Gut Rumbles
 

December 24, 2005

are you lonesome tonight?

Misery loves company.

I realized that fact while curled in a fetal position on my bathroom floor (see the post below for further details about THAT), where I wallowed in pain and self-pity a couple of nights ago. I wished that I had someone to comfort me and tell me that I was gonna get better. Of course, I didn't really want ANYONE to see me in the shape I was in, but I felt pretty damned lonely anyway.

Man is not meant to be a solitary creature. Not when Man feels desperately ill. And definitely not during Christmas.

A big family Christmas was always important to my father. Knowing how he was raised, I realize that he was making up for something he never had as a boy. He succeeded, too. Some of my fondest memories are those of the wonderful Christmas celebrations I enjoyed with Mama and Daddy over the years. Those truly were magical times.

I intended to continue that tradition when I had a family of my own. I always wanted Christmas to be special, filled with joy and good cheer, with the laughter of my loved ones filling the room when we tore into the loot under the tree. I wanted to make my own magic, the way my father did.

Alas, things just didn't work out the way I planned.

I remember the first time I played and sang in a bar on Christmas Eve. When I went to work that night (at the old "Port Royal" on River Street), I didn't expect much of a crowd. I figured everybody would be celebrating Christmas with family and loved ones instead of hanging out in a saloon. In fact, I thought that the place might close early due to a lack of customers.

I was mistaken. The place wasn't packed, but I had a good-sized audience all night long. The only thing different from a typical evening in the bar was the unusually subdued atmosphere. People were quiet, almost introspective, while they sipped their drinks and listened to my music. I picked up on the feeling in the air and played mostly soft ballads--- none of the rowdy stuff.

As I stepped up on stage for my last set of the evening (at 1:00 in the morning, officially Christmas Day by then), a waitress told me that several people at the bar wanted to hear Christmas carols. I started to say that I didnít DO Christmas carols, but for some reason it suddenly seemed like a good idea to me. Hell, what I didnít know, I could fake.

So, I played Christmas carols for that last set.

People didnít boo, either. THEY SANG ALONG! It was the damnedest thing I ever had seen. From ďSilent NightĒ to ďJingle Bells,Ē the crowd was with me all the way. I even saw some people with tears on their faces. For years afterward, I wondered just what the hell happened that night.

Tonight, however, I know.

The people in that bar had nowhere else to go--- no family waiting for them, no presents to open and nobody to kiss under the mistletoe. (AhÖ look at all the lonely people.) Being in that bar was better than sitting at home alone, with no one to talk to and no one to love. They were there to combat a sad fact: Christmas Eve is the longest night of the year when you spend it by yourself.

Mama and Daddy both are dead now. My daughter is 1000 miles away. I have no idea where my son is--- the BC disappeared with him a week ago and even though Iíve called every night, Iíve not gotten a response to any of the messages I left on her answering machine. I am not surprised. If she had HER way, she's erase me completely from Quinton's life.

Tomorrow, Iíll see my brother and my 94 year-old grandmother. Thatís something to look forward to.

Tonight, however, itís just me.

Comments

I'm with you my brother. Just Damn!

Posted by: Dax Montana on December 24, 2005 09:53 PM

My first Christmas in the U.S. was without family or friends. I ended up watching TV till 3am on Christmas morning, by myself, in my little apartment.

Call me if you want to chat. Phone # via email, on request.

Posted by: Kim du Toit on December 24, 2005 09:53 PM

You are alone............and those of us who are lonely WITH our partners feel just as lonely. Hugs to you.

Posted by: Robin on December 24, 2005 10:01 PM

Well, I hope you have a Merry Christmas anyway, I'll stick a Christmas CD and send some good vibrations to ya.....

Posted by: Spencer on December 24, 2005 10:02 PM

This is the most heartfelt thing you have written since coming back from Statesboro.

Rob, you may be by yourself in the Crackerbox, but you will never be alone as long as people are thinking about you and reading what you write...and this post is a prime example.

Posted by: Elisson on December 24, 2005 10:11 PM

Merry Christmas!

