no facebook friend left behind

i woke up thinking–i cannot leave her behind.  miss x was crying when i left her.

“i feel like i made and lost a friend in the past couple hours!”

“no, you haven’t,”  i said.  “you made a friend on facebook and you still have a friend.”

she wasn’t convinced when i pulled out of the driveway. she sat on the porch bench, crying. i felt awful.  i was tired, i was scared, i was driving so many hours.  i had so many more to go.

miss x is the 331st facebook friend i have visited since my 2011 new year’s resolution.  at that time, i had 325 facebook friends and i resolved to meet and spend time with each one during the course of the year.  i mean, who are all these people in my little solar system of mark zuckerberg’s virtual universe?

but as the year progressed and in this year 2012, i have been meeting newer friends.  miss x had seen a bit of news about me, had friendshipped me, and we’d been corresponding.  she thought she was inviting me to louisville, kentucky to give me an opportunity to test out my fearlessness against agoraphobia.  instead, we faced an interesting problem:  she drinks.  a lot.  much more than i do.  when i showed up at her doorstep at one thirty, vodka had been two glasses ahead of me.

we all find ways to quell the pain.  whether it’s prescriptions, meth, alcohol, video games, hoarding or the carbo load of a dozen doughnuts in front of the television set, we do it.  we have to.  times are particularly tough right now.  miss x lost her job fourteen months ago and has pretty much given up on getting another for the moment.

are you better off than you were four years ago? asked ronald reagan when debating then president jimmy carter. it’s a question every voter has to ask. in miss x’s case, the answer is decidedly no. she has unemployment benefits, but she would rather have a job. and her drinking–popov vodka mostly–has ramped up. jobs often give us purpose, which gets us out of bed and away from our poisons.

the breckenridge inn of louisville, kentucky had generously booked my room next to the “can’t sleep without the television on, argue at two a.m., have makeup sex at four” couple.  i so got to appreciate the room decor.

was it a good idea to go back?  to meet miss x again?  but i was haunted by the crying galpal.  and by something she had said.

“i started drinking because i thought i was too boring when i’d be with people, you know, at parties and such.”

i was thinking “that’s me”

i have often felt like a wallflower who can only manage with a glass of white wine.  and then i can talk with people.  and then another glass of white wine.  and i can sit still through dinner parties.  and another white wine.  i can be funny or witty or amusing.  one more white wine.  and i’m smushy in my thinking and scattered in my speech.  but i don’t notice by then because i have white wine saying “it’s all good.”

i messaged miss x at six a.m.  total long shot.  if she was up, i would return to her house.  we’d go for a walk.  i wanted this facebook friend visit to end well.  she had drank and fallen asleep and had awakened early.  i was packing up for the next facebook friend adventure.

i checked out, went to her house.  and that’s when i really met my friend.  the day before, i had met alcohol smothering my friend.

the facebook friend who opened the door, the three hundred and thirty first friend i have recorded about since i made that resolution, is bright and funny and witty and engaged in the world.   she looks sort of like lana turner or maybe jennifer coolidge.  she has a gift for seeing beauty and translating it into home decorating.  she has an empathy with cats and although one of her own is dying, she has a sense of humor.

jennifer coolidge is the actress who played stifler’s mom in american pie. this is sort of what miss x looks like. she would be chill with being identified by name but she wants to protect her husband.

we walked and we shared a morning ritual.  it is how i pray these days, having figured out that rosaries and om’s sometimes seem hollow for me.  we exchanged lists of ten things we are grateful for.  i was grateful for coffee that morning.  she was grateful for her husband and mother who are both loving.  we were able to exchange gratefuls for each other.

there are many days in which coffee has made my list.

we said goodbye.  well, goodbye sounds more final than what it was.  we hugged and kissed and i will see her again.  and i’ll even take up the offer of the manager of the breckenridge inn for a free upgrade because of the couple next door.  really, i should just remember that maybe the couple was celebrating and happy and . . . well, actually, i know they were pretty happy at four a.m. roughly thirty seconds apart from each other.

no secret–i love the white wine. we’re having a break up. i am using a drug that is weaning, subtle, strange. i am not a believer in twelve steps because i think we do all need something to get us through the day.

i strike north for bloomington.  i thought i would be aiming for tennessee but my friend in cookeville has distractions.  i drive.  i meet my facebook friends. i ask for their friendship to be in person.  mark zuckerberg introduces but there’s nothing better than right there, right now.


