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After using up all my drink tickets from the company holiday party and downing over two full glasses of water in an attempt to sober up, I found myself in the parking lot of the dojo half an hour before class started for the evening. It was like Mecca, like home, like the North to my compass needle--the place where, in my slightly inebriated state, I half-consciously defaulted to. On auto-pilot, I suited up in the Ladies' room, donning my gi and hakama. It was a good thing putting those on and tying the various strings had become second-nature.
Training under the influence turned out to be a better experience than I had thought. Muscles warmed and brain fuzzy, I had the added benefit of being completely limber and relaxed, as well as being able to shut off that often-overanalytical part of me that tried too hard, or automatically censored all that I did. I was past the fear of pain during take-downs and loosened up during all the instances where I was pinned. Walking by to observe, Sensei questioned my training partner whether he was "giving me enough juice." Probably he was giving me plenty, but I was more relaxed than normal.
Something about sweating or aerobic workouts got me to sober up really quickly--more so than times in the past when I had that much to drink. By the time I made it home, I felt completely fine. But a few hours later, I found a reason why attempting to train while drunk was a bad idea: I couldn't find my Ziploc bag that I stored my jewelry in. Two rings, a pair of hoop earrings, and a watch, nowhere to be found in either my gym bag or purse. It finally occured to me that I must have left it on the ledge of the sink in the Ladies' room after changing. Most of the contents in that Ziploc bag weren't expensive, but all of it had been gifts, and so they bore sentimental value. Except for the watch, my boyfriend had given me all those pieces of jewelry. We had walked along the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk when he bought me the heart-shaped ring, and for Valentine's he had bought me the other ring with two linking hearts. And those hoop earrings, my favorite because they didn't have studs and I could snap them on and off easily before and after class--they had been from him, too.
Remorseful and panic-stricken, I made a round of calls, asking Sensei to look for the bag on the ledge of the sink before the early-morning training session began the next day. The dojo shared the grounds with a high school, and I didn't know who else besides dojo members accessed those restrooms. I fought through a nerve-wrecking night, and in the morning when I called him, Sensei said, "Yes, I have your stuff. If you come to training tonight, you can get it back." Seriously, I could hug the man.
Coming to actually train was of course not a requirement, but as evening rolled around, I found myself donning the familiar garbs again. I might as well since I'd be driving to the dojo, I reasoned, and besides, I felt like I should do pennance for my carelessness. Sensei was dangling that jewelry bag at Due North, at Mecca, at home. "If you want it," I could practically hear him saying, "come n get it."
Yes, Sensei, I thought. I am coming. I'll be right there.