Day 102

Roger Sterling (John Slattery) and Don Draper (Jon Hamm) at the bar — again.


Had dinner with the girls tonight. A couple agency friends, women I’ve worked with for years – another art director and a copywriter. These women and I have been through thick and thin at work together, and shared the thick and thin of our home lives with each other over drinks many, many times.

When we worked together, this was a common occurrence – ducking out after work to the plaza across the road for On the Border margaritas, way too many cardboard-tasting chips and salsa, and a few laughs.

Now, we don’t work at the same agency anymore, but we still try to make this happen every few months or so.

Tonight, walking into the restaurant to meet them I realized that the last time we’d met, I was still pounding margaritas. I arrived late, so the two of them were already gabbing away, deep in conversation as I pulled up to the table. They both looked up and did a double-take.

“OMG, what happened to you?!” “You look so good!” “Have you lost weight?” 

And I just plopped down and said, “I quit drinking!” They plied me with questions, not about the quitting which they didn’t blink an eye about surprisingly, but about the weight loss. I didn’t realize how apparent it was, although I knew my skinny jeans had been fitting a bit loosely lately and I’d seen the pounds coming off on the scale. It was deeply satisfying to hear that from my girlfriends though, confirmation that this difference I’m feeling on the inside is reflected on the outside as well.

Conversation drifted onto other topics, and then we placed our drinks order. They both ordered the standard margaritas, and I decided what the heck, and ordered a N/A version. Which tasted like I expected it to – cheap mix, with that sugary sour back-of-the-throat taste I never liked even when there was alcohol mixed in. But then our dinners arrived, and I plowed through a Chimmichanga with sips of virgin margarita in between, and honestly never noticed the difference in taste enjoyment.

There was a moment toward the end of our 2 hr dinner where I realized, this is around the time when I would be getting a buzz on and dominating the conversation, or being too loud, or reacting insensitively, or just plain not 100% present… but instead, there I was – enjoying it just as much if not more, and pleasantly sober to boot. 

I know in the past, I’ve always had 1-2 more drinks at this dinner than the others, so it was nice to be more in control around them than I’d been in the past. I don’t think they judged me but I wasn’t proud of my behavior. Tonight I was.

And leaving the restaurant, it was really satisfying to know that I was driving safe and had nothing to worry about on my 40 min drive home (dotted with speed traps along the way). In the past, I hadn’t realized how much that had weighed on me – leaving there with a buzz on, wondering if I was safe to drive (knowing I probably wasn’t legal to drive honestly) and just hoping against hope that I wouldn’t be pulled over.

Man, the stupid shit we do.