Near Beer

I bought some O’Douls last night for the campfire. I was debating it all day. Then I sort of got excited. “Yea I can feel normal”.
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Then right before opening, I got a bit worried. Would this mess me up? Not meaning would it get me drunk, but would it make me want real beer? Or at least make me want it more than I did before? Is this a slippery slope? Will this be my gateway to relapse?

My friend was actually saying more things than I was to make me doubt this decision. “Are you sure you want to do this? It says 0.5% alcohol?” I pointed out it says LESS than 0.5% alcohol. But I got carded when buying it. If I need to legally be 21 to drink it, is that little tiny bit of alcohol enough to do something to me?

I opened it. I asked him to toast me with his real beer. He said it seemed we were toasting my sobriety goodbye. I took a sip. I said “mmmm that tastes good. Uh-oh. Too good. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea.”
He laughed. What did I mean?
I started to get worried. The O’Douls tasted good. Better than what I remember Bud or Coors or what I thought of as “crappy” beer to taste like. Is that only because I have not experienced the taste in 4 months? Or was it that tiny percentage of alcohol seeping into my body? Was that “less than 0.5%” running to my brain and announcing to the cells “it is only a small few of us now but we will return!!!” I really started to panic that minuscule bit of booze was going to make me tipsy. Good thing I did not need to drive anywhere.

He told me if I admit drinking near- beer on my blog, I am going to get reamed. I told him my sober bloggers are not like an AA meeting. The people are more supportive. Then I said I did not care if anyone bitched. I didn’t care if they judged me. THIS IS MY BLOG! This is for me to get sober. And I also decided I need to write about it in case anyone that reads it had a similar experience or was considering non-alcoholic beers.

We finished our beers and went to the campground bar. It was finally open. Since it is not really the season yet, they only open on weekends. It was closed our first two nights. He wanted to check it out. It was empty. We ordered some fries from the bar. They didn’t have alcohol-free beer so I got a Coke. He joked “see! First near-beer and now you are going back on your soda-free policy.” I told him I needed the caffeine. This bar didn’t even have coffee or hot chocolate.

I thought we would each get a drink, check out the lame bar, and go back to the campground. He ordered a second beer. I did not understand why pay for a beer at the bar when he had a new 12 pack of cans in the cooler. Then again, I might have done the same in my drinking days. Social drinking, even if no one else was in the bar, was more fun. Maybe he liked having bartenders to validate his drinking than just dry me? The bartender asked if I wanted another Coke. I joked “sure, I am not driving.” She laughed and said I was a cheap date. I finally convinced my friend to go back to the campsite after his second beer. And honestly, I was feeling left out by drinking Coke. I wanted my fake beer.

We had a good night. We grilled hot dogs again. I roasted marshmallows. And I made S’mores. He did not eat any because he is not big on sugar. I told him maybe that is why he drinks weak beer. We tried to grill Jiffy Pop but failed to read that it should not be cooked over an uneven flame like a campfire.
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(Also he did not take off the paper label on top of the container. I don’t think he did that cause he was drunk. I think it was because he is a guy.)

I drank four bottles of O’Douls. He went through a lot of cans of Bud. He got drunk. I made comments how weird it felt to have four bottles and not feel even buzzed. It felt great! I said it felt like I took a superpower pill to keep me from getting drunk. This would be awesome for drinking games in college. “Why does that team keep winning at beer pong?”
“Oh they are chugging O’Douls”.

We have two bottles of near-beer left. I put them in his fridge. His roommate might toss them. “Ew what the hell is this shit in my fridge!” Or they might keep them for next time I visit. Or maybe they will drink them while drunk and desperate. “Hey… yea… think this will help keep us drunk?”

So in conclusion of my near-beer experiment, I am glad I did it. I need to do more research. I am not going to drink this all the time nor make a habit of it. I am glad I did not drink it in the first month or three because I think the association to real beer was still there. Maybe I needed to rid my body of all the traces of alcohol after 20 years of drinking to be able to tolerate O’Douls? I still prefer to drink ice tea now but I think I could handle non-alcoholic beer if I felt the situation suggests it.

Next I might try non-alcoholic wine. But maybe I will wait until I am in Napa or similar wine country.

Mistake 130- My friend was telling me the story of the first time we kissed. I was drunk. There is a photo of us making out on a table. We made out in the taxi the whole ride home. I do not remember any of it.

I had a lot of people staying at my house that weekend. When we got home, he fell asleep on the couch. (Aka passed out.) One of our friends tried waking him up to say I wanted him upstairs. He was too drunk to care. Then I had sex with another friend. I do not remember anything with that other friend at all.

I told him it sounds like we both made drunk mistakes that night.

Pings of Saddness

I am still enjoying my camping trip. We did some hiking yesterday. We went searching for beavers. We didn’t find any but we found beaver dams and houses.  I kept trying to make “beaver calls” which sounded like rabbit sounds with my teeth. It was still a nice day and the beaver pond was pretty.

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We went to lunch afterwards. It was at a bar with a deck. I wanted sun. He wanted beer. I told him I am so glad he drinks Budweiser cause I have no desire to sip it.

We walked around a nearby village. They had wine tasting. I felt a ping of sadness. I really loved wine tasting. I loved winery tours. I loved wine. I wondered if they had any good Shiraz. I made some comment about it sucking that I couldn’t go in there. He said his roommate suggested we check out the wine tastings. My friend told him “she doesn’t drink and I hate wine.” Eh so even if I drank, would it have been fun with someone who doesn’t like wine?

The town was closing down as we walked around. The only things still open were restaurants and bars. And happy hours were starting. It was a beautiful day. I could not help but regret I could not sit on one of the decks, watching the lake, and sipping a beer. I kept saying we should stop somewhere and he could have a beer while I get coffee.  I pointed out a few places but he didn’t seem too eager. We finally found a place only to be told they just stopped serving food and drinks.

My friend said we could go to McDonald’s if I really wanted coffee. But I didn’t.  I just wanted the ambiance.  I just wanted to sit at a table with a gorgeous view of nature and have a drink. I am used to doing that with a beer or wine or rum&coke. I wanted to have that relaxing feeling without alcohol or soda. We headed back to the campsite instead.

We did stop at a store for more supplies. I looked at the beers. Again, a ping of saddness. Local beers. Some IPAs and blonde ales. Why do they have to make the bottles so pretty? I joked around I am gonna start a lawsuit that the pretty labeling encourages underage drinking. “Mommy, can I have this bear soda? It has a picture of a bear on the bottle!” Not until you are 21 sweetie. “Aw schucks.”

Sitting at the camp that night with the fire going, more wishful thinking of drinking. I really wanted a bottle in my hands.  He drank his crappy Buds and I sipped my water. I was too lazy to boil water for tea or hot chocolate.  We made hot dogs and S’mores but I could not shake the desire for beer. I told a lot of my drinking stories to ingrain in my head why I can’t drink.

My friend is wonderful and supportive of my sobriety. We are having a great time and keep making each other laugh. We both try to top each other with bad jokes. Sarcasm just oozes from our mouths. But I wish I could just kick back with a few beers with him. Not even get drunk. Just wish I did not have to keep in my head “NO ALCOHOL! YOU ARE A FUCKING ALCOHOLIC! IT WILL KILL YOU.” That voice can be a bit of a killjoy.

I want to be normal in the sense I want to not DESIRE a drink. It is not always I want to be ABLE to drink. I just wish I hated it. Like I want booze to taste like lobster. I don’t like lobster. I wish there was this pill to make me associate the taste of alcohol with food I do not like. “Eww this wine is like mushrooms.” I know there is medicine that makes you nauseous if you smell alcohol. But I don’t want to make myself feel sick.

Maybe I will pick up near-beer for the campfire tonight.

Mistake 129- I was visiting a friend. I met him once years before and we stayed in touch online.  He lived with his girlfriend. The day I arrived, he won a contest. The prize was a flight and concert tickets for his favorite band in the whole world. Time to celebrate!

The three of us went to a local pub. It was small. A few people at the bar. We played pool and darts. We got trashed! We took over the bar. His girlfriend drove us home.

I told him about a movie in which his favorite band sang the theme song. He never heard of it. So I went to show him clips of it on YouTube. His girlfriend went to bed. He and I stayed up, drinking more, celebrating, and watching clips of the movie and videos of the band.

Somehow, in our drunk excitement, we started to kiss. Then it turned to oral sex. Then we heard some noise of his girlfriend opening the bedroom door. We jumped away from each other and covered up.  I remember her poking her head in the living room and we pretended to be occupied with the videos. I do not remember if she said anything. She went back to bed. I remember him jumping up and repeating “oh my god! I can’t believe what I just did! Oh my god!”

I felt guilty too but I remember feeling shocked. I was blacked out during it. I remember the commotion of stopping because she was walking out, I remember her looking in the room, and I remember the guilt. But I do not remember the actual actions of what we did. I think he even whispered “stop” when we heard her and that was when I realized what was going on. I think I sat there trying to comprehend the scene when he went to bed. I cried myself to sleep.

He drove me to the train early the next day. I tried to ask if she knew without actually talking about the incident. He never told me but he just told me not to worry. We hugged. I grabbed my bag and got on the train.

I have not seen him since. It has been more than 5 years. They have an adorable baby together now. I am glad I did not fuck up their relationship. Blackouts are no excuse for ruining lives.

Camping Roadtrip

I am camping for the next few nights. Just a regular camping trip. Not a festival this time. My friend had vacation time and needed to get away so I volunteered to do a roadtrip with him. 

His roommate was suggesting places for us to go. He kept telling my friend of campgrounds that had great bars.  “Um, she doesn’t drink.” What is she looking for in a campground?  Seriously? Even in my drinking days, I don’t think I would have picked a campground based on the bars? How about warm showers!  Nearby hikes?

I thought it was cute my friend kept defending my non -drinking to his roommate. Also, sort of a shame that he had to.  “Did she ever drink?”

“Oh yea!” as he nodded his head intensely. “She drank A LOT!”

“Did she ever smoke?” My friend asked me if I did.  I told him only when drunk.  He then remembers me bumming cigarettes from him but never inhaling.  He said he used to always yell at me for that.

I asked does this mean his friend things I am some goody two-shoes. No,  he is just trying to understand me.  Why not ask if I ever did heroin or meth? I am odd for not doing any drugs?  I have a coffee addiction.  Does that make me human?

When picking up food, I told my friend to get beer if he wants.  I joked I will get bottles of root beer. “I thought you have up soda also? ”
“Um,  how about I only give up Coke and Pepsi products?” But no root beer. I got ice tea. If there were other people with us and we had plans to spend lots of time around a campfire,  I would have got those root beer bottles to blend in.

We went out to eat out first night because we were too lazy to cook. Only place open late in this small town was a bar.  I had a great burger. It was two-for- one beers. It is amazing how no one cares or bothers me that I don’t drink in a bar.  Not sure if they assume it is cause I am driving or they really just don’t care. He had four. I told him keep drinking so the mosquitoes well be more attracted to him and leave me alone.

We talked a lot during dinner about relationships and drinking.  I need to bring my “drinking journal” with me to jot down my drinking mistakes as they come up in conversations. Sometimes I get worried if I can keep this blog going daily. Then I am reminded of another drunk time and I think “oh yea… I will have 365 mistakes by January.” Just not sure if I can always try to relate them to whatever is the topic from that day.  For example, I can not think of any drunk mistakes related to camping. But the memory might come back to me in a few months.

He started a campfire when we got back to our site.  I was super tired.  I went to bed.  He stayed up about two hours later night fishing.  He smelled like beer when he finally crawled in the tent. That is such an unattractive smell. I used to stink like that?

Mistake 128- I was traveling India and staying with a local family.  I was in Kerala and the family was a man,  his wife,  and their adorable 8 year old daughter. We had a French couple over.  We were all having a good time on their rooftop porch. There was a festival going on.  We enjoyed fireworks and drinks.

The French couple left.  The wife and daughter went to bed.  The Indian father and I stayed up drinking.  I was drinking Old Monk and Coke. It is a very sweet Indian rum. He was drinking whiskey.

I sort of remember him kissing me.  I pushed him off. He kept trying to kiss me more. I don’t remember much more. I blacked out.  I mentioned it to a friend a week later “I think that guy kissed me?” He laughed “if you think it happened,  it probably did.”

Anything more happen? I have no idea.  I woke up the next day on the couch on the rooftop porch covered in mosquito bites. I passed out in a long Indian skirt and short sleeve top. I went to the guest room, grabbed my bag, and left without saying bye.

