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Hammered … and helped

I don’t know where you stand on the subject of “your guides,” or angels, or helpers or, let’s just go big, and say God Him/Her/Itself, but I’ve had an experience or two (or a bazillion) where some form of protection and support sure seemed to play a hand in my experience.

I’ll tell you such a story. I’m reminded of it as I’m here at the beach in Ocean City, Maryland, for a week. It’s a story about a time I was at this same beach in 2014, or maybe it was 2015.

A good friend’s ex-husband with whom she was (mostly) amicable had rented a place at the beach and had invited us “downy oshun” to stay with him for a few days during the week before his buddies joined him for the weekend. I was game. She was game. The three of us had socialized many times before and got along relatively well.

The two of them were–as is relevant to the story–bigger drinkers than I was, and they were both bigger-bodied as well.

Our first night there, we went to a nearby bar along the boardwalk. We’d walked there, natch, and had a drink. They then wanted to move on to another bar they both liked. So we did, and we had a second drink at this second bar. Then we moseyed on to a third bar and had a third drink.

I would find out later (the next day) they actually continued on to several more bars, had several more drinks and were out for several more hours. But that was for their Future Selves to do. My Now Self (then) was, by this time with three substantial drinks in me, feeling drunk.

Some semblance of my brain cells knew I needed to get home as soon as possible before I passed out. I could barely walk, and I knew spinning rooms, slurry speech and sliding into even more intoxication were on the near-term agenda for me.

I don’t know whether it was stupidity, intoxication or intuition that suddenly kicked in, but I stood up from the bar and walked out. I don’t think I even said goodbye. I don’t even know if they saw me when I walked out. I just stood up, walked toward the open frontage of the bar, turned left and started walking. Or stumbling. Or whatever version of ambulation I was managing at the moment.

Now, here’s a little detail that’s important: I didn’t have my phone on me. This event happened in maybe 2015 or so, and while my phone was important to me, the phone I had then had a blah battery, it was a bit older and the phone didn’t charge quickly. The battery was still low when we were getting ready to leave, so I had left it at the condo to charge. Why would I need my phone, right? I mean, I was out with two friends, we were on foot, and we were all headed to the same bars and back to the same place. I was fine, right?

Ah, such innocence. Such naïveté.

If you know this about me, you know it: I don’t have the best sense of direction. I’ve gotten lost going to a friend’s house I’ve been to dozens of times before. I’ve gone north instead of south on major roads near my home where I’ve lived for decades because I forgot which direction was the right one to go in. In the Scary Days of Paper Maps, I was often a mess of tears and crushing frustration, feeling lost and confused when out driving beyond my home-zone area.

And walking? Erg. Even when I worked in D.C., day after day at lunch time when I’d go for a walk, in this grid-based city, I’d be walking south toward K Street when I meant to be walking north toward M. Or maybe it’s the other way around. The stories I could tell of getting lost … oh, they are many.

But somehow in my pretty-darn-drunk state of being, I managed to walk back to the condo where we were staying, even though we’d only arrived a few hours earlier and even though I didn’t really know where it was. I just kinda “got there.” Somehow.

Not that it did me any good, at that moment, to walk back to the condo as I didn’t have a key, and my friends–as I would discover the next day–still had several bars to visit and however-many drinks to consume in the night that lay yet ahead of them.

So, there I was, at the condo. Drunk. Outside. Barely able to stand. So I did what any good drunk person does and found a place to try to sleep it off. I crawled under the outside half staircase leading to the condo’s front door and fell asleep. Or sort of asleep. I was in a state of partial slumber and partial awakeness, with occasional awareness of my situation. Here I was–a fully mature adult woman in her early 50s sleeping under a staircase that abutted a sidewalk on which people, on occasion, walked by. I wanted to care that I should be embarrassed, but such thoughts were too far from my mind at the time. I needed to sleep. To not be awake.

After, perhaps, a good hour or so of this under-the-stairs sleeping, I must have un-drunk-ed myself enough for a slightly cogent thought: I decided to knock on the door of the condo’s next-door neighbors and ask them if they would 1) let me sleep on their couch and 2) tell my friends I was at their place when they came home. I probably tried to explain I was intoxicated, though that was clearly obvious.

They were, if I recall correctly, a couple a little younger than me. They had a kid or two (whom I met in the morning when I went to thank them … again). They were very kind and told me I could sleep on their couch, and, yes, they would tell my friends when they came home I was at their place. I apologized profusely, laid my head down and was woken a couple hours later by my rather-intoxicated-themselves friends.

The number of things that could have gone wrong.

A very, very intoxicated woman.


At night.

No phone.

Not sure where I was staying. (Hadn’t committed the address to memory. Barely knew what the condo looked like.)

Knocking on a stranger’s door.

Falling asleep under some outdoors stairs.

Falling asleep at a stranger’s place.

Holy smokes.

I woke up the next morning so grateful–so incredibly grateful–for all the things that went right the night prior. Whether it was “my guides,” or angels, or helpers or Whatevers, I made it “home” safe in a set of circumstances where a lot of things could have gone quite wrong quite easily and quickly. And they didn’t.


Now, I just realized this story could have someone thinking that I might think someone who did meet with an accident or was assaulted or had whatever combination of not-so-good stuff happen didn’t have “their guides” or whatever supporting them, and I think no such thoughts. We live the lives we live. We can’t control what happens to us, only how we respond. And, also, we never know in the moment the bigger picture of what and why things happen to us. So, I just wanted to get that out of the way. Not-good stuff has happened to me, too. Doesn’t mean “my guides” and angels and protectors or whatever-you-wanna-call-’ems weren’t around.

Everyone–in my understanding and belief system–always has their guides and their Higher Selves around them, with them, supporting them. We all have our own paths of where we need to go and what we need to experience in this life to become who we–and only we–can become.

As my mentor is fond of saying, “There isn’t a single right turn you made where if you had turned left instead wouldn’t have you here, exactly where you are now.”

For whatever combination of reasons and causes, I made the turns I made that night, got “home” safely and eventually lay my head on my bed for the week, and slept.


Cover photo source, a Couple of Cooks.




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