Thursday, August 19, 2010

Whereby Our Heroine Drinks Wine and Contemplates Alcohol in General


Guess what?

It's Thursday.

As in it's-Thursday-which-is-nearly-Friday-which-is-almost-but-not-quite-the-weekend!

And so, in celebration, I am imbibing mid-week and drinking wine.

It's my "nothing-special-not-for-company" wine - it is only Thursday, after all - specifically Barefoot pinot grigio - available at the Super Target on Alameda and Colorado Blvd in the 1.75L bottle for $10.99. It's 2 steps up from Boone's Farm and comes with a synthetic cork so, you know, there's that extra classy factor that makes me feel relatively grown up in my wine choice.

I do have some nice wines in my possession from which to choose1...nearly all Malbecs which, given that I had steak for supper would have been appropriate...but again with the "it's really only Thursday" and I want to celebrate the Thursday-ness of this day but not with a $20 bottle of wine...even if it is meaty and delicious.

Besides, if I open the good stuff, I'll drink the whole thing and, again, it's Thursday which is followed by Friday which is filled with 9 hours of a little something called "work".

So I'm laying off the good stuff...for now.


So I have a great justification for why I'm allowing myself this mid-week tasty grape goodness.

I was totally in Utah last weekend and didn't get to have my usual weekender cocktail lovefest.

I mean, OK yes, I had 2 bloody marys at the airport on Thursday afternoon and then 1 solitary bloody mary at the airport on Sunday but that was less of a lovefest as it was...OBLIGATION to the travel tradition of over-priced airport cocktails.

"Why is that?" one might ask.

Well, mostly it was because I was traveling with a cold, as you might recall. And occasionally I do have some semblance of common sense about me. After all, my cousin, Sarah, did suggest taking me to Pete's Rock N Rye2 - owned by Pete who is a relative of ours because, you know, I'm related to like 2/3 of Evanston - a dive bar to the Wyoming extreme. But I declined in the end. What with the phlegmtasticness which was3 me.

But there was another reason.

And this is going to sound ridiculous, alright?

Back in May, when I was in Utah for adorable nephew, JR's high school graduation, at which my father was present, the old man accused me of being an alcoholic.



Now let me give you a little history of Jane lesson here for a moment.

My maternal grandmother, Lizzy Bee, was an alcoholic. Wait, scratch that. She didn't go to meetings. She was a lush.

She died at the age of 54 from cirrhosis of the liver so yeah, there's that for proof.

Growing up, this was common knowledge in my immediate family. We didn't talk about it much but it hung heavily whenever my mom talked about her family and growing up. We had books on the topic of adult children of alcoholics and, to a child, this seemed like some deep, dark, horrible secret existence...some terrifying childhood that she was always "recovering" from.

We rarely had alcohol in our home when I was growing up. Occasionally, my mom would have a cocktail or my parents would have beer, but it was never a large presence in our house. However, whenever my mom would have a drink, I always used to worry that she was turning into a monster alcoholic like her mother had been.

It wasn't until recently that I had a major moment of clarity regarding these childhood attitudes about alcohol...attitudes which, coincidentally, kept me from drinking myself all throughout the vast majority of my teens and twenties...a moment that came in the midst of a patio wine night after my mom and I had shared 3 bottles of wine and gin and tonics.

My father, grandson of an alcoholic to whom he was rarely exposed anyway, was so so paranoid about my grandmother's alcoholism and whose ability to emotionally manipulate his loved ones is epic, would accuse my mother every time she imbibed of becoming an alcoholic herself.

I remember this actually now...quite clearly.

And I believe his attitude sunk in to the point of creating fear and paranoia regarding alcohol in my own head.

Add to that, a strange incident - minor in its detail - of a dream my mother had when I was in high school...a dream from which she awoke, sat up, and exclaimed to herself, "Jane is my mother reincarnated"...not unlikely if you actually believe in reincarnation given that Lizzy Bee died about a year before I was born...and it's no wonder I had such a crazy attitude toward hooch.

Plus, until I was in my early 30's, I was a complete control freak. But that's a story for another day.

But, on that night, that clarity night on the patio with my mom as we were both swaying, let's face it, drunk, I realized something very important.

If I am an alcoholic?

I don't actually care.

At the worst, I'm a functioning alcoholic.

But I don't actually believe I am addicted to alcohol. Sure. I have addictive tendencies4 but most of us do.

Regardless, I rarely drink during the week and I don't recall a time where it negatively impacted my core relationships...except when I was in my 20's and didn't drink but gave the men in my life - Andy and N8 the Gr8 - such hard times about their own use of alcohol.

So who actually cares if I drink more than I ought to on a given - typically weekend - night?

Apparently, I care.

At least when it comes to my dad thinking I'm an alcoholic because, you know, I controlled myself all weekend long lest he accuse me, once again, of being an evil, monster alcoholic.

And yet, as I sit here tonight, I'm thinking to myself that next time I'm not going to let his attitude control what I want. Because honestly? I really ought not to care..especially not about something I know is way off base and none of his business.

Additionally? I also really think I need to ask my mom to tell me about her mother...and not as it relates to alcohol. Because that "monster" I created in my head as a child who became just a sad, ghost of a woman as I got older, was more than just an alcoholic. She was a nurse, a loving wife and mother, funny, smart, and beautiful. And someone I really would like to know.

My current wine selection which includes a Decero - EXCELLENT Malbec - and a Dutch pre-cursor wine to gin & tonic brought to me by the lovely Diva.

1: And I would totally show you a picture of some of my current selection if my phone would only send the picture I took with it to my actual e-mail account but, alas, there is some weird delay. I expect that picture to arrive any moment though so you should have tasty visuals by the end of this entry. Which it totally JUST came through...twice because I was impatient and sent it through again but, you know, whatever.

2: I was going to link to Pete's Rock N Rye but, in true dive bar fashion, there is no website. C'mon, Pete! Get with the times, my man!

3: And still kinda is.

4: Hello, nicotine and food. How you been?

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