Monday, February 27, 2006

Laissez les Bon Temps Roulez!

2/25 8 p.m. Saturday night before the impending storm I picked up a po' boy at the Gumbo Pot, serenaded by musicians from New Orleans. Hollering for beads was infectious --they had little girls throwing them, as often as not, on the roof.

In WeHo the LA Times newsrack had a little sign advertising their ongoing coverage of the mother of all awards shows (when people in "the industry" think the sun rises and sets around them) that read, "Who's going to go home with the little guy?" --Did they come up with that just for Boystown, I wonder?

The Feb. 27 issue of Newsweek had a nice piece about Mardi Gras in New Orleans by Michael Patrick Welch that complemented their 'hard' coverage of New Orleans recovery very poignantly.

2/26 2 p.m. I'm such a pig. I listen to the fascinating experiences of others, and envision myself living their lives. I'm the kid in the candy store who doesn't understand why I can't have one of everything. It completely slips my mind that hey! I've had one of those lives, too! It's been full of a lot of laughs, tons of excitement, and more experiences and sensations and variety than most people could ever dream of.

And you know what? It's perfectly okay to want more. No, I don't discount the life I've had, thinking it more constricted and narrow than some (there's no winning at that); it isn't at all a case of envy or coveting what I don't have. No, just a good old fashioned case of if some is good, more is better. After all, someday it will all come to an end, and I don't want any regrets for what I could have done but didn't.

2/27 'Fat Monday' 6:33 a.m. This year especially, as New Orleans and the Gulf Coast celebrates Mardi Gras as well as declares to the world its determination to come back after the natural (and government) disasters, it signifies more than the 'farewell to the flesh' but the whole of the pagan holiday that represents renewal and the spirit of rejoicing and reaffirming their survival through the darkest hour.

Perhaps no one as much as those in recovery could appreciate the symbolism. It is very much a part of what sets Southern California AA apart from the rest of the country: how we shout and cheer and celebrate and acknowledge various lengths of sobriety, recognizing that especially at certain points our spirit may waver a bit or be more vulnerable than at others. Like handing Gatorade to a runner to prevent their dehydration, we spur each other on, knowing what it means to have survived.

For those not in recovery, it may be hard to fathom, but this path we have had to walk has been divinely ordained for us to follow. It is an awesome responsibility, to be silent partners on this spiritual journey. Why couldn't it have been a little easier? And with a lower body count? This, the eve of my last drink 25 years ago is cause for some navel-gazing, to be sure, but it is something that for those of us who have been given this incredible gift we know --and must be constantly reminded-- of the obligation that comes with it. If you saw yourself die, and come back, how could you possibly delude yourself in thinking that your life is yours to do with as you please? To some degree, there is a lot of latitude in the choices we are allowed to make. But we must never, ever, forget that when all is said and done that we have turned our lives over to a power greater than ourselves; and it is in the service of that greater good that we must be.

It's weird, and wonderful, and scary. Even after all these years, like your first trip to Disneyland or the seeing Northern Lights. Sobriety is the ultimate orgasm, and whatever Tantric tricks Sting is doing to make his last, ours are even longer, and more of a rush, guaranteed. It's a life with a really yucky birthing process, though, and I wouldn't wish it on anybody. Anybody who isn't already slated to receive it, that is. If you are, then it's like, wow! Flying over the Swiss Alps like Peter Pan. Like those flying dreams I used to have when I was a kid (I had the top bunk and would wake up in the morning on the floor, but man, it was flying).

No comments: