the retreat: sunday

Up at 6 a.m. to let Mango out (taking him home after this) and then, after locking him up in a bathroom with a bed and bowl so he doesn’t make a mess out here, snapped leashes on the bigger dogs and took them for a walk across the neighborhood under soft chilly rain. The sun was rising but there were clouds across the sky so it stayed kinda dim.

I shower and dress and leave for Starbucks while the roads are still dark and I’m feeling good throughout the drive, and better still as I sit with my coffee and upload a post about The Killers, tend to some job stuff, and then do a bit of reading and writing until 10.

Things are good. I’m happy.

Later on I’m getting lunch with my dad and figure it’d be nice to just not get a beer, since I’ve already gone a day without booze, but when he gets one for himself I figure I may as well and then pretty soon I’m on to a second one and considering a third but go for an espresso instead

Afterward, ready to leave, I’m thinking about going to the Gables – like I’ll just do a little work at Starbucks and then walk over to John Martin’s for a couple beers once the sun sets – but I remember last night sitting in my boss’s living room, finishing up Breakfast at Tiffany’s, figuring I might as well open that bottle of wine before moving on to the next movie, and that I stopped myself because I figured I’d only get groggy and sentimental.

Stuck to water all night night, drank a whole pitcher while I watched that third movie and when I went to bed at midnight feeling just naturally tired. Feeling good.

I don’t think booze is my enemy but I do think this is the wrong time to be drinking like I normally do. Especially if I’m alone.

5 p.m. and I’m just now back at the house. Gonna watch a movie.

So I’m at a bar right now, it’s about five hours later, finishing my second beer at the tail end of a $5 dinner (Mediterranian flatbread, Ale House) and I suspect I’ll head home after one more beer. Watch the last twenty minutes of Kubrick’s Lolita. Hit the sack.

Earlier tonight, finishing Some Came Running, I was thinking about the whole idea of not having any alcohol whatsoever while staying in my boss’s place, taking it on as like a challenge, and what came to mind about the breakup with Rosie, the aftermath, is this suddenly-very-pressing experience of, like, policing myself. It feels now like my daily life is this ice floe, drifting across a very flammable lake of volatile thoughts or whatever (emotions, basically), and I’ve gotta be really careful not to drink too much, or send the wrong text – careful not to do anything that might strike a spark and melt my life.

But I’m wondering, too, if this “policing” of my emotions, of my alcohol intake and productivity, isn’t something I should have just been doing all along. Like was I using the relationship (such as it was, since we never gave it a label in our two years together) as a kind of excuse for abandoning responsibility? Probably the only thing that felt better than a long day or night with Rosie was a long day or night of writing. There wasn’t much competition. But since I knew that I wasn’t going to get much work done when she came over I think I’d use our dates as an excuse for doing a bunch of other shit that hampers productivity: drink too much, eat too much, vent my problems rather than looking very seriously inward and analyzing them. So I’m wondering if, apart from marking the departure of a best friend, the breakup from Rosie signifies the disappearance of…my license to have fun, to be reckless.

Like is the reason I’m suddenly so mindful of my productivity and behavior because deep down, without her around, my mind is like, Well, shit, what else are we gonna do?

I didn’t watch as much today as I did yesterday but I wrote a lot, and ran a couple of time-consuming errands. Tomorrow, however, I’ve got the whole day free. World’s my oyster.

Really tryna do a personal post and a movie post each day for the foreseeable future. Let’s see how that goes.

What I’m also thinking hard about today, as it gets late and the evening chores are taken care of, is how weirdly fulfilling the routines are. Walking the dogs at a certain hour, feeding them in such a way that they don’t fight, and then I gotta give a pinch of food to the fish and then turn the tanklight on or off, bring the cats’ bowls in- or outside. The lights, the air conditioner. It’s like I’m living on a ship and, after going through the protocols, it’s ready to sail.

I like it a lot.

Two days of near-total solitude and I’m not just talking to myself, I’m actually making myself laugh. Constantly. To tears. Quoting YouTube videos (“Eye em C’youban gynecologist…eng American ow-toe sayl’smang”). Impersonating people as I pour food for the dogs, talking to them like James Cagney or Bob Dylan or Satan.

What I think the Retreat is reminding me of is the fact that, while I’m probably not leading a particularly adventurous or photogenic life, I do enjoy my own company.

Anyway. Goodnight.

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