Content-type: text/html Ray Manning

Tuesday, April 24, 2000 7:30 AM

Guess What

After a Kings loss to the Red Wings on Monday night, picking up the auction laptop computer on Tuesday, getting invited to Sweetie's engagement party (and knowing that I'm the woman that he should be marrying), and a call from Angelina (who I gave my telephone number to and said "Call me and we'll go rollerblading"), I drink. Because I have thrown out all of the AA, CA, and NA chips, I have forgotten how to say no when the urge to drink comes on. I eventually pass out on Tuesday night and wake up near midnight. I slowly get up, carefully walk to my bed (I wouldn't want another bruise/injury to go with the wrist, bicep, and calf) and collapse.

On Wednesday, not having an ice hockey game because the new season hasn't started yet, I go for a run and find an NA meeting in downtown Long Beach. There are five first timers (to this meeting anyway) today. It is my turn to speak. "Hi. My name is Ray. I'm an addict". When asked what I'm addicted to, I respond "Everything". The guy on my left is a meth freak, the lady to his left is a rockhead, and the others just stay with the simple "I'm an addict". I get my "One Day Sober" chip and listen to the people talk about prison terms, addictions, higher powers, smoking crack, slamming heroin, and hanging out near MacArthur park. One lady says that she has a ten year bad luck streak - she went to prison in 1978, in 1988, and in 1998. At the mid-meeting break I leave.

Thursday night I don't drink. The NA chip is working! I find that a tire on the truck is down to about 4 psi and I go fill it up and buy some "Fix-A-Flat" just in case. (The flat on the truck matches the flat last Sunday on the bicycle - adding a certain parity and symmetry to my life.) And I work on Astrolink loads spreadsheets. What a mess! Nopester gets into a big fight with the 140 pound Rottweiler down the street (with a head the size of a basketball) as I'm mowing the lawn. It ends with both dogs having each other's ears clamped in each other's teeth. And it takes a while to get them separated. I tell the owner of the Rottweiler "It's lucky that we separated them because Nopester was just starting to get the 'Go for the throat' look in his eye."

Friday I arrive at work at 6:30am and work continuously until it is time to leave to see the chiropractor. (He's still working on the left bicep with ultrasound. He looks at the black and blue mark on my calf from the ice hockey puck impact from 2.5 weeks ago and suggests that I see a doctor about it.) I go home, mow the lawn, go for a run, download more Astrolink data from TRW's recently tempermental, yet cosmopolitan, server meo, and get ready to go to the Frat House. ChiChi isn't there, but a reasonable crowd assembles throughout the night. I talk on the side with Sabrina, the HVAC. She invites me to a monthly performance at the Orange County center. She asks about my boyfriend but I steer the conversation towards her two month visit to Vietnam. When she realizes that I have no friend, she asks "What about me?"

And after thinking about it, I respond with "I like you, but you're in another league". (Not that I know what league that she is in or even what league I am in - probably leagues on completely different planets.) It takes four or five other people to get a good translation of the colloquial "in another league" to Vietnamese. I eventually arrive home at 1:30am

The alarm rings at 5:45am. I sleep until 6:45am and get up to go to TRW. And after finishing the EOS pretest analysis and an analysis of an MGSE ring, I ftp enough Astrolink data so that I can work from home. I go for a good, windy bicycle ride near noon and go then shopping. I stop at the liquor store and inquire if they will give me a bottle of whiskey in exchange for my NA chip. When they respond negatively, I buy the bottle of whiskey anyway and drink. I suddenly wake up near 5pm realizing that I have again passed out. Or was just tired enough that the bottle of whiskey helped me sleep.

I have flashbacks from childhood. It is the first week of school. The teacher is asking what our most significant or exciting event of the past summer was. One little girl responds with "We went river rafting and we hit a rock and my little brother fell out and he almost died". Another responds with "We went to Europe because my Dad was working there and we laughed at people who spoke foreign languages". It is my turn. I respond with "My Mom and Dad and my brother and I somewhere....and". The teacher accepts this answer.

Sunday I go for another good, yet windy, bicycle ride. And work on Astrolink loads spreadsheets and Matlab plots. Quite the Easter activities.