Copyright © 2017 by Jo Barlow
I’ll Restart Again Tomorrow.
1st January 2018
Last night we again ended up with no children around, and so were asked if we wanted to go to a local friend of a friend’s pub for New Year’s Eve. Yes, why not?
I was fine about it, I don’t really see any more significance in the New Year being a new start than any other day of the year. The 18th May-
The pub was nice enough and the people who run it were lovely and chatting to us like friends too. But just a few minutes in and I don’t feel I fit there. Firstly they were raising money for ‘Stand up to cancer’ and although I know this isn’t a mainstream or even spoken about opinion-
Then the pretentiousness of many of the people there starts showing… or maybe that’s just me feeling the amount of people who were doing or saying something just to be popular. The ‘surrey bubble’ people as I call them. Preening themselves in the bathroom mirror to put on their persona so no one will notice their insecurity.
Then there is the alcohol… that socially acceptable poison (yes I know it’s a pub-
But for a while there was a singer playing acoustic guitar who kept my head connected to something I knew-
After about an hour I am starting to struggle, I feel like I need to run to find some peace. I go for a slow trip to the bathroom and just take my time in the comparative silence there. But it doesn’t last, there is only so long you can loiter in the toilet!
I am still trying to block out everyone apart from who I am with, but it feels like the noise is still increasing with each minute and my patience and coping is falling rapidly. I know a few years back I wouldn’t have been able to take any more and would have gone into overload, told everyone to fuck off and driven myself home at this point. (One huge advantage to always being sober and the one driving) But instead I pull out some ear plugs and grab Dave’s phone and try and zone out with that. Although it doesn’t help much when everyone else on social media seems to be going on about having a Happy New Year too. Nothing personal and how they are actually feeling, just this ‘say what we are supposed to say’ bolloxs. It feels like there is this huge elephant in the room of how unhappy everyone is, yet they don’t dare say their truth and instead just grab another drink…
My brain is on overload with the noise, or is it the fakeness? I don’t know if it is the after effect of brain surgery, a possible touch of Asperger’s or just being a little introverted and needing my space and solitude, but whatever it is …I can’t hack this.
I am thinking I must be one of the only people who can stand taking pictures of a band-
I am trying to work out why I don’t feel the need to run at any of Dave’s gigs, yet an hour with just the noises of drunken people talking is just too much now? Actually my ideal at a gig would be to have someone I know also sitting watching with me and just be there so I am not alone with the other drunks in the pub. Apart from that I actually quite like sitting alone, drinking water and singing the words to myself. The music and the words heal me, they make up for the rest of it.
Also (as someone who hasn't drunk alcohol for over 25 years) it's easy to see the people who drink compared to those who don't. Those few that don't look healthier, their energy is different, they know what you are talking about and are just more 'awake'. They have addressed their demons (or spirits) -
I sit there with tears rolling down my face.
Then through my blocking out earplugs and even more blocking out, trying to switch off, brain-
I sit there and just send silent thoughts of love to my children. Then my mobile rings and it’s Roan on the phone wishing me Happy New Year, so I go and talk in the toilets to him (the only place I can hear him). Listen to his childhood joy of watching the fireworks at my parents’ house, of it just being another day.
But as I leave the quietness of the toilets I know this is enough, my eyes hurt, my head hurts. I have to go. I tell Dave I am going to sit in the car and he walks with me as we go back to where we parked it and this time I manage to park outside the pub. I put on my chill me music on-
I still feel I am somehow cut off from the others as they return to the car to go home. I just feel fuzzy to them and like my senses have had to reduce input. The lights are too bright, the voices too loud, so I have to focus on my task of driving home and just switch off the rest. I simply can’t cope with people.
As we get back indoors I just want to go to sleep-