Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Winter reading

Started reading The Girl on the Train last night and was caught by the totally familiar, depressing existence of the main girl, Rachel. She's in her early thirties, takes the train to London to work every day, and likes to imagine the lives of the people she passes as the train creeps by the apartments. She's mostly interested in one particular couple who seem to have an ideal life. She calls them Jess and Jason, and imagines that they are totally in love and problem free. She's also got a fairly serious drinking problem, brought on by her loneliness. Or maybe the loneliness is exacerbated by the drinking. In any case, the drinking has led her to lose her fiancé and she finds herself becoming more and more out of control with the her consumption, having moments where she blacks out and comes to with vomit on the floor and a cut on the back of her head with no recollection of what happened. Then, one day, she sees the woman kissing another man on her patio, and later the same day, the woman disappears.

That's about where I am so far, but was most distressing to me was the drinking, because it reminded me of my drinking days and all of the shameful stories that go along with that. First, there's the shame of always drinking too much at parties or social events when everyone else seems fine with just the one glass of wine. For me, it was always like, I don't want one glass, I want all of it. Why wouldn't you want all of it? What's the point of one glass? But then most people around you seem fine with a single drink, and so there's the need to hide that desire for more and to wonder why you're so weak or different from everyone else.

Then there are the memories of the dumb thing said or done while drinking. Fortunately, I wasn't someone who liked to drink and then take crazy chances (this is the case for Rachel in the book). It didn't cause me to want to meet strangers at bars or take late night walks through the city in my bathrobe or knock on neighbors doors or call ex-boyfriends. But it did make me say things I later regretted or sometimes to cry over stupid things or to ask inappropriate questions. I cringe when I think about some of the philosophical conversations I tried to have while drunk.

Someday, I'll write about the actual incident that caused me to stop drinking. It wasn't anything dramatic (thank God), but it was startling enough for me to realize that something bad could've happened. And it didn't. And so I'm okay and that was three years ago. Now, I check out by watching Judge Judy, which is also probably not good for my brain and is also embarrassing, but not quite as unhealthy.

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