Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Beauty comes in all Forms

There she was – standing at her front door waiting on me. She looked gorgeous and I almost couldn't believe it was the same Rosa I have been hanging out with for the past many months – the same Rosa who was once homeless, smokes cigars, wears men's t-shirts, blue jeans, and old women's boots.

"Dear god girl," I said, astounded, as I got out of the car to open the passenger's side door for her. "You look ravishingly beautiful and fantastic."

"Thanks," Rosa said as she smiled broadly and blushed – eating up the positive attention.

We arrived at the Italian bistro after a short drive and they gave us a small and secluded corner table in the back of the almost empty restaurant. Upon the table was lit a single candle creating a romantic and cozy ambiance of subdued light. Italian arias were playing softly on the sound system. I ordered us an appetizer of fried calamari, fried vegetables, and marinara sauce – and soon, after that, the main courses arrived.

"How are your clams and linguini?" Rosa asked as we sat eating.

"Great," I replied. "You want to try it?"

"I'm not much on seafood," Rosa said, turning up her nose to my clams.

Rosa's chicken parmesan looked and smelled delicious as well. Rosa didn't leave a bite on her plate which pleased me to know she enjoyed it so much. The only mar on the dining experience was the length of time it took our server to bring our check after eating. That is one of my pet peeves about sit down restaurants. I finally got up to catch our server and ask for our check. He brought it out to us shortly afterwards apologizing profusely.

"Thank you," Rosa said as I was driving us home. "Thank you for treating me like a lady. Not too many men have done so in my life."

"You're welcome," I replied, having genuinely had a wonderful evening. "I only wish I could afford to do this more often."

"Next time, I will treat you," Rosa said. "You know – women's lib and all."

I smiled as I reached over to hold my best friend's hand. The evening would prove even more interesting as it progressed after dropping Rosa off at her home, though.

I left Rosa's house and managed to make it to my nightly AA meeting just in time for it to start. I was very pleased to find a young black man in attendance. I have been hoping that if more black people were to come to these meetings then George and Ferret might be tempted to attend as well. Calamity struck though as one of the curmudgeons that is the group's old-timers had to rain on the proverbial parade.

"Hi, I am Carlos and I am an alcoholic and an addict," the young black man said as we went around the room introducing ourselves.

"There are other meetings for addicts," Bob, an old timer, spoke up and said – interrupting the introductions. "This is a closed meeting for alcoholics only."

The young black man looked extremely embarrassed and uncomfortable at first, and then haughtily got up and escaped out the front door of the meeting hall.

"Screw this shit," we all could hear him mumble huffily as he left and slammed the front door.

I grew so angry. These stodgy old-timers are the bane of our local AA group. They are one of the main reasons I have been driving the long drive to a local college town to catch my meetings – meetings filled with young and compassionate people with a finger on the pulse of the modern alcoholic.

"I thought that was terrible, Bob," I said, speaking up, causing the whole room to grow uncomfortable and await Bob's reaction. My hands were shaking I was so nervous for doing that and I surprised myself because my social anxieties would normally cause me to shy away in horror at doing such a thing.

Another lady in the group agreed with me and got up to leave. Old Bob crossed his arms in a defensive posture as he sat and stayed steadfast in his opinions and views. I was tempted to get up in protest and walk out as well.

The meeting ended and I walked out of the meeting hall with a resolve to never visit this certain chapter of AA again. I am going to miss my good friend Wanda, but I just can't take people in genuine need getting thrown to the curbside like that due to some goddamned technicality. There are many more AA meetings in the area with which I can grace my presence. I just hope that one young man didn't go off and get drunk or use because of one stodgy old fart in AA. This is not the first time this has happened with this very same group. I wash my hands of them.


Dave said...

I may be wrong, but, I have a feeling it wasn't the new guy's drug use that caused Bob to say what he did.

zirelda said...

Oh heavens. That happened to me once. My response was to ask why it was a closed meeting and how could they possibly turn away someone in need. Then I got up and left and ended up taking about half the group with me. We had our own group that night and I never did go back there. It's kinda like getting kicked out of church for being a sinner.

I had to laugh later. I can say I've been rejected by the best of them now.

DLL said...

Bravo you were able to speak up :) Up here, there are NO such technicalities. In fact, one friend who is very much involved in AA said that where you are, the meetings are run very stridently such as everyone having to introduce themselves (that's not required here), or the Chair picking people to speak, rather than volunteering. Your "Bob" wouldn't last a second here.


DLL said...

Oh!! And "closed" meetings up here mean no family or friends.


Grad007 said...

I'm with dave.

I'm glad you stood up to that curmudgeon! And in front of everybody too! Hopefully he gets the message that his actions were not acceptable.

Curmudgeon's behaviour showed a great lack of respect towards another human being. Carlos must have felt totally humiliated.

Is treating others with politeness and basic respect unimportant in the twelve steps?

How much more anxious and reticent will any other AA newbies be about publicly admitting their addiction in front of the whole group?

Cheryl said...

I'm impressed you spoke up against Bob, especially knowing the social anxieties you have about speaking in public. You did it, and should feel good about that. I hope there's some consequence for Bob's behaviour.

Rae said...

Andrew ... first, I'm glad that date with Rosa went so well. As a woman who has never been treated very well, I know how wonderful it feels to be treated like a lady.

Second, I am appalled that we still live in a world where people treat one another like this guy did. I don't care when you were born ... you have no right to neglect another person who is in need.

I was at a closed Al-Anon meeting recently and an alcoholic walked in looking for a meeting. He was told he couldn't stay. He might have been told he couldn't stay at the AA meeting too, because he was drunk as Cooter Brown, but ... being the codependent that I am, I felt really bad that he had sought help and couldn't get it there. Luckily there was a Spanish language AA meeting right after ours, and although it meant the group couldn't follow its regular meeting, they still took this guy in and let him be a part of their group.

Jenn said...

Good for you, A! That must of have been hard to do, but you were so right.

C. R. Morris said...

Bob is a jerk. I wish someone would have stopped the young man who left. I'm sure Bob wasn't as offended by his problem differences as he was by his color. :-( I wonder when people will finally wise up.

fatty said...

i am so glad your night with rosa went well!!

it is an unfortunate thing that people are so unaccepting of others. sometimes we forget where we came from.
i am glad you spoke up. more people should.

austere said...

This is tremendous, must have taken a major ton of guts to speak up like that, BRAVO!

b said...

I'm proud of you for speaking up. Heartless people like that old guy cause a lot of misery in this world. I hope Carlos, the black guy, finds a better group.

abbagirl74 said...

Times like these make me especially proud to call you my friend.

justLacey said...

Good job! I can't believe they would actually turn away someone in need and they way he did it made it even worse.
I'm glad you and Rosa had a nice time and hope that didn't ruin the evening.

SimplyTim said...

Good for you!

Trying2BMe said...

You were right on the money. It's pretty piss poor when someone comes for help and gets tossed aside. I'm proud of you for saying something, but sad that the guy felt he had to leave.

Old bastard that said something must have forgotten what it's like to NEED the help.