Waiting for Kirstie Alley

The last weekend of my drinking, my husband and I dropped the kids off at babysitting and went to a driving range. It was a clear early summer night and we had planned to hit a bucket of balls and maybe grab a bite to eat afterwards. This was his plan, though. The driving range had a small snack shop with wrinkly hot dogs and ice cream bars and soda pop. It did not sell beer. I did not really want to be there.

It turned out we didn’t stay long. All the loaner clubs were out or broken. My husband and I sat outside on a bench for awhile and watched strangers hit balls into the expansive green. I was just waiting for him to ask “you ready to go?” because I knew he would. My head and guts were starting to crawl in that panicky way when you go too long in between drinks.

I don’t remember which one of us suggested the cowboy bar, but it was still light outside and the parking lot was mostly empty. We call it the cowboy bar because the neon sign out front is a cowboy hat that lights up at night.  The place looks deceptively small from the outside, but inside it’s dark and cavernous and the floor looks like bathroom tile and suggests they once saw the kind of crowd that made it easier to just hose the place down in the morning. The cowboy bar has honky tonk bands on weekends and a full page of Dolly Parton songs for karaoke night and surprisingly good beer on tap. By good beer, I mean boozy beer.

We hoisted up on plastic swivel stools and chatted with the bartender, who told us Kirstie Alley had just been by. She betrayed her offhand tone by whipping out a phone to show us a picture of  her and Kirstie – arms entwined – smiling, fast friends. Kirstie was in town to hawk her magic weight loss formula on a certain well-known home shopping network.

The bartender and handful of patrons at the bar were alight with hope that Kirstie would be back later.  The guy to my right dug into a plate of cheese fries with a fork. I’d swear now he’s someone I know, a chronic relapser with less than 90 days who once strung together three years. Three years. But again, I can’t very well ask him “say, was that you eating cheese fries with a fork at the cowboy bar two summers ago, waiting for Kirstie Alley to return? And did she?”

I was drinking faster than my husband that night. I was trying to hold it together, but I don’t think I was holding anything to begin with. We had to leave and pick up our children and then the night went fuzzy. I have a vague memory of hanging onto the door jamb of our back porch and saying  “Listen, I’m going to stop drinking after this weekend and I just want you to leave me alone until then.”  

When I think back to that last weekend of drinking, I can tell you I’d had enough. There was never enough to drink, but the dive bar scene didn’t fit anymore. Maybe I’d once had fantasies of winding up in a Bukowski story, but the reality of being a suburban mom drunk in a dive bar is having a conversation with a slurring irish house painter you swear keeps saying his name is Blob (Bob. His name is Bob.) and who keeps spraying spittle in your face at random intervals. It’s possibly getting roofied at a biker bar but not being entirely sure because you drank enough that you might have roofied yourself. I’ll read about this world, but I don’t want fights in the parking lot and burning cigarette holes in the car upholstery and falling into screen doors and hoping my kids don’t notice I’m just a drunk.

That night at the cowboy bar was an anticlimactic gift of sorts because I said what I said about not drinking anymore and I stuck with it. (Sort of. I actually quit on a Tuesday, as I had to do a weaning detox on Monday.) When that moment comes along where you know you’ve had as much fun as you’re gonna have and that drinking is more or less sucking the life out of you, sometimes you just have to take that gift and figure out what to do with it later. You will.

21 thoughts on “Waiting for Kirstie Alley

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  1. Oh my God…yes indeed…you just wrote my feelings at the end of my drinking (minus Kirstie Alley of course). Drunk and blacked out earlier and earlier. Coming home not after the kids were in bed but while they were still up and having to hear the next day, “Mom..do you remember what you did last night?”, from your kids. (cringe)

    So much better now.

    What a great post. Thank you.



  2. I can really relate to this post. That whole idea that the way you want to drink and then places you really want to be drinking are either not available anymore or just don’t fit into your new life as a parent.

    The whole Kirstie Alley aspect is so surreal and funny in that setting. Reminds me of that movie, “Come Back To The Five And Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean!”




  3. what a beautifully written post. sometimes it really is time to move on. thankfully we reocgnised it when it came. I am sure there is a Tom Waits song in this somewhere – if only I had the talents of other bloggers in that area. where are you Christy?


  4. I’m at the doc’s office actually, but my ears were burning. More later (I used to work in a country western bar), but here ya go:

    Something along of the lines of falling for Kirstie, her being nowhere to be found, closing time, and having that last call for beer… That very last last call.


    1. I dont believe it!!!! I have been playing the CD with this song on it in my car for the last week! Now why didn’t I think of it?? So irritated with myself! but thanks Christy – you never disappoint. And sorry BBB for the hijack of your post!


      1. Is it The Early Years II by chance? If so, you’ll know this one too. It’s a favorite, “good bye lover/ alcohol” song.

        The losing the spark and trying to find that early magic… About it being time, past time, to just move on…
        Having just that one last kiss/ drink, and then being done…
        I think it fits too.


  5. Okay, I just read this blog, I had no idea that both of us were going to be blogging about blobs and spitting on people today. Wow! You really are telepathic. I’m just sitting here listening to Tom Waits and polishing my One Lovely Dicking-Around Blog trophy. A perfect Friday night.


  6. Beautifully put. I didn’t announce to M. that I was going to stop drinking. I told him when it had been a week or so dry but it was still terrifying. So proud I did it. So proud you did too.


  7. My last drink was in the pub where I’d been drinking since I was 15 – I’d had a few years break when I worked in London but a good 15 years of my 25 years of drinking were done there. A “friend” (he isn’t haven’t seen him to speak to from that day on, he never came to see how I was etc.) made a wise crack about me that really offended me. I was drinking as my wife had sent a text saying we could “celebrate” something that night – I didn’t want to celebrate, I hated my life and me and the world… so off I’d gone drinking…. again.

    I left that bar without looking back. At home a huge row with my wife, the TV was broken she’d had to take my daughter to swimming and I was drunk and the celebration not going to happen…. At that moment I just wanted to stop living – I lay down and cried for hours. Luckily 8 and a half years later (almost) I’ve not had to have another beer. Only one guy from the pub ever came to see if I was ok and when told I was in rehab distanced himself as well – I do sometimes see him and pass the time of day but funny all those “friends” were no such thing. If I miss meetings now my friends call to ask how I am – If I go to a meeting and see a friend from some years back they embrace me. Different lives now!


  8. I’m really digging your new layout. Its super sharp.
    And the Kirstie Alley story? Priceless. I can identify with Roofie-ing myself. Absolutely sure that we were drugged, but nope. Probably did that to ourselves.


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