Here’s one of my worries: How can I become one of those eccentric old ladies who lives alone with her cats when I’m allergic to cats? Aren’t cats pretty much a mandatory accessory? (Note to self: Get allergy shots next time you have health insurance.)
I can’t seem to do anything right these days; I don’t quite fit in anywhere. Part of it, I suppose, is my long-term estrangement from that great American pastime: recreational shopping. It’s been so long since I had discretionary income, I’ve forgotten what it’s like to buy optional things. And I never got that whole mall thing, anyway. To me, shopping is something you do quickly and then get the hell out. (Unless it’s a bookstore or a music store.)
My friends understand this and most of them are as speedy as I am. I only have one friend I can’t stand to shop with, because she wants to look ateverything. (Oddly enough, she’s now a Republican by marriage.) Not only does she want to look at each and every thing, she also wants to fondle it – and talk to it. “My, aren’t you a gorgeous thing? Do you want to come home with me?”
I only talk that way in bars. And only when I’m drunk.
I remember one night in Dirty Frank’s with my friend P. For once, I wasn’t the one driving, and since I’d just broken up with someone, I was a little bummed. And since I wasn’t driving, I was drinking.
Some artist type was fingering my earrings, telling me how much he liked them. I glanced at the clock on the wall; it was shortly after 10. The next thing I remembered, it was after 2 and P. was gently shepherding me toward the door. The next morning, she called.
“Hey, how’s your back feeling this morning?” she said, solicitous.
My back? “My back is fine.” A pause. “Why do you ask?”
Now, P. is a wholesome daughter of the Midwest; she grew up on a dairy farm and is always very polite. She said sweetly, “Oh, well, when you were rolling around on the top of that booth making out with that guy, I said to myself, ‘Wow, that looks painful! I bet her back will really hurt tomorrow!’ I’m so glad I was wrong.”
What guy? What booth? What making out?
“This is a joke, right?” I said, hoping against hope.
“No, no. Don’t you remember?”
Bits and pieces started coming back to me. “Oh God, that wasn’t a dream?”
This is why I don’t drink anymore, just in case you were wondering. That annoying little thing where entire chunks of your life vanish…
People at Drinking Liberally the other week were all like, oh, I thought you didn’t drink? as I sipped my merlot. Kids, a single glass of wine during a social occasion is not drinking; ten shots of Southern Comfort or tequila over a two-hour span is “drinking.” Seven G&Ts is “drinking.” Polishing off an entire bottle of Amaretto is “drinking.” (My 35th birthday. It was a present, at one wild party at a beach house near the Upper Chesapeake. I ended up drinking the entire thing, getting in a boat and paddling out to an island in the moonlight while one of my friends stood on the shore howling, “Lassie, come home!” But I digress.)
I’m so well behaved now. And my life is so boring. Except for the continuing financial crisis, of course.