Content-type: text/html Ray Manning

Monday, May 25, 2000 7:42 AM

Why Not A Wednesday?

I leave work sharply at 4pm PDT and I'm on the Los Angeles River bicycle trail by 4:45pm. Even if the wind is a bit gusty, it is a good bicycle ride. I pretend to be Peter Lutenberger riding the Giro d'Italia bicycle race - riding a mountain top time trial. This whole pretense is quite ludicrous because:
1) I have the frontal area and coefficient of drag of an 18 wheel Mack truck;
2) Peter Lutenberger is a pure climber and probably wouldn't be doing well in a time trial;
3) Peter Lutenberger has dropped off the scene and isn't even riding the Giro d'Italia this year.
But I still get down in an aerodynamic crouch position every once in a while and pretend anyway. (I love pure climbers!)

After a shower and frozen pizza, I drive to the Wednesday 8pm NA meeting in downtown Long Beach. This is the NA meeting with the hardcore junkies. There is a reasonable crowd. I stay through the break and realize a bit late that this is probably a mistake. As everyone is sharing their experiences, the moderator of the meeting eventually starts staring at me. I continue to look down at my shoes and not make eye contact. The silence in the meeting is deafening as I realize that, slowly, everyone has come to stare at me. Eventually I lift my head, make eye contact with the moderator, and feebly answer "Yes" when asked if I want to share with the group. "My name is Ray and I'm an addict".

"Hi Ray!" everyone exclaims.

"This is second Wednesday meeting. And is similar John's. I few years of to...(sniffle as I fight back tears) crystal, cocaine, and heroin. But that long time ago. Like years. I was during all of...(another sniffle) 1999. But drinking again this year and more and more. My emotional life chaos because I cannot girlfriend or a boyfriend for...(tear wipe)...for more than a few months. And I the same emotions and...(long pause)...feelings that I had started slamming heroin the last...(sniffle)...the last time. So I thought that I come to these meetings some learning so that I can get back to...(sniffle)...being sober again. Thanks for listening."

At the conclusion of the meeting, the moderator tells me about the horrors of heroin and admits that she contracted hepatitis C from sharing needles. I respond that I know the danger of it and that's why I'm here.

After the meeting, I drive to the Frat House and get a 7-Up. And settle in for an hour of music prior to the 11pm drag show. Sabrina, the HVAC, appears tonight as a boy! Sabrina, er, Tony and I have a good discussion about work and music and clothes and other things. She, er, he tells me that he knows most of the people that come to the club and that I should be asked to be introduced to someone if there is anybody that I find attractive. The 11pm drag show starts promptly at 11:45pm. After a few acts, I leave. And get to sleep near 1:30am.