Rehab: Day 2
Bored: Nine days
Well... huh. Tonight may have actually been a little useful.
First thing: After being built up to be something of a god, but not like a sexy Greek god, more like Old Testament god (all wrath-y and imposing), I met the guy who'll lead the meetings for the next month. He was simply on vacation Monday, and if today was any indication it was probably a snowbird jaunt to Palm Springs or a crisp off-season weekend in Provincetown because dude is GAY GAY GAY.
I was a little worried at first, because although my finely tuned internal homosexual detection device* definitely picked up what he was putting down, whether or not he was an angry closet gay or a free-to-be-me gay was still up in the air. Having been supervised in the past by the former, it's bad, unless you're willing to shelve that part of your life and join them in the closet during any time that you spend with them. Old closeted gay people HATE young gay people, as evidenced by the myriad virulently anti-'mo public figures busted getting nasty as they wanna be with dudes in the past few months.
This matters a lot here, because obviously I'm going to be doing a lot of talking about myself in the next year, and at some point or another it's going to come up, and nobody wants to hear about my 45 year old girlfriend John. Especially if I happen to be wearing the same argyle print Michael Kors oxford shirt that I'm wearing today.
Let's call our leader "Bob". Bob is waxy and misshapen, as though Madam Tussaud had once brought him to life in the form of Mike Ditka, but then somebody left him out in a tropical rain. Bob is super commanding, which is impressive with this motley crew. I think they respect and fear him a little, and I get the feeling it's not just because they might go to back to jail if he doesn't approve of them. Interesting.
Bob meets me, and I introduce myself to the group for the second time. DUI, blackouts in the past year? I don't know, maybe three or four (LIE!). Drinking since I was fifteen but with great zest and fervor since about 22 or so. And yes, my first name is D but I go by B. "Why do you people have to make everything so fucking confusing?". I think he's kidding, but his delivery is so dry it's impossible to know for sure.
More talk of chemical dependency being a disease, which I don't really understand and I'm not sure I really buy. Someone asks "So, how do I break that down for people, when I tell them it's a disease and they say, no, you're an addict?" Bob makes fun of this guy for awhile, apparently his MO, before he finally realizes it's a serious question and starts to answer. Why didn't he think it was a serious question in the first place? I'm confused.
He writes a quote on the board:
The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.
-- Gloria Steinem
"B, would you read that for us please?" I do. "And what do you think that means?" God, the woman who did your job Monday totally did NOT make us participate this much.
"Uh... well, I think it's kind of applicable here in that, like, you know, you really have to like challenge your perception of what you think addiction is. I mean, when you come here. I mean, like you really have to break down what you thought you knew and start to rebuild your... uh.. like when you come here you have no idea what's going on. I still have no idea what's going on".
This is the stupidest thing I have ever said in my life. I'm suddenly feeling a lot of empathy towards the contestants on America's Next Top Model. The last bit kind of gets a laugh, but who knows if it was good comic timing or embarrassed giggles.
"What do you think it means in its original context?"
"Thaaaat... we have to unlearn [Ugh! More Harley's Hippies talk. I'm totally going to sound like Dr. Mosupye, my angry black lesbian communist South African women's studies prof before I get out of this place] our ideas of women's role in society, and that it's a challenge for both men and women? And that what we kind of have to disregard what we know because it will... like.. pollute anything we try to learn on top of it?".
"And why do you say that?"
"Because it's coming from Gloria Steinem, and she was a big feminist?". I seem to have scored correctly, or I have also been detected by his own finely tuned internal homosexual detection device, because he seems pleased. Why we are talking about this outdated, SO nine waves-ago feminist in this setting is beyond me.
"Does anybody else know who Gloria Steinem is?", and because they do not, or because they are smarter than me, there is only the sound of crickets chirping in the distance. To horny girl: "Do you know who she is?" She does not. To the cute black girl: "You?" No. They are then ordered to write a one page essay on Gloria Steinem and turn it in on Friday. The mercury has exploded the top of my douche-o-meter and is traveling at lightning speed towards the heavens. If I was more strategic I would have said I thought Gloria Steinem was Dixie Carter's character from "Designing Women".
There's chatter about men and woman and whores vs. bachelors and just when I feel trapped in an episode of Sex and the City, horny girl says "Most of my guy friends say I'm more like a guy than a girl". Of course. The retorts to this all wash over me, and then I let them fall away. I think it would have been better if the lights had gone out and a single spotlight shined on Bob as a boa fell to his shoulders from the ceiling when he says the following: "Honey, I'm more woman than you'll ever be!". But that alone was pretty good. Ty Pennington puts his head in his hands and says "Make it stop". Everybody laughs, and I feel much relief.
Well none of this sounds very useful, does it? For the next hour we discussed withdrawal, stress management, yadda yadda, and I was surprised but also a little relieved to identify with so much of the material. Kind of like when you find out what that weird growth on your toe is. Yes, it sucks to have toe cancer, but at least now you know what it is and you can deal with it. I don't really have toe cancer.
I really intended this entry to be lots of navel gazing about the last half of the class and what I learned, but Project Runway is about to start.
*You know how some girls feel about "panties", how it's kind of like how people who were fat kids feel about "husky"? That's how I feel about "gaydar". There's a dumb story here. Ask me about the time the closeted gay president of my high school student council killed that word dead to me by employing a stupid reference to it during morning address over the PA system.