The more astute readers out there may have noticed that I tend to be, er, a bit depressive. I think one of my friends put it best when he said that every time he read my column he felt it was a "pathetic, mournful cry for help." I responded with a big laugh — because he was right, and because even when I am low, I still seem to find my own misery funny.
But lately I've had to get back on the ol' anti-Ds: Prozac, to be exact. I usually go on the drug for, like, a year and start feeling normal again, at which time I think I can stop taking it. Big mistake. Slowly — ever so slowly — the storm clouds gather, black cats begin to follow me home, and when I reach into the Jujy-fruits box, I only get the licorice ones.
So I'm back to having my serotonin reuptake selectively inhibited, and the world is indeed a better place. I realized this while I was waiting for a friend at the Abbey Tavern on Geary, a vaguely Irish sports bar. Seated next to me were five Irish travelers, all males. They were looking at me and then whispering to each other, not being very sly about it. My post-Prozac reaction to being talked about was very different than my reaction would be without anti-Ds.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
When I first sat down at the Abbey, I realized that besides the bartender, I was the only woman in the place, and all the guys were watching soccer. Then I realized I was being completely ignored by the bartender. I don't think it was intentional; I just think she wasn't very good at her job. She didn't notice me for seven minutes (hey, that's a long time if you're just sitting there). Eventually I waved my arms and got her attention. She came over and took my order, took the Jägermeister orders of the Irish kids, and then proceeded to get them their shots before serving me. I tell you what: The pre-Prozac me would've felt slighted, unloved, and unimportant, but the post-Prozac me got pissed. Progress!
The Irishmen were telling jokes to an American guy sitting next to them. He couldn't understand any of the punch lines, because they were jokes only Irish people got, apparently. They had to translate from Gaelic or something. I wasn't really listening, but at this point they all started looking at me and chuckling. After making a cursory booger check in my compact, I sat back and stared at them so that they knew that I knew that they were indeed a dossier of dickheads.
One of them maybe felt bad and tried to talk to me.
"'Ello," he said.
"Hi," I replied. I then asked if they were from Ireland, even though it was patently obvious from their Angela's Ashes twang. The guy of course said yes, and I said that I had been to Dublin (why was I still talking to these guys? I don't know) and that when I was there someone called me a "septic tank" (why did I tell them that I had been insulted there? I don't know) and it took me years to figure out that "septic tank" was Cockney rhyming slang for "Yank." The American asked me what a Cockney was, as though I were the idiot, not him. A guy like this was gonna need a visual. I pictured my knee in his cock.
While I was talking, some of the Irish guys chuckled, and one held his hand up and made "yap yap yap" gestures to his buds. Funny! I pressed on. I said that the Irish economy sure was doing great, what with all the computer industry stuff they have there now (Jesus, why didn't I shut up?) and they said, "Yeah, no more potato famine for us." And I said, "Well, yeah, if that ever happens again you can always eat your babies," which was of course a Jonathan Swift allusion, which of course was about as foreign to these dolts as a sober man in Belfast would be. See? I was just getting pissed, not down. Progress! Yay, Prozac!
So here's what I have learned about anti-Ds: They make you not care as much about just about everything, and that is a mighty nice thing indeed. I'd rather have dulled reactions to emotions, than sharp jabs with something pointy and hormonal. People can be jerks, but you don't have to react to them and take it in quite so much. Then there is another, even wackier idea: The better you feel, the more people around you start to transform.
I ordered a second beer, and the bartender made a point of apologizing for making me wait earlier. Hmm. Then the Irish guys asked me if I recommended any other bars in the area. The redheaded one complimented my dress. Wha? Then their American buddy came over and started to hit on me. It was as if I had waved a magic wand and enchanted the whole dang place, all because I reacted kinda pissy instead of like a turtle going back into my shell. When you don't really care, it shows, and it's apparently irresistible.
So here's your lesson for the week: Stop giving a shit.
Oh yeah, and my friend never showed up. It was late, so I left. The next day I got a text from her: "Where were you last night? I got so drunk last night ... made out with an Irish manchild. Blah!"