Momentous times of intoxication that span the past 15 years of my life all have one thing in common, other than copious amounts of alcohol, and that would be my WTF.
If I was the mother of me and I was a still a young child, I might attempt to ground me from my WTF, but I know myself well enough to understand that it wouldn’t stop me from seeing her.
Despite what you understand the acronym ‘WTF’ to stand for, in my world it is short for ‘WarTimeFriend’. I named her that the morning of September 11, when she woke up from her sleep on a friend’s sofa and found me sleeping on the other sofa. We had spent the night before drinking beer underneath 100-year-old forgotten oak trees in the backyard of a slumlord duplex in Rockford, on what used to be the Swedish side of the river.
She woke me up by poking my foot with her finger and flipping the TV on. Our sleepy eyes watched the flames, the smoke, the falling and the crashing from this tiny apartment in the Midwest, along with the rest of the world. I felt stuck between the disbelief of a dream and the anxiety of a nightmare; the dream aspect being the fact that we were safe on the other side of the television’s glass, the nightmare aspect is self-explanatory.
Both of us had just graduated college and this would mark the beginning of us foraging our way as ‘grown ups’ with degrees (in Fine Art). We sported business casual, went off to interviews, waited tables, toasted bagels, hid from creditors and hosted after-parties in our crooked apartment.
Shortly after I met WTF, we decided to sign up for a study abroad experience together. We hadn’t even turned 21 yet. We toyed around with the Belize trip, but the Mexico trip was $700 dollars less, and so our dreams of roaming the jungles of Belize turned into climbing temples in Mexico. My mom tried to stop me; she warned me of bad things that might happen. She lectured me on the subject of delayed gratification and kept a solemn face as the date of departure approached. I stood my ground and packed my bags. Father Murphy, a regular customer at the fish fry, handed me $100 to take with me. That was the only spending cash I would have and $75 of that would go to cover the doctor’s fees that I needed for my ear infection and the coral that was to grow inside my right leg.
“Anna, you’re not supposed to tell your therapist about your drinking escapades,” advised WTF. I was telling her that my therapist is concerned about my drinking habits. This past weekend, we got together after not having seen each other in a year or so. It was an innocent brunch that quickly turned into deep conversation of heady philosophies, thoughts, dreams, big drinks, little drinks, shots, no food, no water, and making new friends we will hopefully never see again.
I don’t know how Bill found me, but he did, at a dive bar, having fun and best friends with everyone there, except for the man who kept bragging about the weapons of mass destruction he was inventing in his basement. I remember his wiggly eyeballs, big in stare at us every now and again, and so we’d move to the other side of the bar (why didn’t we just leave?).
I explained to WTF that this wasn’t the first time this happened. I reminded her of our time of nakedness at the street festival, dancing with the locals in Playa Del Carmen, the concert at the park with a canister full of mojitos and a jug of wine, and the pizza we ordered in where I had to crawl to the door to get it.
The ‘out of control’ drunkenness isn’t regular occurrence for me, or for her, just an occasional out of control crazy happening that sometimes happens. We share plenty of memories and experiences that don’t involve alcohol at all, but today, the drunken ones stand out, since the therapist said this was a problem and all.
I think we’re just having so much fun that we don’t want it to end, so we keep going. I can easily shrug it off, but the therapist wants me to address it. I don’t want to short my liver out prematurely, nor do I plan on ever drinking that much again (does anyone ever plan on drinking that much?).
But there is something about the wild in WTF’s eyes that grant me permission to let lose. We could have easily been kidnapped by those locals in Mexico, I still don’t know why I woke up covered in mud the morning after that concert in the park, I’m embarrassed the neighbors saw us buck naked and running through the rain at the street festival, and I really don’t think Bill liked finding me at a strange corner bar and then whisking me home to get sick.
If someone would have told me 15 years ago that me and WTF would still be up to the same shenanigans every now and again, it’s not that I wouldn’t have believed them, but I would have imagined the shenanigans taking place somewhere vastly different from a dive bar, like a summer island home or a suburban backyard. I wonder if 15 years from today it will still be the same. I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t and I’m not certain if that should frighten me or not.
WTF said she video taped a bit of last weekend’s escapade and refuses to show me the footage because she fears I will end up crying.
What about you? Do you have any friends that invoke the crazy in you?