Drinking again

Got my first pay yesterday and went out last night drinking it. It’s a classic male response. This time anyway there was some justification for it. It’s long time since these moons have aligned – working, in the city, money and Friday night. I wasn’t going to waste it.

It was a lovely Summer’s day yesterday. Can’t ask for much more than what we got – blue skies, sunshine, a shirtsleeve temperature, a balmy night.

Caught up with Donna a little after 6 after having a few beers in the office in my new job. Because it was such a fine evening all the prime outdoor drinking spots were jammed to the gills. We ended up at about our third option, the rooftop at the Tuscan Bar, where we snared a lucky table walking in and hopped into the cocktails.

Used to be I was such a dab hand at cruising Melbourne bars, and bars all over the place. There was a time when I was a regular barfly. It occurred to me out of the blue during the week how things have changed. That life has changed. I took for granted eating out at a good restaurant every week – something I might do once a year now. I’d be at a couple of bars a week to, and knew them like the back of my hand, down laneways, in basements, the occasional rooftop, and the general run of nooks and crannies where Melbourne bars spring up. I had the life.

Turns out you don’t lose it so much. I took to it last night like a duck to water. It was crowded, and noisy enough that we had to lean in to hear the other. In truth the Tuscan Bar is not a favourite venue, but when they cranked open the awning and fresh air and sparkling twilit sky it was all good.

We had a few cocktails and shared a pizza, catching up on what’s been going down while between us we checked out the crowd.

The talk turned more meaningful as the night went on. I was out with Donna a few weeks ago, and have done this regularly over the years, if less frequently latterly, but she smiled and told me I hadn’t changed at all. It opened a line of conversation that delved into the rugged experiences of the last little while.

I don’t know if I’ve changed. From time to time I’ve had people tell me I’m different. Others have said the opposite. To be honest you’d think I’d have to change somehow, and I think I must have, but I recognise, to my surprise, that the who I am has survived intact, and virtually unscathed, into the present day. It’s what had Donna shaking her head, and it bemuses me also.

I’m glad of it, I think, but not completely. The middle of me remains. I think there must be a very candid post in me shortly, but not today. There are aspects of myself I’d change if I could, though I understand those things are the reverse of the coin that have enabled me to survive.

I’ve failed, but I’ve survived failure. It makes for mixed emotions. I’m not out of the woods yet, not by a long way, but I’m on the way back. It’s reasonable to expect there will be a steady improvement from here, even if small. On top of that I have my projects, which give further reason for health.

The important thing is that my capabilities and confidence have survived. I can make more of this, because it’s in me. Failure though gives you pause to consider. Having scraped the bottom of the barrel I should have a better appreciation of what it means. There’s no real point if I don’t.

So anyway this became the conversation last night. Sitting there drinking a cocktail and looking about me it was easy to think how little has changed from my heyday. Truth is, regardless of my disposition, nights like last night will be an infrequent indulgence. I’m not there yet, but getting there.

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