Sunday, April 3, 2011

After School Special

Guuuhh. Last night was...

I'm stone cold sober. That should about explain it. Except it doesn't and I have to explain even that. And some other things. For myself. And for the world at large because they seem to just NOT be getting it.

I felt like I was in an After School Special about avoiding peer pressure. Except I was with a group of adults.

It was Chuck's birthday. Which after being annoyed with him for a bit, I suddenly wasn't because he was lovely and charming the other night and I remembered why we are friends. I picked him and Michael up, missing the OT Ovi goal in the Caps game, and we headed to the East Bay to go restaurant Dona Tomas, a mexican joint that Chuck loves. It was the usual: me, Michael, Chuck, Sara, David and then also Mark and Amy and Parisa. Michael joked that it was all couples (Chuck and Parisa, D&S, M&A, me and him). Sigh. #singleforever

So we're standing at the bar waiting for our table and David orders drinks, instinctively ordering me one as well. I demure. I say it's because I'm driving. David persists, "Come on! You can have one!" I wish me being the driver had been enough of a reason to just pass on the drink but noooo. And David pressuring me to have a drink? I should mention David is about 6'5" and a large presence of a man. Thank god Sara and Amy are right there. They are both social workers with backgrounds in clinical psychology. I didn't want to drink because I make piss poor decisions when I do. And I don't regret these decisions, per se, they're my decisions and I accept that. But I want to understand WHY I keep doing these things and what I hope to gain and what I want from life. And so I eliminate the thing that makes me not think, alcohol, so that I can work on getting more clarity on those other questions. I break it down into its more corse language. I explain all this to Sara while David and Michael joke about it. Sara and Amy both tell me that they think that's really healthy. Sometimes I swear I should pay Sara.

I really didn't want to get into this. I didn't want to delve into my psychology five minutes after showing up at the restaurant but it's amazing what saying you don't want to drink when with your friends will lead to. It was a little surprising to me that something I'm truly trying to do to be better was met with derision. I know THEY thought they were joking, but it wasn't funny to me. This is the line I walk when surrounding myself with guys. In fairness, I haven't been completely forthcoming with things that go on when they aren't around. But, again, guy friends mostly. We aren't painting our nails and having pillow fights and talking about our feelings.

Then I had to explain checking results for the bar exam. I know everyone is curious and rooting for me and I appreciate that. But I'm also trying to make it a non-event and not let it have control over my life. I won't let it define me. I'm dictating the terms here. I don't want to go out the night results come out. I don't want to "celebrate". If it's up to me I want to not be here at all. So: results come out on May 13th at 6 p.m. via the website. You have to punch in two special codes to find out if you passed or not. The way it tell you is that if you didn't pass it says, "We're sorry, we find no record of that person being a member of the bar." So you plug in the two magic numbers 15 more times to make sure you didn't do it wrong. You spend all day on Friday anxious and handwringing and then you go to a quiet corner at 6 p.m. and get the results. I won't let that happen. I won't let the hazing ritual that is the CA Bar Exam have it go down that way. They mail you a letter at the same time and you get it on Saturday (I don't know what happens if you pass, if you still get a letter). I'd rather have an official letter via the U.S. Postal Service than stare at my computer screen again (still), having some system alert or not alert me. To my mind, this is me taking control of the situation, of not letting someone else dictate terms, of not letting it control my life. And I don't want to discuss it. Period. When people ask, "How do you FEEL about the test?" I try to give a vague answer and change topics. Want to talk about that car accident you got in? No? I don't want to talk about this test. I did. Scroll down to late February. That's as much talking as I'll do. To me the whole deal feels incredibly traumatic. People wanting to celebrate it just kind of makes me want to claw my skin off. Football is something to celebrate. Baseball. Hockey. Birthdays, births, holidays. My ability to freak out about the job market while still saddled with tons of debt that I can't pay back? Not something I want to put as a marker in my life, thanks.

When I told Lindsey I wasn't going to check she said she completely supported my decision. Andy said, "That sounds very sane." Tonight? The friends weren't as supportive or understanding when I tried to explain how traumatic this was, that I really don't want to discuss it, that I won't be checking on Friday, that I don't want to be here that night, preferably that weekend. Would love to go to Chicago for the Giants series but not sure that's feasible.

If you think this was the end of me feeling attacked, you'd be wrong. First, I'm sitting at the table now, 4 of us on each side, me on the side with bench seating between David and Michael. My right arm is bruised from David reaching around from the left and grabbing my right arm and from Michael leaning his head into me, hard. Again, good natured fun. They've had a few cocktails. I haven't. AND my hackles are up from the two above listed conversations. BUT STOP MAULING ME! Later in the car when it was me and Michael and grabbed me again I finally said, "If someone touches me again, I'm punching them in the nuts!" He apologized, which I appreciated.

Then, the topic somehow turns to drugs and ecstasy. I mention that I've never done it. Drunk Parisa is like, "You've never done ecstasy! You have to! Right now!" No. I won't. But they won't drop this. Look, I drink, but drugs have never been my thing. I half joke with pot that I am fat and lazy enough, I don't need to smoke pot. Honestly just the smell of it gives me a headache. Which is awesome in San Francisco where people smoke it freely. I was in college at the height of people going to raves and had I been 20 and done ecstasy, it might have been fun but I didn't so the desire at 30 to suddenly start dropping x is almost nil. I got enough freaking problems without messing with my dopamine receptors, thanks. But they wouldn't stop! So I gave my other answer: I want a federal job, they require drug tests, so I don't do drugs. To me this is a logical thought progression. Oh that was too rich for them. "Lisa won't do X because she wants to be a federal judge!" Not what I said. "How would they know?" They'll know the way they know with any high level federal job: you take a polygraph, they take a hair sample, and you pee into a cup. "You just tell them you did it when you were younger, it's not a lie and that covers everything." The questions are more specific on these things like "In the past two years have you..." so no, that's not exactly how it works. And while I am an advocate of white lies, I'm not really down with the idea of lying about what I've done under penalty of perjury. Do people really think it's that simple? "They don't have to know"? Or that I haven't looked into these things to know how they work? Do you know why I'm not a cop TODAY? Because when I did backgrounds when I was, mmm, 24ish, my rare college pot use hadn't been far enough in the past to qualify me and I DIDN'T lie about it. Which is fine, I didn't really want to be a cop, but just...I don't make shit up. And this stuff actually matters to me. AND I DON'T WANT TO!

So. Just. Yeah. That was all AWESOME. Next time I'll say I'm pregnant and that should stop all the questions. (No. I won't. Mainly because I believe that when you make lies like that you give them potential to be true. (Yes, I am slightly superstitious.))

Other than that, it was a pretty fun night. Chuck is a ridiculously funny drunk, more amusing when I'm not. Everyone danced at this club in Oakland that was very much not our scene and even sober me danced and I do love these people immeasurably just sometimes...

And now I'm back at my house with my mother who likes to (and just did) cut me to the quick with a few well placed words. Today is going extremely well.

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