Re-Entry. Tdot.

26 March 2016 –  5:30 am, Toronto

It would have been to easy to step off the bus and walk over to Denny’s for a Grand Slam breakfast.  I made that visit several times in the Autumn, upon my late evening returns to Toronto.  Walk over to the restaurant and take a swivel stool at the long breakfast bar.  I recall lying to C. about my arrival time, telling her the bus was late, to justify the lateness of my arrival home.

I soooo love the food.  All variation of eggs, hash browns, breakfast meat, chicken steak with gravy, etc . . .  I also appreciated the time to myself.  Gathering my thoughts, preparing to re-enter the world of husband and father.  I recall watching the end of one of the Blue Jays’ playoff games from that stool in Denny’s.

And, of course, there was a woman.  A young, lovely hard working Latina.  Barely looked up the first time I came in, but remembered my chocolate milkshake on a subsequent visit.  She reminded me of the woman who did my pedicure at the Men’s Power Spa – M.  Both young, and beautiful.  Sassy and Spanish.  I remember wishing that I could speak Spanish when in their company.  I have some understanding, but my spoken skills are muy mal.  Maybe some effort in their native language might have tipped their interest from me as a customer, to me as a man.

My first black ink day in the journal.  Borrowing a pen from dear son G’s desk, as both he and I were reluctant to go downstairs for a blue pen.  He is furiously pretend-typing on his pretend-laptop.  I am lying in the lower bunk, under his Fire Engine Red duvet, half writing and half sleeping.  It’s been a relaxing day and a half since I arrived.  “Sleepies” before anything else, on Friday morning after my early morning arrival.

Realization

25 March 2016

It’s just past midnight and I am at the bus station. With 200 of my closest friends! Haha. They are sending at least four buses to Toronto at 1 am, so goes an extra long Easter weekend. I walked over here from St. Stephen’s . It took about 50 minutes, not sure how far it was. Oh, wait. Let me check Google Maps. Looks like I did a little over 4 km. It was cold, the wind was blowing too. Not much precipitation. I was glad I got the walk in. 20 minutes of exercise is one of my “outer circle” activities. The behaviours that I want to use to enhance my life, replacing the destructive behaviour that I’ve been engaged in.

The meeting tonight was good. Intense. B. did her First Step. She was very brave. Spoke well. Moved many of us listening. I shared about that line I saw in the Buddhist book,

I am powerless over my desires,
But I am not helpless in my choices.

It gives me hope. Mixed with the hope is a healthy dose of dread. C’s trip to Al-Anon has made her aware of the fact that I will never be free of what troubles me. I may learn to curb it, to manage it, or embrace my imperfection. In the back of her mind, she will always fear that I will continue to act out. Or slip. Or relapse. I wish it wasn’t so, but I know she is correct. The desires and strategies I’ve been demonstrating – although magnified or exagerated – have been there all along. Inside me. They ARE me. I am losing the wish to celebrate those qualities of my personality and psyche, but to deny them would be as much of a mistake.

I met J. tonight. His first meeting. I am a veteran now. No longer the “new guy”. Or so I will think in my head.  It must have been tough for him to come in.

I got to the church a bit early. The choir was practicing in the sanctuary – for Easter Sunday I would think? No joyous hymns on Good Friday. I guess Presbyterians don’t do Holy Thursday? No Last Brunch, or Washing of the Footsies?

J. and I made chitchat in the foyer after I finished shoveling off the steps and walkway outside. When I walked in, I glanced left and saw two lonely looking snow shovels leaning against the wall. Thinking about my service to the group and to our hosts, I picked up one and heaved slush for 10 minutes.

My Life and Loves (Playing House)

24 March 2016

I’m having an abstinent day.  Passed a couple of tests that I’m happy to write about.  First, got off the bus and was looking for a place to hang until the Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA) meeting at 8 pm.  Jumped off the 86 at Holland & Wellington and started walking east toward Parkdale.

Thought about heading into the vegan restaurant at the corner.  if I was going to eat – vegan would be the best choice for my health.  I thought about two days abstinent on my meal replacement shakes, and decided to pass on it.

Found a gelateria at the corner of Parkdale & Wellington.  New, modern décor.  All sorts of beautiful sandwiches and gelatos to choose from.  Instead, I browsed the cooler for a drink.  Coke . . . Diet Coke . . . Coke Zero?  No!  A tiny bottle of San Pellagrino, eau avec gaz!  OMFG.  I don’t usually like bubbly water.  Much prefer sugar in my drinks.  Maybe Pellagrino will be the new drink of my abstinent self.  Time will tell.

The proprietor noticed me carrying Infinite Jest under my arm. He recounted being a non-reader as a child.  Until he picked up a book that was lying around a pool hall that he managed at the age of sixteen.  My Life and Loves by Frank Harris. He says it turned him into a reader.  Maybe I will try and find it next.

I now have 90 minutes to kill before my meeting at St Stephen’s, just south on Parkdale Ave.  There is WiFi here, but I’m not sure how long the place will be open.  Probably until 7 pm.  I noticed most of the places along Wellington are shut down around that time.

I see outside the window that car windshield wipers are off.  I guess the mist/drizzle has stopped.  More to come later tonight and tomorrow, I’m sure.  I am boarding number 205 for the 1 am bus trip to Toronto.  Bus capacity is around 50, so Greyhound has to do some figuring about riders and seats. I wonder if everyone was pushed back to the late night bus, or if it is just that busy?  I’m baffled.

I just downloaded the Frank Harris book to my phone, and will read it on the bus.

The Gelato Man, tells me that he came from Macedonia to Toronto in the 1950s.  Came of age selling newspapers on the corner of Pape & Danforth.  Saved all his money and took over a paper route.  Grew it from 60 customers to 140 customers.  He could hardly walk at Christmastime due to all the change that his customers gave him as tips.  Remember when kids delivered newspapers?

My earliest memories of girls are very fond ones.  B., M-K, J. – my early playmates.  Our mothers were friends and I recall being invited over their houses quite a bit.  The mothers sang in the community opera, so there was weekday practicing in the summer months in preparation for outdoor performances at the local park.

It seemed to me that girls were fascinating.  They wore different clothes than I did – mostly dresses and skirts with knee highs or tights over their bare legs.  They had families of dolls that we could be the heads of.  I would be the dad, and they would be the moms.  My younger sister, C. would be the oldest child, and keep the other doll children in line.  We mostly played house – pretending to make dinner for the family.  We all cooked – which was something different than I saw in my own family.  Although Dad did do some cooking, it was mostly breakfasts, specialty dishes or special occasions.  Mom did the everyday, utilitarian cooking.

The girls had wonderful homes with lots of things that we didn’t have.  B. had a playhouse in her backyard.  It had an A-frame shape and reminded me of an alpine ski hut.  Her parents were German or Austrian, hence the Euro-flavoured architecture.  M-K had a pool.  We didn’t swim in it, but I remember being in awe of a house with a pool.  It was the only one I’d ever seen or known.

I remember loving the long hair that the girls wore.  it was the early 1970s and EVERYONE’S hair was long.  But flowing over their shoulders or tying it back – it seemed so different and interesting.

My girl friends were gentle and inclusive.  Everyone took turns directing the play.  Our pretend family would have all the features of my own, real family – except the conflict.  There was no confrontation with the doll-children.  Only smiles and auto-winks when we picked them up to change their clothes.  I enjoyed being nurturing to the dolls and to my partners.  We all got along and could play house for hours on those rehearsal afternoons.