The father emailed me a few times asking me if I was coming back through town. He kept making comments on my Facebook photos and “liking” everything I posted. I eventually just deleted his friend link. Years later, I still do not know what happened that night except I got eaten by mosquitoes.

5 stages of Inebriation

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A friend posted old photos of the 5 Stages of Inebriation. I feel I could go through old photos of myself and recreate these photos. So many photos of me drunk! Passed out. Chugging bottles. Double fisting. I once had an album on MySpace just of me drinking. I did it because someone complained my drinking photos were not “lady like.” He deleted me as a friend after I made that album.

I have old VHS videos of my parties. But I don’t think I was drunk on the tapes. I was recording. I don’t think I have drunk videos of myself. I am sure other people might. Maybe I can get them sent to me for my birthday. Or my sober anniversary.

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Mistake 127- I was at a huge house party. I arrived there drunk. I got a ride with a friend but he left early. I think I was planning on catching a taxi home.

I woke up in the master bedroom. I was laying across a king size bed, from side to side rather than top to bottom, with 3 or 4 other people in the bed. Girls and guys. The guy who owned the house was in another room. I had on my jeans but was topless. I found my shirt. A cute guy found my bra for me.

Everyone that was passed out from the party started drinking again the next morning. I did not because I had to work that night. The cute guy offered to give me a ride home. My friend said “oh what a gentleman!”

He asked me for my number. I don’t know if we made plans to meet again on the drive home or if one of us texted the other first. But we had a date a few days later. We went out a few times. We had sex. Then I finally asked about the party.

He said he and I started making out. There were a bunch of people in the room and everyone was doing their own thing. I climbed on top of him, straddled him, took off my top and bra (with people in th room), kissed him some more, and then passed out.

I couldn’t even remember if he was one of the people in the bed the next morning. I guess I was still drunk when I woke up.

Drunk and in the news

People laugh at stories of people getting drunk and doing stupid shit. It seems to be more hilarious when it is newsworthy and gets shared on Facebook. This woman went on a two day drinking bender, stole a ferry, and yelled “I am Jack Sparrow!”

My friends laugh. I read it and think “thank god I never did that!” I am glad I never ended up on the news. I am glad when I got my DUIs, my photo did not end up in the newspaper like some communities do. I am “lucky” my only arrests were DUIs.

There was a story back in February of a woman getting drunk, hitting on a man on a plane, and then getting violent when he turned her down. Then there was the guy on Virgin Airlines that caused a hijack scare cause he was drunk and thought the cockpit was the bathroom. A woman got arrested for loud, drunk sex on an airplane bathroom a few weeks ago. Usually when there is a bizarre story of someone getting arrested on a flight, alcohol is involved.

Mistake 126- I was flying from London back to the United States. On my way to catch my flight, I saw small bottles of wine at Duty Free for £5 each. I had just enough notes left over for two bottles. Didn’t want to waste my pounds by them back to the US. I bought 2 bottles.

Plus I drank in the airport waiting for my flight. Add my drinks onto the credit card! Can’t leave London without some Pimms. And they always seem to give out alcoholic samples in Gatwick. Yes I will try some if that! I have a long flight. Best to pass out drunk for it.

I was drunk on the flight. I kept my cup from the lunch meal to drink my wine. Then, being the environmentalist I am, took the two empty bottles to the back of the plane and asked the flight attendants if they had a recycling bin.
“No. But you didn’t drink those on the plane?”
I felt like a kid that got caught cheating on a test.
“No, I, um, drank them in the airport but forgot to throw them out and stuck the empties in my bag.”
They took my bottles and gave me a nasty look. I went back to my seat and slept the rest of the way. I was too embarrassed to order more drinks. Not sure what the punishment would be for drinking my own booze in flight but glad I did not find out.

Survived a Festival Sober!

I made it home from the festival without drinking alcohol! It wasn’t that difficult. There were only a few times that I craved an alcoholic beverage. Like when standing in line for breakfast and someone offered me a Bloody Mary. Or when I saw some bottles of champagne, I fancied a mimosa. But I found it easy to turn down beer and shots. Even the wine did not look appealing.

I cried a few tears of happiness while driving home. I did it! I survived and even had some fun. It was a huge accomplishment. I prove I do not break out in alcoholic hives just being around booze. I need to actually ingest that crap for it to mess me up.