9 responses to “no facebook friend left behind

  • Julia Kovach

    Arlynn, I’m no sex addict, but I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t be so amusing to one…..I don’t believe “we all need something”. Isn’t life wonderful as we stand on our own viewing it unaddicted? I always always always wish you the very best of everything in this life. Kudoes to you for turning around your car and your visit! xoxo Julia

    • arlynnpresser

      given the right guy, i could be a sex addict. okay, maybe the wrong guy but one that made me feel good. you have gotten to a part of the kingdom, the mountain, where you can see the trail behind you and know how far you’ve come. i haven’t gotten that far yet. i’m still trying to put together the backpack for the climb.

  • Todd S. Parkhurst

    You doin gooood!!!!!! T

    Todd Parkhurst | Attorney | tparkhurst@hsplegal.com | 312.604.2626 (direct line) | 312.604.2627 (direct fax)

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  • Ar

    That was a beautiful story. Well I’m sorry I missed you in Il. We have a friend in common. I was thrilled you guys hooked up.

    I’ll be glad when you are back. Johnny and I are glad to help you get settled in when you come home.

    Best of luck on your continued journey.

    Arlene

    Sent from my iPhone

    • arlynnpresser

      i am so happy to hear from you! i’m moving on saturday and any help from you or johnny would be soooooooooooooo appreciated!!!! even if the help is a quick hug! i have lived too long out of my car. just getting the clothes out of there is going to feel refreshing. xxoo

  • William Taylor

    To Miss 331. I was drinking a two liter bottle of vodka a week for several years!…I simply had the realization, that I was sick, and tired of feeling crappy about life, and if I wanted things better on the OUTSIDE, I had to make them better on the INSIDE. Measure your successes in the smallest increments possible. Start with ONE TINY VICTORY. it doesn’t matter what that victory is! just seize on it. Let it inspire you to take another step.
    Good friends are such victories. Let their care inspire you. GAIN from their wisdom. Almost ALL failures can be attributed to trying to go too far, too fast. (baby steps)- One day at a time. Before you know it you’ll be looking behind you and saying, “Who WAS that lady?” You CAN do it. Just believe in yourself!! :)

    • Miss X

      Like I told ArLynn,,, I can drink any man under the table! Years ago I was drinking a two liter in 2 days! I got sober and just shy of my third anniversary I started my romance with Vodka again. I try to limit myself to 1 pint a day because there is a huge chance that I will drink more than a pint if that bigger bottle is sitting there starring me at me. I actually drive every day to get that one pint. Thanks William! I have been inspired and I know, one day, I too, will break up with the bottle again.

  • Miss X

    Thanks to everyone! This has been an awesome journey for myself, and I don’t ever leave the house but to get that pint! Wow! I do hope that ArLynn will past my way again, taking up the offer from that hotel. I can’t wait!

  • Julia Kovach

    Please don’t underestimate yourself, Arlynn. You are doing wonderfully. I’m still climbing that mountain that you referred to….but it’s an exhilerating and a lovely cliimb. And you KNOW that I understand how exhausting and defeating it can feel at times. Don’t forget to look around you, girlfriend, you’ve got friends all around you and we are right here climbing the same mountain! Sometimes, if we dare to listen for a minute, we can get tips from other climbers about the rough spots. Be well….and keep on keeping on! Love to you! And……See you before the top!

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