Sunday, July 26, 2009

lost weekend

I visited my family two weeks ago as a sort of end of semester, balmy desert evening, margaritas, and feet in the kiddie pool break. And although I drink so rarely and so little that you may as well say I don't at all, I was really hankering for those margaritas.

Everyone in my family drinks a lot, and I think I just wanted to be left in rather than out. Also, my mom used to have this romantic tradition of sundowners in her garden -- started when she lived in Ojai (buddhist mountain paradise) with her last husband, a man addicted to martinis complete with crunchy alcohol-soaked olives. They had a wonderful vegetable garden they worked on for six months a year, so the backyard was lush and smelled of cucumbers. I loved everything about the sundowners except the bitter taste of alcohol. I brought my own iced tea.

But damn it, this time I was going to partake of my sister-in-law's perfect crumbly salt-rimmed frosty margaritas. Which she made every evening I was there. One night she added homemade guacamole and tortilla chips warm from the pan. And that's how I discovered the joys of alcoholism.

Alcohol! Before an hour had gone by, my brother was singing the Margaritaville song to me and before two hours had gone by we had taught it to my mother. I slept like a baby even in 85 degree heat and despite whatever anxiety always accompanies any visit home. It's almost like it's some kind of magic drug that suffuses happiness and beauty into all that you experience. Where's the down side, people?

I am now seriously considering becoming an alcoholic. Thursday night I drank what is probably my fifth beer of my entire life. Or at least drank 6 ounces of an 8 ounce glass. (I also found out that you can brush and floss until 3 am, but that beer scent is still going to take its sweet time to go away.) I'm not giving up! I've been advised to switch to cider if I want to go the long haul, and that is definitely my plan.

Because going for a beer sounds wonderful. People in bars are fantastic. They sing and talk about how my dog is a Diego Velázquez dog and then the boy you're with tries to kiss you...okay, maybe it was just that one bar visit, but still. That's the kind of magical thing that can happen when you're out for a beer.

I realize that becoming an alcoholic is a huge financial drain -- and to be honest, I've never understood how people afford drugs -- but I totally think it's worth the commitment. It's like when I first got my glasses -- the world is different, the colors are brighter, there is nothing more to want than this.

Last night I half stumbled half floated through the Mission on my way home from my friend's birthday party. I usually dread parties (weirdly because I always have fun) and this one was no exception. But there were mojitos and a view of the city and today I found myself counting the days until the next friend of mine has a birthday. Which is in 3 weeks and I already know what I want to order.

I've spent pretty much my whole life fearing alcoholism; now it's time to embrace it. Just the few drinks I've had so far have given me a glimpse of the world in which work problems are left at the office, indiscriminate sex might be had, and family conversations don't leave your head hurting for days. So this is what life is like for other people! They never have to actually get over anything; the alcohol takes care of that for them.

No wonder so many people are way less anal retentive than me.

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