The hardest part was meeting people. But my friends’ friends were very friendly and accepting. They kept offering me food and juice. A few guys talked to me but I did not think to ask for names or numbers. I had no game and acted shy.

Watching drunk people make fools of themselves was helpful. I watched people falling over or being loud and obnoxious. I kept thinking “thank god I am not one of them!” The last night, my friends found a strange guy passed out in their camp. Everyone kept giggling about the sleeping stranger. They let him sleep. I said something about having been the “sleeping stranger” many times. I usually spent my last night at festivals drinking a lot and waking up anywhere. I was happy not to be target of their mocking.

I did approach W, the guy I mentioned in my mistake yesterday. I saw him cutting across a field ahead of me. In my alcoholic, selfish mind, I thought he was doing that to avoid me. “He must have saw me walking down the road so trying to rush ahead!” I called his name he turned around, looked at me, and slowly said my name with a doubtful tone. When I acknowledge it was me, we hugged.

I started with “I owe you and apology” and he responded “no, I owe you an apology.” I was not expecting that. He started to explain there were problems with his family that last weekend we saw each other that he couldn’t explain. There was miscommunication between us. He doesn’t know what went wrong and he wished things did not end bad like they did. I told him that he did not deserve the nasty, drunk email I sent. I said I was sorry for the things I said. We agreed to be friends again. It was all short and quick.

I felt better after I walked away. I felt it lifted some guilt of my drunken bevaviour from the past. But I did not mention the drunk night nor when he asked my friend if I was an alcoholic. I did not tell him he was right about that. I did not get a chance to tell him I quit drinking nor that I was 4 months sober. Then I thought 4 months does not seem like much compared to my twenty years of drinking. Maybe the next time I run into him, I will have a longer milestone to share with him.

Mistake 125- I had a guy friend that I used to like a lot. We met at a festival. I saw him again a year later and he looked really good. He quit drinking and lost weight. He and I spent some time together at this event and I developed a crush on him. After the festival, I went out of my way to visit him. We spent a few great days together filled with conversation and sex.

A year later, I was living in his area. He started to act like an asshole and not the sweet guy I thought he was. We had sex a few times because I still had feelings for him. But he always acted like a jerk afterwards. He was demeaning and said things to make me feel stupid. I started to avoid him.

One night, while drunk, I confessed my feelings for him to a mutual friend. The next morning, she asked me of I knew about his STD. What? No! He never told me! She told me he has herpes. She even showed me an email where he confessed to her.

I was mad because he and I talked about STDs. We talked about being tested and we were lucky to be clean. He never mentioned herpes. I felt he lied. I brought up STD testing the next time I saw him. He texted me 3 days later to say he got tested again and was clean. I responded “including herpes?”.
No response.

I stopped talking to him for a few months. I avoided him at parties. Then I finally decided we could at least be friends. His lying, on top of degrading behaviour, cured my crush. A year later, I got blood tested for herpes and was clean. Then last summer, he asked me to share a hotel together after a festival to save money. Sounded okay to me.

It was going okay. We had separate beds. We met up with other friends that were staying at the hotel. I ignored his derogatory remarks. Then I spent a day at the hotel pool sipping cocktails. (He quit drinking 3 years before this.) I got drunk. That evening in the hotel room, I was drinking some more, and watching a movie. Not sure how or what happened, but I ended up having sex with the friend.

The next day, I was so disgusted with myself. I swore I would not have done that again. I did not find him attractive anymore. I thought he was a conniving creep now. But I was blacked out. I got drunk and vulnerable. I put my health at risk. And as usual, he was a jerk the next day. He left the hotel without saying bye.

I texted him later bitching at him. He was a recovering alcoholic and took advantage of me when I was drunk. He never responded.

I know I will still encounter lying jerks in sobriety. I just want to develop the self-confidence to know when to chose not to keep them in my life.

Festival day three

Things are going well. I hung out with my friends. I walked around checking out art. I napped. I went to bed early last night so I am up early on Sunday. I am going to see and participate more today. I will break down my camp this afternoon to leave early in the morning.