(I can relate...)

Posted by: JimBob on December 24, 2005 10:26 PM

Merry Christmas Acidman.

Posted by: gordon the magnificent on December 24, 2005 10:26 PM

You may be physically alone, but you've got friends all over the country. For shit sure you have one in the Garden State.

Merry Christmas, Rob.

Posted by: Jim - PRS on December 24, 2005 10:33 PM

We're with you in spirit. Just looking at Sadie's picture on the card might almost make you feel better...

Merry Christmas dude.

Posted by: Jay on December 24, 2005 10:41 PM

You'll never be totally alone as long as I'm alive, Love.
Count on that.

Posted by: Stevie on December 24, 2005 10:46 PM

You're nevr alone acidman. Blog, and we'll respond. Dial the phone.

Posted by: og on December 24, 2005 10:46 PM

Merry Christmas!

Posted by: Tessa on December 24, 2005 11:08 PM

I know how you feel exactly. Wish I was there, we could be miserable together, drinking eggnog and swimming in the hot tub. Maybe we can make up for it next week?

Merry Christmas Rob.

Posted by: livey on December 24, 2005 11:26 PM

hey, who'da thunk an online diary would get you in touch with people the world over(or country over) who actualy give a shit whether you live or die?!?

this cracker does! merry fucking christmas from chattanowhere, TN. how 'bout them vols? (sad sad sad) how 'bout them DAWGS? (yeah buddy!)

and there's always lonely new year's eves too. boy howdy, how i hate them sumbitches.

anyway, thanks for putting your thoughts on the web. you might be an inspiring and motivating factor in someone's life and not know it.

Posted by: richard on December 24, 2005 11:41 PM

Continuing the great virtual tour of Christmas wishes:
Merry Christmas from North Carolina.

Posted by: phin on December 24, 2005 11:59 PM

Merry Christmas Rob. You've got friends you've never met in places you've never been.

Personally, I've always admired your honesty and your courage to blog about things that most of us wouldn't. You truly are an inspiration.

Posted by: beaker on December 25, 2005 12:03 AM

Rob,
I spent alot of years in crowded bars on Christmas Eve in Charleston and Columbia South Carolina as well as the last fifteen yrs or so here in the mountains of NC. I'm telling you my man....you nailed it! Lonely sucks. I was blessed to meet my third (and final!) wife five yrs ago and realized how miserable and lonely I had been for a long time. Four yrs ago however, we found that she has terminal, metastatic breast cancer. I awake every single morning now thankful for having her with me but with a sense of abject dread and fear that I will be alone again someday. Your post made me realize just how fortunate I am....at least for now.
God Bless you dude. Take heart that you are an inspiration to a bunch of us out here in the Blogasphere. I've been talking to my wife about going into alcohol rehab because of you. As soon as I can arrange things...I'm going to do it. I used to tell everyone that I couldn't be an alcoholic because I don't have to go to those damned meetings but....I know I NEED to go to those damned meetings. Thanks Rob...I pray you find peace and somehow get to reconnect with Quinton.

Merry Christmas

Posted by: Ron Doble on December 25, 2005 12:09 AM

Merry Christmas, Rob. I'm surrounded by family, and I'm still lonely. A little.

Lonely is Noelly spelled sideways.

Posted by: Bane on December 25, 2005 12:48 AM

You're never alone when you're in the blogosphere.

I can't say "I know exactly how you feel" having never been in that situation.
We love you, all of us who come here, or at least John and I do. I know others share the same sentiment.

Have a Merry and a Happy!!

Posted by: UziQ on December 25, 2005 12:51 AM

If you are feeling up to it just about every AA group on earth has some kind of shindig on Christmas and again on New Years Eve.

Posted by: Peter on December 25, 2005 12:56 AM

Merry Christmas Acidman

Posted by: DavidB on December 25, 2005 01:53 AM

Hey, Rob... My loneliest Christmases were self-inflicted, having moved half a world away from family. But it was still lonely. Lots of people care about you. I know it doesn't make it less lonely, but we *do* care. Make some new traditions for these "special" days. That's what helped me through.

