I could feel the electricity in the air when I walked into work. The newsroom, it was abuzz.
Abuzz with the news that a local TV anchor had been busted for DUI.
It might not seem like the kind of story to get a group of journalists hyped up. People are busted for DUIs all the time and most of them don't even make the paper. It's just that this woman is a bit more high profile and this was her second arrest for a similar charge - the first time being an arrest to remember. Skittles, rum cake and a hair appointment were all mentioned in the police report.
The report for the latest indiscretion was still full of juicy gossip - popping open a newly purchased bottle of wine as she went through the pharmacy drive through and resisting arrest - but it didn't feel so amusing. She has a problem - a real problem - and her behavior, strangely, didn't feel so foreign.
I might not have ever battled problems with alcohol but I've had I
had my own unhealthy behaviors and addictions. And most of them involved drive-throughs, just like the inebriated anchor.
I would leave my summer job at the country club and go through the drive through at Skyline Chili, picking up two - maybe even three - cheese coneys and eat them in the five minutes it took me to drive home. I would leave the containers in my car for up to a week, when I'd put them in the trash can as I pulled it to the curb so that my grandma would never know about my late-night eating.
I would eat part of Mark's meal on the way home from a drive-through. While he would willing give me some of his potato wedges, I didn't want him to know I'd eaten any.
Anything that came in a cone or cup with a straw was picked up on the way home or during a trip to the grocery. Even if it's a safe thing - like McDonald's 150-calorie ice cream cone - it was consumed in the car, by myself.
When I would need a bigger size, clothes were purchased and quickly ushered into the house. If my grandma saw them in my room and asked what they were, I'd simply say that I had gathered stuff together for charity.
I would refuse seconds and then rush to the kitchen to "clean up." It's amazing how much food you can put in your mouth when you are trying to put leftovers in plastic containers.
Even this week, I found myself exhibiting some of those behaviors. I had intended to get soup to supplement my lunch. Instead, I found myself in line at Taco Bell. I ate my two soft taco supremes - in the car - and stuffed the wrappers in the center console. And, yes, I didn't want Mark to see them. Partly, because Taco Bell is bad ... and partly because he always rags on me for my car being messy.
So maybe I have grown. I have changed. But I will always remember what I tried to hide and be grateful that I found the courage to change.