There’s something comforting about drinking and dialing when you live alone. When a night out with the girls, a few glasses of wine and great conversation give-way to facing an empty house, the void that lies on the other side of the front door naturally begs for a human voice to fill it. Honestly I find it tough to listen to the sound of my own voice night after night, whether I’m muttering to myself or talking to the dogs, and it begins to take its toll (especially when I wish my dogs had the capacity to answer me).
I love nothing more than witty repartee and intelligent discourse and I dearly miss the built in sounding board that was my husband once upon a time. Way back in the dark ages of our life together he was a good listener and I thought we’d always have that. Looking back I can recognize the point at which he began to retreat to an inner place I couldn’t reach, try as I might, and from there the silence between us grew at a deafening pace. The echo of this memory still resounds within the four walls of this old house, striking a deep loneliness in my heart on nights such as these, leaving a chasm that begs to be filled. So I drink and dial, reaching out to commiserate, to drown-out a quiet that’s so palpable it almost has a physical presence. Thank God that the recipients of these calls are welcoming, otherwise, it could be pretty embarrassing.
When engaging in this practice, I announce right up front that I am drinking and dialing. This is standard drinking and dialing protocol, because you definitely want the person on the other end of the line to know that you’re not having an emotional breakdown or a mini-stroke. That on the contrary, you’re just looking for amiable conversation, a steady stream of laughter and a few moments to solve the world’s most pressing problems. I am always greeted cheerfully (especially because I never make these calls after 11:00 pm; also standard drinking and dialing protocol) and we laugh and commiserate until such time as I feel a bit less lonely and am able to nestle into bed and fall asleep.
It’s been a couple of years since he moved out and I am finally reclaiming myself: The woman formerly known as Princess, or something like that. You’d think something as simple as getting over the hurtles of a divorce wouldn’t take so bloody long, but what do I know. Even though I am learning to like myself again not a day goes by when I don’t wonder how I strayed so far a field, especially when the little voice in my head was screaming at me full boar “You are still a groovy gal! Wise up! Come to your senses!” I guess I wanted so badly to believe his voice that I ignored my own, but that’s denial for you; it’s a pretty powerful thing. This is still a recurring drinking and dialing theme for me but I think I’m ready to move on to other topics (although I might be in denial about this as well).
If I was living in a corny old western tonight, some cowboy would say “It’s quiet.” And his bent and broken side-kick would reply “Too quiet” in a knowing way and then all hell would break loose. But even though it’s too quiet around here tonight, there’s nothing breaking loose, except my brain on alcohol and my fingers that are speed dialing their way to a friendly and welcoming voice which will assure me all is right with the world and that tomorrow is, indeed, another day.