Remember, it's only a special day because someone gave it a label! Take the label away and it's no big deal! Pick another day, give it a label of your own and make it special to you and those you're close to!

Posted by: Karen in Melbourne, Oz on December 25, 2005 01:54 AM

"Tonight, however, itís just me. "
And your readers, which isn't the same as intimate family gatherings, but maybe a little less lonely than sitting at a bar Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas AcidDude.

Posted by: Desert Cat on December 25, 2005 03:37 AM

Merry Christmas from the left coast. I just had a mini intervention done on myself recently when my friends finally got me to go see a Dr. for the first time in 15 years. Sometimes it's easy to feel alone even when surrounded by those who care. Stay strong and take care of yourself.

Posted by: Gahrie on December 25, 2005 03:43 AM

I don't have family either. No brothers or sisters, or anyone. Dad died at Christmas 4 years ago, and my Gran went 2 years to the day after.
I'll be lighting candles for them all today, and I shall light one for you too.
And if I go to a bar, I shall raise a glass for you as well.
Give your Gran a hug from me, btw.
Meryy Christmas, X

Posted by: Misty on December 25, 2005 04:38 AM

Merry Christmas from FL.

Posted by: AmesJay on December 25, 2005 05:23 AM

I always found that the Christmas of present can never compete with the Christmas of the past.

Found you by accident. Merry Christmas.

Michele

Posted by: Michele on December 25, 2005 08:29 AM

I know how you feel, as far as the lonely part goes. I don't have any children, though, but I know that can't be easy. I'd rather not celebrate the holidays at all because it reminds me of all the past years when they haven't been "happy".

Wishing you the best on your first year of sobriety and many more years to come!

Posted by: Steph on December 25, 2005 08:34 AM

There are many of us out here wishing you a Merry Christmas and a really spectacular 2006!

Love and kisses,
Patty

Posted by: Patty on December 25, 2005 10:16 AM

I hear you Rob. This was my loneliest Christmas Eve as well being 800 miles away from my long time circle of friends but I've been alone for a long time. You get used to it.

I watched the Hollywood Christmas parade and then wrapped my presents while watching It's a Wonderful Life - a movie I think is completely overwrought but nonetheless, I love the ending. Cry my eyes out every time when the when the whole town crowds in to save George Bailey. Very cathartic.

In a way you're kind of our George Bailey - your fearlessly sharing your life has a greater impact on people than you think. Thanks and a very merry Christmas to you darlin'.

Posted by: Libby on December 25, 2005 10:46 AM

Merry Christmas. I know the feelings of estrangement as well. A son turned his back on me years ago because I divorced his mother and remarried. Wasn't supposed to be happy I guess.

Take care.

Posted by: Stranger in a Strange Land on December 25, 2005 11:01 AM

Yep, In my early years I spent some Christmas Eves and Christmas days alone and it was depressing. But I have been fortunate to have had sweetthing with me now for the past 42 years. Sometimes she gripes but she is always company.

Posted by: GUYK on December 25, 2005 11:11 AM

Merry Christmas Rob.

Christmas is a tough time of the year for lots of people and for lots of different reasons. Of course family estrangments are right up there with being the cause for the most heartache this time of year.

Everyone (or lots of people anyway) have this sadness when they realize they dont have the Norman Rockwell Christmas that they see on so many Christmas cards....or perhaps Christmases in the past were happier (for them) because afterall, as a kid, most of us didnt have a worry in the world.

As a kid (from a large family) we had the picture perfect Christmas every year, big family dinner on Christmas Eve, grandparents, Christmas Eve church services, Christmas pageants, etc......Now, I have two sisters who dont speak to each other and one of them wont speak to my mother.....and my brother is far away....

I was at my parents house last night, just me, my husband, and my two nearly grown children....

And as I sat in the living room, I thought I could see the faces of the "ghosts of Christmases past"....I could almost see my siblings (as kids) at the NOW empty dining room table, and the fireplace (which always was burning when I was a child) was dark, and my mother no longer puts up a tree.....

