation, I started daydreaming about moving up near Albany and somehow meeting the charming statesman. In my fantasy, I reasoned that Andrew and I have much in common. We are around the same age, we both grew up in New York, we both have famous male ancestors, although mine was in show business and his in politics. We both are divorced parents and we both like dogs. And he lives at the Governor’s mansion in Albany, a convenient one-hour hop from my son’s place. It was meant to be!
There was only one questioned that lingered. A guy that powerful and attractive could not possibly be single. But then, at his next press conference, Cuomo alluded to living alone. Hope rose in my heart.
I decided to double check online. No I am not kidding. I looked up the marital status of a guy who is arguably the second most powerful man in America right now. Delusional? You betcha.
My online search was confusing. Many of the bios listed food network star Sandra Lee as Cuomo’s partner and First Lady of New York. But further research showed that the couple had broken up recently. My daydream was back on!
But then I caught a glimpse of her picture and discovered that Sandra Lee is a tall, long legged slender blonde with the bright blue eyes and the stunning symmetrical features of a super model. And my fantasy fizzled. I was definitely not the Governor’s type.
I might be cute in a sweet zaftig sort of way, and maybe I was skinny and beautiful for a minute in my youth, but I have never had long legs or blue-eyed blonde looks. Nope, even at my prettiest I never had that arm candy, trophy wife, Barbie Doll swag.
For a nanosecond, I was crestfallen. And then I had to laugh at my daydreams and my drama.
Maybe it’s time to drop by the nearby Target and see if the new shipment of toilet paper has arrived. I might even add a few loaves of bread and counter wipes to my shopping cart. I gotta do something to get out of this crazy head of mine.