I do keep seeing one guy that I know from my past. I want to talk to him and apologize, but when I saw him at another festival last year, he told my friend “we are no longer on speaking terms.” So I have not approached him. I keep hoping he will say hi to me so I can tell him I quit drinking and that he was right. I am an alcoholic.

Mistake 124- W and I met at a festival in 2010. We instantly got a long. We had things in common. We discussed music and diving and festivals. He was beautiful. One afternoon (while I was drunk), he told me I was the most amazing women he ever met there and asked for permission to kiss me.

We spent the rest of the festival together. People asked how long we were together and we would laugh. “We just met this week.” My friends all commented that I looked so happy.

Then W and I both confessed to each other: we were both in relationships. He had a girlfriend he was living with for 5 or 6 years. I was with my boyfriend for a year but I felt that was rocky. I did not foresee a future with my boyfriend so was not sure what was the point of staying together. But W and I agreed that this relationship of ours would not last past the festival.

But we stayed in touch. We would email each other artistic ideas. We talked about projects we would love to create for festivals. We were both frustrated with our camps and talked about maybe finding another camp together. I loved the way he composed his words in his emails.

A few months later, my boyfriend broke up with me. He said it was due to the long distance. I think he was also jealous because I found new friends that were into the festivals. He did not care for the festival life I enjoyed and said he would never fit in with my life and friends if he were to move near me.

I told W in an email that I was now single. He, who lived on the other side of the country, decided to come visit. He also had a cousin he would visit. He was staying with his cousin and family. We planned two nights he would stay with me.

The first night I was to see him was Friday. I told him about an event at a club downtown. We could meet there and back to my place afterwards. I was nervous. This was the real world we were meeting in. And I never asked him about his girlfriend That was a subject we just didn’t discuss. I was drunk by the time I got a taxi downtown.

My friend C was meeting me before going in the club. But the bouncer would not let me in because I was drunk. She took me to a cafe around the corner to sober me up. We ate snacks and drank water. I told her the story of me and W. He was waiting in the club for me. I was finally presentable enough to get in the club. And I started drinking again as soon as I got in.

I don’t remember much except being nervous around him. And turns out at one point, he grabbed C and asked her if I was an alcoholic. I only knew her a few months at this time and we only hung out twice. She told him no, she doesn’t think so. (I was with her my last drink. Three years later, she still doesn’t think I have a drinking problem.)

C gave me a ride home that night. I cried a lot about screwing things up. She told me I didn’t screw things up. She told him I had a tough day at work (which I did.) Call him the next day to apologize. So after sleeping off a hangover, I called him. He accepted my apology and we decided I would pick him up for another party that night. (If I drive, I won’t get drunk! That plan usually works.)

That night everything was great. I drank very little. We danced a lot. I met his cousin. It was a wonderful night. It felt we had some of the festival magic again. He came back and stayed with me that night. We had amazing sex.

In the morning, I asked the question. What was his relationship status? He told me it was the same. He was still with his girlfriend. Everything was great between them. If I was going to have a problem with that, we would have to end things. I did not know how to react. I kept thinking if everything was so great, why did he fly 3000 miles to see me?

We talked about getting together the next night. He still had a few more days in town. But the rest of his stay, he blew me off. He said there was family drama he had to attend to. I kept thinking it was because I asked about his girlfriend. I flipped from regretting asking about her to being angry. Does she know? Does she suspect and ignore it? Does he have girls from festivals in many cities?

On his last night, after he made another excuse not to see me, I got drunk. I chatted on instant messenger with a friend about the situation. I told my friend my feelings and what I wanted to say. He told me to write an email while drunk but not to send it until I am sober. See if I still feel the same. Instead, I wrote a nasty letter while drunk and sent it. I told him how I felt sorry for his girlfriend and he was untrustworthy. I must have said a lot of mean things in that drunk email. I did not hear from him again until that festival last year where he said “we are no longer on speaking terms.”

And now he is at this festival. He is with a woman that I don’t think is the girlfriend he had before. (I saw her in photos from his diving trips.) I don’t know if they ended or this is just another festival girl. I want to say hi but I keep hoping he says it first. I want to shout “this is ice tea! Not beer in my cup!” I guess I want his congratulations. I want him to accept my apology for that drunk Friday night. I want to apologize for whatever I said in that email. I want to make amends.

Not sure if I really just wish he was alone.