I looked around the living and dining room....(we were only there for a short visit, and a glass of wine, etc) and I could so clearly see the faces of my long since deceased grandparents.

They would sit by the fire, admiring the tree, we'd play RECORDS on the stereo (Julie Andrews and Vic Damone singing Christmas carols off the old FIRESTONE label)

And in the German tradition, we'd open our gifts on Christmas Eve....

Now...we cant even get everyone together in one house. (too much bullshit)

Last night I realized how warm and wonderful those Christmases in the 60's were for me and my family....and sadly, even my own kids dont really know what I am talking about when I try to explain how wonderful it all was.....

Anyway.....only a few more days, then we can take down all the decorations and begin the long, hard slog thru January and February (which sucks for an entirely different reason, mainly the shitty weather here in the northeast)

Posted by: Ruth on December 25, 2005 11:43 AM

Merry Christmas, Rob.

Posted by: That 1 Guy on December 25, 2005 01:11 PM

Shit, if think that is bad? Take off those christmas carols and put on some old country and western music, you will want to go outside and kill yourself. Merry Christmas to all, Cat

Posted by: catfish on December 25, 2005 02:03 PM

Thinking of you this Christmas and always.
I have to go to work at the hospital this evening but my vacation will start tomorrow.
I am hoping you will get a call from Quinton before this day is over. If Sam is reading this...Merry Christmas to you too sweet girl. I know your girlfriend's family is probably having a rough time right now and wish you a better and peaceful new year.

Posted by: Cindi on December 25, 2005 02:32 PM

Merry Christmas Rob. I hope despite the silence of being alone, something today lifts your spirits to the maracle that is Christmas. You've got a friend in Charleston, and from the looks of things all over the world as well. I'm a stranger, but I'll come watch the ball drop with you for New Years if you'd like. Just e-mail me, and I'm on the way.

Posted by: Pooter Vanhenski on December 25, 2005 02:46 PM

Merry Christmas, Rob.

Posted by: pril on December 25, 2005 05:14 PM

Merry Christmas, Rob. I'm sure your kids are thinking of you, don't ever doubt that.

Posted by: LL on December 25, 2005 06:09 PM

'Bout 15 years ago I felt the same way. Fuckin' near blew my brains out. Didn't, and now I so fuckin' happy it didn't happen. Lots of shit gone down the pike since then. Lots of heartache and pain. BUT.....
despite it all, I am in a world of happiness now.
You gotta hang in...... things do get better.
Love your Bro and Grandma, and be happy they are still with you. I leaned on my family and felt badly about it at the time. Thank the Diety of your Choice that he/she/it/etc. got me out of it and on to better things.
Strangest thing though, those awful days were the best times I spent with my family. Funny... eh?

Posted by: Ralph Rattfuc on December 25, 2005 06:15 PM

Rob, you are not alone

Have a good Christmas.

Paul

Posted by: Paul on December 25, 2005 06:29 PM

Hey my man, Merry Christmas.

I used to go back to Chicago every year to spend Christmas with Mom, but she has been gone 10 years now. There have only been a couple times I haven't been alone on Christmas Eve since and it frankly doesn't bother me.

I save my pity parties for other things.

Posted by: MM on December 25, 2005 07:00 PM

Been there, done that -- it does suck. If it wasn't that my daughter and new grandbaby came out here to CA for the holidays since daddy is still in Iraq, I'd probably be downtown somewhere serving up Christmas dinner to the homeless. (AA calls that 'getting out of self' and it really helps when you're all alone & feelin' sorry for yourself. In fact, the AA groups around here always do big bang-up christmas & New Year's dinners/dances/marathon meetings .. they can be way cool, although they tend to get a bit overcrowded for me) It's just been that kind of year. Hang tough -- you just have to learn to make holidays your own. And sometimes they're just something to get through. I tend to prefer the hibernation/meditation route myself. Was hanging out with a bunch of drunks last night & I was happy to get home, plug in my tree lights and candles and just be. Your bar story is poignant and, sadly, only all to accurate. Thaat scene is probably being repeated on a yearly basis all over the world. Only how many of those sad, lonely drunks are lucky enough to have someone like you tune up and play carols for them? That was a very nice picture. Merry Christmas to you, A-man, and many more!!

