Tuesday, May 04, 2004
in the basements of churches
Allow me to give you a glimpse into what goes on in a closed AA meeting (closed means that only alcoholics are allowed, open meetings are open to family and friends). Closed is where all the good stuff really happens.

Last night I arrived just as the meeting was starting, much to the annoyance of my friend/sponsee (we usually talk alone for a bit before the meeting). The group was quite large, and was eventually divided up into 3 smaller groups. The group I remained with had a strange cast of characters. Two people had odd little speech impediments, a woman and a man. The man I recognized, as I have seen him around for a few years. He's a cute though slightly eccentric old man; harmless enough in his own nutty way. The woman I was not immediately familiar with, but was mesmerized by the way she spoke; she was like a 15 year old trapped in a 30 year old body. Lots of "omg, can you believe it??" kind of talk, all in that same pitch that is like nails on a chalk board when enough teenage girls get together and talk like that. This coupled with her speech impediment made me have to resist giggling. I tried to keep my eyes on my lap, and not make too much eye contact.

As the meeting progressed we were all taking turns reading from a book. When it came time for me to read I got about a paragraph into it when a large smirk began crawling across my face. Sensing this was largely inappropriate I tried to stifle it, but it only made it worse. Finally, I couldn't read for the giggling and had to pass the book to my friend sitting beside me. I apologized to the group.

Anyway! After that we were going around the circle and everyone was sharing (thoughts on what we read, or whatever they needed to talk about). It rolled around to one of the guys I know fairly well, though he was acting strangely. Quieter than usual. He is a tall chap, with a clean shaven/bald head. He was wearing a black long sleeved turtle neck shirt, black jeans, black cowboy boots and black sunglasses (at 8:30pm in a basement of a church). When he finally spoke he talked about how he had just come from the hospital where his friend is dying. This friend was his best man at his wedding, and has known him for years...and he was dying of complications due to alcoholism (usually liver/kidney failure). This is a serious and sad matter, and a reminder as to why we are all there; alcoholism is a life and death struggle, folks.

So finally I was able to straighten myself from the giggly mood I was in, and listen to this poor man talk about how sad and angry he was. And I was SO good....up until he began to describe his friend. He said his friend was a small man with a big heart. In fact his words were "He is 4'10" with a 10' whore". He meant to say heart, not whore. Well that was it, I had to bury my face in my hands as casually as possible...now was NOT the time to laugh. But come on!?! All I could picture was a 10 foot whore!!! Can you IMAGINE what she would look like!?!? That would be one big ho.
To make matters worse, 30 going on 15 woman stands up and walks over to the guy to shake his hand (wha??) and then give him a hug. Now, I'm sure y'all on the outside see no problem with this, but it's kind of frowned upon in a meeting. Not that we are a bunch of insensitive bastards, but it tends to be very disruptive in the meeting (and it was as she stood in the middle of the circle asking if he was ok) and it has to be kept in mind that there are other people who have to speak yet, and they may have something equally as devastating going on in their lives. Hugs and consolations are saved for afterwards, when the person will generally get more than they can handle. So the meeting went downhill from there as this chick is now standing behind him rubbing his shoulders, pawing his ears and rubbing his head. It was distracting and kinda grody.

All in all, the meeting was a friggin' circus. Doesn't usually bother me, but I have a friend there who needs a serious meeting and needs to be heard too. So afterwards she and I went and had coffee and sat and talked for an hour or so.
And let me tell you a little something...I have a magic ability. If there is an Israeli within 30 feet of me, I WILL find him. Last night as I was talking to my friend, I noticed the two gentlemen at the table next to us were speaking Hebrew. Now I was being a bad friend, coz I had one ear cocked to their conversation and one to my friend. Wrong of me perhaps, but I can't help it. lol. I don't get to hear as much Hebrew as I'd like to.
They got up and went outside for a smoke and came back in at one point, and when they were sitting back down we kinda made eye contact so I smiled and said hi (my friend was wondering what the hell I was up to). Eventually my friend and I concluded our conversation, and when we got up and left I turned to the guys as I was walking away and said "Laila tov" (goodnight). They looked rather surprised and finally managed to say goodnight to me too. I was amused and quite pleased with myself. LOL

the end.