Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Actually, this should be a category, with separate files spanning years, because I have produced many extraordinarily embarrassing events, before and during sobriety. This following I recalled yesterday afternoon. I'll give it a title:

"Prayer and Meditation"

During the years 1991-1995 I drove a passenger van for Transportation Disadvantaged in Naples, Florida. The company was called Community Transportation, or "CT". I kept with me, at all times, in my pocket, a compact digital VOICE recorder, for transcribing notes to myself, since I had so many thoughts during a work day, thoughts which would all but evaporate by the time I got home. Certainly I had no time to stop and write notes to myself.

This story concerns a trip during which my cargo of passengers were developmentally disabled adults. This group of five I knew so well, having transported them to and from work--daily--for four years. The "gang" loved to talk into my tiny voice recorder, and hear their very own words come back at them immediately after. I would perform as a pretend radio interviewer, and one or the other of the passengers would be the interviewee. It was great diversion! We had such a wonderful time of it, joking, laughing, and poking fun at each other.

I was so spiritually overcome with the happenings of the hour ride--the joy and happiness of my passengers, who often thought of themselves as 'less than'--I grabbed my small hand-held tape machine to record the memories of the moment, and said some of (for me) the most descriptive expressions of faith and love. I spoke softly, slowly, and directly to relatives who had long been buried. I spoke to many 'favorite' saints, to Mary, the Mother of God...and to Jesus. I advised each, of my gratitude for the many gifts in my life, especially this gift of sobriety. I asked God to bless my (d.d.) passengers, my wife, my children, my extended family, my dozen fellow drivers, their passengers, and my superiors at work. And I repeatedly praised God, for the peace and serenity He had given me, so that I might help those who still suffered from alcoholism, and whatever related illnesses. And I made a 'so' solemn promise to do better, to change, to seek His will in all matters, and I asked for help to carry out His work.

When finished, I tried to place the digital recorder back into my pocket. It would not fit, because the digital recorder was already IN my pocket--Not a laughing matter NOW! Holy S**T! It had been in my pocket the whole time. I said out real loud, "What the f*** am I holding in my hand?" It was then I realized and lived one of the most embarrassing moments of my life, before or since.

Earlier, I had inadvertently grabbed the two-way radio (company) microphone, and had been broadcasting my most SECRET, deepest, ultra-private thoughts out over the airways! EVERYTHING I'd said had been broadcast to the base office, overheard and recorded by the dispatcher, audited by my boss and all the office staff, and by ALL the drivers and ALL the passengers on ALL the buses that afternoon. Even the mechanics monitored our all-day dispatches, conversations, 10-4's, 10-100's, etc.

At the end of my shift, no one said a word about the incident. Everyone behaved normally toward me, so that I got to thinking, "Well, maybe I had not pressed the transmitting button. Maybe nobody heard a thing of my supposedly secret, yet very verbal, soul-thoughts."

Several days went by, and ya know, I had allowed myself to forget the whole episode. It came back, that same method I used for hiding everything in my old life, by denying it ever happened! Old behavior. Old Steve.

Then, one early morning, as we drivers were doing our pre-trip inspections, and collecting our manifests for the day, one driver--one of the few who had always been friendly towards me--approached and said, "What the hell was that all about, the other day? You were talking on the radio for a *long, long* time, and made no sense whatever. Everybody has been wondering...were you hallucinating? Were you DRUNK?" OMG, I've been sober 19 years, and he's asking ("accusing", of course VBG!) if I was drunk...help me here, God!

So ends the SECOND most embarrassing story of my life...Fifteen years later, I'm still all goose bumps, and blush, when I recall the incident of that afternoon in 1993. Thank God that since, I've made very few errors in judgement disturbing enough to make me think of a drink--in fact it has not happened even ONE TIME....today....YET! (3:08 AM)


Lou said...

Little did they know they were listening to your blong of the future. I hope some of them are reading now.
Y'know I'm full of ramblings..er.. insights, I need one of those recorders!

Banana Girl said...

Thank you for sharing this. Amazing what we do when we are soberly grateful. I am grateful today that I don't have a loud speaker attached to my head that broadcasts my thoughts. Wouldn't that scare em? I know how you felt and I think it simply marvelous that they only thought you might be drunk. Insane asylums are such ugly places. LU J.

Anonymous said...

Bwah ha ha ha ha ha! Let me pick myself up from the floor, where I have been LAUGHING MY ASS OFF!! I'm so sorry, Steve, but that is frickin' HI-LAR-I-OUS! I love it! And you know I'm laughing WITH you, right? Not AT you. That's the kind of story you need to pull out when the room gets too heavy in a meeting. Classic. But it's all good stuff :)

J-Online said...

This freakin cracked me up. I wasn't expecting that!

Shadow said...

jikes, sharing when you aren't intending to... yip, that would do it for me too. thankfully, embarressment isn't fatal.

Syd said...

Maybe it's a good thing that some of them heard your gratitude. It might have made a difference in someone's day or life.

AlkySeltzer said...

Syd, I truly never thought of that--maybe it's why nobody said anything that day or the next (about it). Thank you for that. It "makes it all better".
Steve E.

~Tyra~ said...


Not God said...

That is a great story. Wonderful. I have had a couple of faux pas' in recovery inadvertently sending a recovery email to the wrong person....and so it goes.

Princess Powerless said...

Steve, I'm with Syd. Someone needed to hear your gratitude that day.

And I'm sure you know that there are MUCH WORSE ways to embarrass yourself. Let me know when you have a few days to hear all of mine.

Love ya - PP

Princess Powerless said...

Steve, I'm with Syd. Someone needed to hear your gratitude that day.

And I'm sure you know that there are MUCH WORSE ways to embarrass yourself. Let me know when you have a few days to hear all of mine.

Love ya - PP

pat said...

Ok Steve..............

TraceyBaby said...

Wow, this is really brutal! I'm turning red for you! ;o)