love, Ruth Nineke

I’m getting frustrated at the ripped seams

Post Published: June 17, 2022
From #MOODS, Men, And Mommy Issues

The trouble with making money is thinking you have money.

None of us has money because money isn’t real, but this isn’t about my personal philosophy on humanity, and how everything in the physical world is the Matrix and maya and illusory.

I could start about how Love is the realest thing in life, the ultimate source of all creation, but even emotion is subject to dismantling with enough inquiry. Besides, is love even an emotion? Look, I’m not there yet and this isn’t that kind of party.

I had a good four month run at Austin Public. My fraudulence was great, right until it wasn’t. Here’s an easy combination for cracking your façade: Money, drugs, alcohol, being late for work, rinse, and repeat. I’d gotten the last write-up they were going to give me on Super Bowl Sunday and I was furious.

I did good work, and I didn’t think any other factor else should influence my employer to write me up. Not my reputation for being crazy, not my penchant for getting shit-wrecked on Saturday Nights, and certainly not the fact that I was an hour late to brunch when brunch is a lot of haul-ass for an average check of $38, equaling maybe $60 cash tips on the shift, if we’re lucky, if the tables like us, if we’re exceptional.

Naturally, I did what any server does after shift, after their boss makes them sign an agreement stating they’re getting fired if they get in trouble one more time. I went out and got shlammered.

I started at Banter and brought my puppy with me. A very strange young server at Austin Public had taken a shining to me, and even though there was definitely some vibe between us, I just could not bring myself to lean into it. Still, he adored me.

So Daniel-sen (his name, I can’t) comes with me to Banter, and we order food and drinks and watch Bruno Mars and Coldplay and Beyoncé and I don’t care.

I’m getting drunk, and I’m wondering why this guy I like hasn’t texted me to come out and watch Super Bowl with him. Because I know he’s out with our mutual friend – who is texting with me and inviting me out.

So I’m getting drunk and I’m stewing. As one does. Daniel-sen doesn’t really think I should go to Flushing, and he’s right. It’s very possible I drank 12 or 13 pints of Guinness that night – to say nothing of the fireball shots I also surely sucked down.

Skipping lots of details… I wind up sobbing on Parsons Blvd, in the Jamaica section of Flushing, desperately seeking a cab to take me home.

Here began my great bender of 2016. 

You know when the right time is to give two weeks’ notice to your boss, who you’ve got a ridiculous school-girl crush on? Your very first shift back to work after you’ve been written up and started on a bender. I was very obviously in top form to be making decisions about ending my job, what with all that clarity.

But it was settled. I’d made up my mind. This was what had to be done. I could no longer work there.

Mark was in the office, at the computer, making the schedule or doing whatever restaurant owners and managers do in the office. He had on his glasses, and he just sort of nodded and maybe said, “Okay, then.”

I went upstairs and got on with my shift.

You know what happened when Mark was finished with his office work and came upstairs and confronted me about the hogwash I’d just tried to give him downstairs? I dissolved into a stream of tears. (Mark couldn’t deal with crying, but that’s not why I did it.) I simply couldn’t deal with anything.

I was an emotional mess, and self-medicating only worked if and when no one pressed too hard for truth, or demanded better of me than I’d been letting myself get away with. He told me to think it over and we’d talk when he got back.

What happened was I decided to stay. What also happened is that I kept going out and getting piss-all drunk. I got sent home on a Tuesday night from Irish Cottage for being too drunk. The bartender gave me twenty dollars for a cab and I bought coke with it.

Benders are like going in the ocean when you can’t really swim. You’re aware of the possibility you could go too far, that you have no business doing what you’re doing, that you might lose control and fuck up your life. There’s always that danger, which is obviously the fun part of it. Getting day drunk on my days off and finishing the night at seven or eight the next morning was a thrilling exercise in self-loathing, self-pity, and denial.

For a week or so after Super Bowl, I’d been trying furiously to get a hold of my friend Josh. There was something between us that understood the allure of the abyss, and the familiarity of pain. He wasn’t answering my chats, and we weren’t friends on Facebook anymore because I’m Queen Petty and had childishly deleted him.

Four days before my birthday I reached out the mutual friend who’d introduced us. He e-mailed back to let me know Josh had been dead for nearly a year.

What a giant piece of shit I felt like, that I’d let whatever stupid disagreement we had carry on so long. And what an even larger piece of shit I felt like for being so mad, and sad that he was dead when I needed him right now!

I cleaned up quick that week. I cried constantly, out of grief and the depression I’d been avoiding for weeks prior. I knew then that I had to knock it off with the drinking and drugs.

I spent a lot of time remembering how Josh had treated me like I was the most enchanting and interesting person he’d ever met; how in awe of me he seemed to be. And hell, if he thought I could be something great, then maybe I could. The least I could do was try.

I decided the first step to cleaning up my act was getting off Austin Street, which meant getting a new job. Lucky me; I replied to a Craigslist ad, and was interviewed the day after my birthday, and I got the job. Once again I gave my notice, literally two weeks after I’d given the first two weeks’ notice.

I was on my way to go be a real fraud somewhere new!

And so I bought myself real work clothes and a brand new phone and new shoes and socks and went in ready to really crush it. I was drinking green juices, and apple cider vinegar, and water with lemon. I was taking notes in my training. I was studying, and practicing, and reciting. I was digging deep.

I was shitty at selling digital advertising space to businesses in the Village and NoLita. They didn’t want what I was offering.

Nobody really wants to give you money, and it’s often very rare that if you have to pitch them, they want to give you as much as you’re asking. But that doesn’t matter in sales. You’re either good or you’re not.

You know what it feels like to do work you’re not good at, which is also unfulfilling, despite your paycheck being larger than it’s been in recent years? It feels like I need a drink. In the middle of the day, and any chance I get. Fridays feel like I’m gonna start in Brooklyn, and on the cab ride home I’m gonna call a guy and drop a hundo, or more, on a bag. Then I’m gonna do heavy hoe shit with unsavory characters, grab a cab home in the daylight of Saturday morning, and try to sleep, congested as fuck, for as long I can.

When I “wake up” I’m gonna order Papa Johns and then I’m going to try and do laundry on Sunday, and loaf in bed for the rest of the evening, watching TV until it’s time to start over and do it all again.

I tried. I wanted that new job to be a new me. I wanted to be successful, you know? Like a big girl with a real job, a professional who went to the gym in the mornings and ate yogurt at lunch. I wanted to look good, and have money, and make sure my friends were impressed with me. I wanted to not generally feel like I was bad at life.

So I’m a fraud. Because I’m wanting to put on this new life – which doesn’t fit me – and I’m getting frustrated at the ripped seams, and I’m reverting to old habits.

And it’s not getting any better because what happens when I’m frustrated (and in denial and drinking too much and spending too much money on drugs) is that I become full-on depressed.

And depression is exactly, precisely what I’m trying to ward off at all costs.


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