Posted by: Marianne in CA on December 25, 2005 07:50 PM

Merry Christmas Rob from way up north. I'm glad to see you didn't post anything today. Hope you had a great time with your grandmother and your brother. Peace..

Posted by: Lisa on December 25, 2005 08:38 PM

Merry Christmas Rob Darlin'!

Posted by: blondage on December 25, 2005 08:41 PM

Merry Christmas Rob! You may be physically alone but remember all your blogg fans came to visit on X-mas!

Posted by: Steph on December 25, 2005 09:17 PM

Rob,

Merry Christmas.

Posted by: Scalplock1845 on December 25, 2005 09:21 PM

I hope you have /had a great christmas with your grandma and brother. I have been reading about your troubles and I hope the next year is a better one for you. hugs bcats .P.S. I like reading your bolg ever though you don't love cats ! =^..^=

Posted by: bcats on December 25, 2005 09:48 PM

Rob,
I had a wife similar to your ex. She worked her ass off trying to remove me from our son's memory. We divorced when he was 5
and I didn't see much of him for over ten years. I always found ways of letting him know that I was thinking of him and loved him.
He is my best friend today. We talk at least 2 times a day. He is 37 now and and he just makes me proud. My ex's shit just couldn't over come love. Rob just let Quinton know that you love him (whatever it takes to get the message to him, do it!). Time will fix things when he becomes a man and thinks for himself.
Merry Christmas my friend.

Posted by: Dan on December 25, 2005 10:56 PM

I'm with Marianne. Some of my best holidays were spent volunteering. And there have always been Alcathons that I could avail myself of if needed. Being there for someone else just makes me feel darn good.

Oh yeah, your HP is there too.

Posted by: Maggie45 on December 25, 2005 11:41 PM

As always, such incredibly outstanding writing, and wishing you the very best in the coming year.

Posted by: Bonita on December 25, 2005 11:57 PM

Merry Christmas, Rob.

I suggest that next year, you 'live-blog' Christmas, then all of us loners can gather around the warm glow of a desktop monitor and sing Jingle Bells together.

Posted by: jmflynny on December 26, 2005 12:03 AM

I would suggest that Dean Berry-Real American was the most comforting poster here. That oughta just perk Rob right up. (sarcasm off)

Posted by: Tessa on December 26, 2005 10:15 AM

Just a long distance hug for ya....

Posted by: Susan on December 26, 2005 11:54 AM

Okay, Lovey... NOW I'm "lonesome".
Where are you?
You okay?
Gonna post again soon?
Or... do ya wanna hafta listen to more lame jokes via the phone?

*grin*

(Dude, I talked to Cat last night... *giddy grin* I canNOT get enough of you guy's voices and accents... besides which, I do love ya, so, I am primed to call... )

Posted by: Stevie on December 26, 2005 04:47 PM

A belated Merry Christmas to you from the depths of Blue State hell (which happens to be a cold, cold place). Look on the bright side - even the spammers (check out that Dean Berry post) haven't forgotten you.

Posted by: Zhang Fei on December 26, 2005 04:53 PM

Rob, been there and done that lonesome stuff on X-mas too many years. Gave myself to God and being alone on that day doesn't bother me anymore.

Posted by: RayH on December 26, 2005 06:50 PM

Belated yet heartfelt wishes for a Merry Christmas! -p-

Posted by: Pam on December 26, 2005 08:36 PM

I like guys in bands. No wonder why you can
express your thoughts so well. You have
rythym when it comes to sound and
can express yourself in words. Anyway,
the band thing is pretty cool. That is very
nobel of you to have spent Christmas eve
night playing in a bar.

Posted by: Acapelita on December 27, 2005 04:03 PM
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