Monday, April 7, 2008

BOOK: Drunk Divorced and Covered In Cat Hair

I hate cats. I am sure they are a fine pet for some, but I find them to be entirely too skittish and when I am around them they turn me into some sort of red eyed lunatic. Not only do I tend to have the desire to claw my eyes out within about five seconds of our shared space; they make me wheeze and sneeze to the point that inanimate objects tend to dislodge themselves from my organs.

I also do not knit, nor do I have plans to become a "stitchin' bitcher" at any point in my immediate future. I can just hear my smartass friends saying, "Crazier shit has happened, Ali," And you know, they are probably right about that.

However, I have been known to point and laugh at women (and even one man) who brought their knitting materials to Friday pint night at Boundary Bay Brewery and proceed to shun all conversation with others as they sat, counted stitches, and drank water. The sin of it all. Water? Allow me to assure you, there are people out there (and you know who you are) who have tried to lure me to the dark side and sign me up for this knitting thing many times. I'm not folding, even though I have a healthy obsession with stocking hats and am pretty sure it'd be somewhat satisfying to start cranking out my own.

So why in the hell did I read this book? I have no idea other than to say that the first two words spoke to me on some level: Drunk. Divorced. I have been drunk. I have not been divorced, although I feel I've been through what feels like a divorce sans the official piece of paper. And it's still a bit um, fresh. And this was not a self-help book, god forbid, but it was someone who apparently had been there done that, and I happened to need that type of therapy that day.
I mentioned in previous posts that I recently spent a very lonely Saturday at Border's; spending gobs of money on all kinds of entertainment for myself as I tried to figure out what to do with myself on an ass biting cold Iowa afternoon. I had earlier that day had my first "Oh shit, what in the hell have I done by moving back to this place?" moment. It was cold. My son was away. I was on strike from work. I had plenty of groceries. My laundry was folded. I had already been to the gym...twice. I took a bath for the first time in about five years. I shaved my legs. Allow me to repeat myself, I shaved my legs. I had no clue what to do with myself.

Given that I am a take the bull by the horns kind of gal, I plopped my ass on the carpet and decided to make a list of my "hobbies and interests." I would complete my hobby list, choose one of these hobbies, and have myself an enjoyable afternoon. I got to work. The list went something like this: Bikram yoga, biking (mountain), biking (road), snowboarding, running, travel (seeing new places), hiking....

I was proud of my diligence. I was motivated. I was thinking this might be a real productive day for me. I was, as they say, bullish. I straightened myself up, looked back over my work and all at once it occured to me that I'd moved myself approximately 1,500 miles from the place where I could do each and every one of these things on any given day. And then, I proceeded to bawl my eyes out.

What in the hell have I done? What do I like to do, or more specifically what can I do in this freaking flat and windy deep freeze? Do I really not have one hobby that I can accomplish on what was now turning into a shitty, shitty day? Did I allow myself to lose so much of who I am in my recently failed relationship that I no longer knew how to entertain myself? Did I really spend as much time as my therapist said trying to make my partner happy and in turn completely lose myself? Too many questions, for which I had exactly not one answer. I did know one thing: I needed to get out of the house fast or this spiraling mind f-c* was going to go from bad to worse.

I am not much of a shopper, but I could spend days in a good book store. Unfortunately, Borders is about all we've there I was, lugging piles of books under one arm, while I scanned one CD after another and sampled tunes from artists whose CDs I had no intention of buying with those gross headphones stuck to my ears.

So, the book. It's based on the apparently famous blog started by Laurie Perry post-split. The short version is, she's trying througout the book (and apparently the blog) to cobble together a life post breakup. She has no clue what to do with herself and she offers a glimpse into her struggle with a raw hilarity that made me want to call her up and invite myself over for a glass of merlot. I relate to this woman. and her writing is witty and honest and unapologetic. She makes no qualms about drinking away her sorrows. I was hooked.

I sat on the floor of the bookstore and read the first 30 pages. Then my neck hurt and I realized I'd been there for four hours at that point, and I probably needed to go or the Border's people would begin to charge rent for squatting. So I took my book home and at 2 a.m. I was still reading the sucker, just utterly amazed that I could have so many thoughts and feelings in common with a cat person AND a knitter. I slept. I finished the book the following morning; successfully getting myself through that one shitty afternoon. And the next day was better somehow, the sun came out. And for god's sake, she had a house full of cats--at least I hadn't dipped that low.

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