Thursday, December 28, 2023

A Rainy, Sleepless Sobriety

I read an article today in the Times about how one should go about doing a Dry January.  It had some really helpful tips like don't have liquor in the house and figure out when you usually drink and do something else.  My takeaway is that they were recommending a "sobriety coach."  The article made me want a drink.  I have always disliked anyone who went by the title "coach" and despised the dumb fuckers who called the men who coached our sports teams "Coach."  

"Hey Coach, are we going to do drills today?"

"I talked to Coach, and he said we were going to do drills today."

"Have you seen Coach?"

Life Coach, Spirit Coach, Sobriety Coach. . . .  I take it to mean they haven't any real credentials.  I think "Counselor" is a bare step up from "Coach." "Advisor" is somewhere between.  

Midwife, Doula. . . . 

But you know what Dylan said, "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."

Sorry.  I got carried away.  Getting all the liquor out of the house would be a big mistake.  It would be ike not having ice cream in the freezer.  I would not be able to think of anything else.  Having it here is a simple comfort.  It gives me peace, for I know I am abstaining and not tricking myself.  

So, Day 2.  Another 1,200 calories.  It is not difficult, but like not drinking, it is somewhat boring. This morning with coffee, for instance, I would like a slice of banana bread.  I like that.  And I have it.  I put it in the freezer when I decided to begin January early.  It is not hard not to eat it.  But. . . it is boring.  

Last night, I went to my neighbor's house for cocktails.  I ate before I went--chicken, half a small red potato, Navy beans, and Brussels sprouts.  I put on one of my "cool" pairs of long legged Chinese pants and a pair of socks to go with my Birkenstocks which I am wearing to help me walk with the plantar fasciitis.  I felt groovy.  They were drinking wine which was o.k.  One of the things I am missing is wine with dinner.  I always have wine with dinner.  But after dinner, I don't drink wine.  If they had been drinking cocktails, I would have struggled, but they are wine drinkers.  I got a tonic water, and in spite of my lack of lubrication, the night was great fun.  Travis and his wife were there, too, and everyone in the room was well-travelled and interesting.  I took over Cohibas, and after a bit we went outside and sat around the fire. 

That was lucky because it had been raining.  It is raining now in the darkness before morning.  I long to see bright blue skies, but it will rain all winter and maybe forever.  We've used up all the good stuff, I guess, and now this is what we get.  Well. . . it was quite a party.  

And yes, I am up early.  I didn't sleep again last night.  Is this part of detoxing?  Do I have night sweats?  Maybe. By tonight, I should be over and done with any physical reactions, I would think.  Now it is only habit I must contend with.  But you should see how skinny I have become.  Ha!

Detective Deckard asked me to send him the metadata from my pictures that had the camera serial numbers, so I was looking through old files again yesterday.  Not pictures of me this time, thank goodness, just searching for pictures taken with different cameras.  There were lots of beautiful photos in those files, some I would like to show here but don't know if I can or should.  I came across a folder with photos of a trip I made in 2016 to NYC.  I wasn't really able to wander the streets and shoot that trip as I went with someone to attend a wedding, but on the drive into the city from the airport, I was excitedly shooting out the taxi window.  My first city photos look like this.

But they also looked like this.

I had a Sony digital camera and my Leica M7.  Yesterday looking at photos from both cameras, I was amazed and enchanted by how well I did with the manual focus M7.  I was really good.  I just cooked up both of those photos today.  They were never touched before.  I've already posted on the blog the ones I thought were best in the way back.  This morning, I decided to cook up some more just to see.  

These are, as I say, all photos I shot from the window of the cab when we first crossed the bridge into Manhattan on our way to our room at the Algonquin.  I like staying at the Algonquin if for no other reason than the lobby.  Sitting there and ordering drinks is one of life's great pleasures.  

Oh, shit. . . ordering drinks.  I'll have to eschew the Algonquin in January, I guess.  I'll check with my sobriety coach.  

I have a great photo of my friend petting the famous Algonquin cat.  She does not let people pet her, we were told, but she sat on the counter and let my friend pet her like she owned her.  Somedays are just enchanted.  

I have many really wonderful film photos from that trip, not things from the cab but from the few I actually shot while showing my friend around.  I couldn't focus on shooting the street, but I am amazed again at how good I was.  I cooked up one this morning that grabbed me because of the motion blur.  On this one, I think, I just got lucky.  

Much of Manhattan is not bright which makes shooting film in some places a challenge.  Much easier with a digital camera, but damn, I love the look of these scanned film files.  

I have been wanting to shoot with my M7 since I bought the new one and got my old one back.  I've loaded one with b&w film and the other with color.  But the weather has been what NOOA predicted it would be.  I have not been inspired.  

And so, with a million cameras, I sit inside.  Selavy.  

I went to the Cafe Strange yesterday to have a green tea.  Green tea is supposed to be slimming.  They no longer have their expensive brand from the small place in Cali, though, and I am stuck with grocery store green tea which I don't really like.  However. . . it is supposed to be good for me.  

Yesterday, the place was full of. . . well. . . interesting people.  There were groups of young girls sitting together and chatting in alternating sophisticated and giggling adolescent tones.  Yea, yea. . . it fascinates me.  The boys sat alone or in small groups, too.  They sounded like what you might think.  Only here or there sat boy/girl couples.  Then there were the weirdos like me who sat at tables alone.  

"What is he doing over there?  Why is he here?  I can't imagine what he is doing?"

I like the way they all dress.  This is not a preppie/yuppie place.  They are hipster/hippie kids, and the cafe is an outpost.  They are a visual feast.  If only it were possible to photograph it all.  

Not in my own hometown.  

I will live soberly through the drizzle today.  It is cool and will rain for much of the day.  I will go to the gym early and not work out again, just stretch and do some cardio stuff.  And I'm only going because it is raining.  I had hoped to walk the streets with my camera today.  Someday, maybe.  

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