I had not CRIED cried yet today. I mean, I had been stifling the odd sob here and there and sort of cry-talked through a crucial portion of my intake session with a new shrink. But I hadn't had that big one, the cathartic horrible honking weepfest punctuated by "Oh my FUCKING god, Oh my god, AHHHHHH" that makes Claire Danes's ugly crying look like Kim Kardashian's "ugly" crying. I knew I needed it, physically, the way one might need any kind of release, but I couldn't get there.
Fortunately Spotify exists and my friend Erin had sent me some playlists that capture the flensed feeling of early sobriety. I knew one of the songs on her list was going to be the one to do it, but which one? The thing about being this utterly fucked in the head is that it could be ANYTHING. For example, I recently Claire Danesed in the woods for a solid 15 minutes thanks to the "Hail, Poetry" part in Pirates of Penzance Act 1, even though I KNOW IT IS A JOKE! "What we ask is life without a touch of poetry in it" ha ha. But then that "hail, poetry, thou heav'n born maid" choral bit. God, I'm insane.
Anyway, I was hunting through the playlist and for a second I thought it would be "I'm On Fire" (so close, tantalizingly close) and then I saw Seventeen and realized it was obviously going to be Seventeen by Sharon Van Etten. As you recall, I wrote an entire novel about Seventeen. Please buy it.
That song is genius top to bottom on every level, lyrics, production, her performance, the last fucking line, jesus christ. It should actually be illegal for me to listen to it right now. I should not own a phone right now, nor a computer. (The tools I use to do my job hahahaha).
I stared into the abyss. I felt more alone than I have ever felt in my life. Possibly the most alone any human being has ever felt in any human being's entire life in the entire history of recorded time. Hard to know how we measure these things, but I feel confident in asserting my win.
Then I went upstairs and drank a non-alcoholic negroni called a "phony negroni" (also a gift from Erin), which made me realize that I should write little capsule reviews of the world of non alcoholic beverages. Not like, soda or lemonade or whatnot. I'm talking about drinks that it would never occur to a non sober person to drink. They make sense to me now! Well, their existence does at least. And I think we're living through a renaissance of the genre? Unfortunately not all the kinks have been worked out, as you'll see.
name: Hoplark 0.0 Really Really Hoppy
flav profile: Ok, this stuff is legit ... great? I mean, I wouldn't drink two. But it does actually taste like an IPA sans skunk. Truly refreshing. The perfect pre-gym beverage if you wish to preface your trip to the gym with the experience of sitting in a bar alone drinking a non-alcoholic ... hop ... water. Hop water. Hoppy! It's gluten free.
name: freshfizz sparkling jalapeño limeade
flav profile: a bad sour hard candy melted inside a half-sweet soda. Not spicy AT ALL. I bought this one for all the wrong reasons (pleasant can shape???) Live and learn!!
name: Surely non-alc sparkling rosé
flav profile: wine ... esque? Yeasty. Somewhere between a flat kombucha and a bottle of wine you'd send back.
name: Phony Negroni
flav profile: sweet, mostly. This could be good cut with lots of seltzer and maybe a ton of bitters. But I appreciated the gift so much, Erin, it was literally life-saving. Still, I don't recommend this beverage.