Whoa, June. See, I wasn't kidding at the end of last year when I said I thought about time in a different way. How has five months passed since my last post? I'll tell you: soberly! A few weeks past nine months now; I could have had a baby and you never would have known. Well, maybe you would have, because it does seem like if I had a baby that might be somewhat newsworthy and would probably show up on the news or whatever, but still. Nine months. Hmmm.
Last December, I was preoccupied with capital-T Time and since then, it seems to be Place that's kept my brain busy. I've lived here a long time and it was inevitable that I would eventually end up in a place that held some awkward, embarrassing memory, or one where perhaps some sort of marker dedicated to my historic misbehavior might be erected.
I attended one meeting in a cinder-block room that shared a wall with a bar where I worked for a few years. The space was positively vibrating with recollection -- at first it seemed like I might need to leave; I couldn't reconcile the new feeling with the old memory of the space. Even parking my car on the street felt funny -- why, right there was the parking meter I used to chain my bicycle to and then later each night, unchain it and drunkenly pedal it the few dark blocks home. Did the parking meter have any memory of me? Was it steeling itself for a good haranguing if I couldn't get the bike lock open the first few tries? It sure heard enough of that back in 1990.
On the opposite end of that spectrum, I attend a meeting pretty regularly that takes place in the same non-descript strip mall space where I attended my post-rehab out-patient therapy. It's jammed between a Subway and a laundromat. It's not my favorite meeting but there's something about the space, the way it's only been completely and utterly a safe one for me, in which there is no shuddering of vision when an old bad-behaviored-ghost creeps into my peripheral vision, that keeps me going back to it. No one in that meeting ever remembers my name and I think they even think it might be Gigi, but whatever. Other than having a chip on my shoulder about being mistaken for a French can-can girl, it's a pretty solid healthy hour of my life.
The thing these places -- any places, really -- have in common is that they are only as nerve-wracking or as calming as I can make them be. The spaces themselves are inert; they don't really remember me, or even exist to offer me anything other than an escape from the occasional late-Spring thunderstorm. I'm discovering that the latitude and longitude of my sobriety is not a fixed point. I bring it with me wherever I go.