Saturday, March 24, 2012

In Search of...tequila is no joke

I'd like to start off by dedicating this blog to five other people who are as inebriated as I am right now, though in my defense, I am sipping coffee as I type this.

I should probably mention that this is only the third time in my forty-six years that I have been intoxicated, and one time was at a church luncheon because I hadn't eaten anything at all that day and they served wine first, so does that really even count? I'm thinking no.

After a day of marathon shopping, which left me with naught but a beautiful pink lipstick, I came away package-less and in search of the nearest Jenny Craig. This is, perhaps, not the time to go to dinner at a Mexican restaurant with an overly friendly waiter cheerfully offering margaritas. I'm usually the one saying, "No, I'm fine with water." But tonight? I did not so much as hesitate in ordering the drink. Maybe it will take the edge off this feeling that I'm old and fat and in need of a life plan that will not keep waking me up at 4:30 in the morning wondering why I don't own my own damn condo by now.

When the drinks came, the waiter winked at my friend Anthony and told him he put in extra tequila. I, being the novice among us, thought he meant he put the extra only in Anthony's drink. A few sips into my icy cold beverage, I felt the room start to spin and my face get hot. I decided this was the time to make an announcement. "Hey you guys...I'm drunk."

Now I would like to tell you that the more experienced drinkers at the table thought I was joking, but in truth, from where I sat, they all looked a tad drunk, too, from their one beverage. They started laughing at/with me. I said, "I'm not kidding. I don't think I'll be able to stand and walk." Fortunately, our food hadn't arrived yet, so maybe there would be time for it to absorb some of the alcohol.

For some reason, our conversation involved other meals we'd eaten at other restaurants and where else we wanted to eat in the future. It really is all about the food, you know. I'm convinced that if there's a heaven, it involves a banquet of my favorite foods. Yeah, yeah, there's light and love and all that other good stuff, but I'm convinced there will be a pint of Ben & Jerry's at the end of it and no Type II diabetes anywhere to be found.

As I continued sipping my drink, undeterred by the thought that I might literally pass out in my Spanish beans and rice, I wondered how people who really drank actually did it. I mean, we're talking about one drink here and I was three sheets to the wind. Someone said, "Ilene, you're a lightweight," to which I responded, "That's the nicest thing anybody's ever said to me."

As the check arrived and I scrambled to down as much water as I could in the hopes that it would dilute the effects of the cocktail, I mentally struggled to reassess the notion of standing up. The room was still kind of spinning. It was time. We all stood up, got on our jackets, and then came the true test - walking. I almost got mowed down by the busboy balancing the trays of tortilla chips and salsa he was bringing to a table. I swerved to miss him. My friends were laughing hysterically. I maintained my tilted posture as we exited the restaurant, artfully (in my mind, at least) maneuvering the few steps to leave.

As I prepare my bedtime chaser of Advil and a glass of water, I am inclined to agree with my friend Jenn who wisely leaned over during dinner and informed me, "Tequila is no joke."

So let this blog serve as a cautionary tale, boys and girls, that 1) One drink can really be one drink too many or at least all you need, 2) That you should be wary of anyone who is just a little bit too happy to serve you, and 3) that tequila really is no joke.

Sweet dreams and thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

In Search of...a telling sign

I recently thought it a telling sign that Rocky Road has been my favorite ice cream flavor for as long as I can remember. Do I even have to wonder how this shows up in my life? Sure, I could point out the obvious: my music career, but the message was really driven home to me as I tried to open a window that was stuck yesterday afternoon, before the blinds came crashing down during my failed attempt, and before the rod that manipulates the blinds broke off and also fell while the window stubbornly remained closed.

That was the point at which I decided a glass of wine might be in order. Absent the Merlot I craved, I was left with the bottle of Manischewitz in the refrigerator - not was I was hoping for, but hey, beggars can't be choosers. And did I mention the computer virus on my "good" computer? This is truly a wonderful thing for a writer to have. Doesn't slow you down at all.

A lesser person would have just ended it right there for the day, but oh no, not me. After a few moments of tearful hysteria, I commenced the rehanging of the blinds while my father glued the pieces of the rod back together so I could rehang that, too. My window solution? Turn on the air conditioning, even if it is only March. The computer virus? Back up files on a hard drive and bring the dang thing in to be fixed somewhere.

Now, I could tell you that none of this fazed me, or that I was perfectly zen-like as thing after thing has gone wrong over the past few days, but who are we kidding?. The truth is I've been, at times, on complete meltdown, but that is a luxury none of us can really afford, and so, I put into practice the greatest take away I took from what might be lovingly referred to as a hippy-dippy workshop I took part in more than a decade and a half ago. Here's what I learned: You can be on complete meltdown and still function productively at the same time. This is a neat trick and possibly should be taught in elementary school to save us all a heap o' trouble later on in life. You can feel what you feel, but you have to take action in the direction of resolving the situation anyway.

And I'll let you in on my secret weapon in accomplishing this: friends. Call the ones who, though sympathetic, don't indulge helplessness, but rather, aid in finding solutions that can assist you. For instance, one friend found me every place to fix my computer within a 25 mile radius. My brother, God bless him, explained everything I needed to know about viruses and sent me all the malware links that would work. The blinds, well, they took some nifty "I can do this" affirmations while I stood precariously perched on the arm of the couch trying to rehang them. But I'm happy to say they are back up without looking too much the worse for wear.

Life throws all sorts of obstacles in our way. Some are small, like the blinds and computer; some are big, like illness and unemployment. It's not our circumstances that define us. It is how we deal with our circumstances in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

The same thing can be said of our government, our politics, and our policies. It is a telling sign of our character, both individually and collectively, how we handle the most trouble-ridden, poverty-stricken, help-needing people in our society. I am dumbfounded at "people of faith" who "don't want to give handouts." I'm not sure how you reconcile the teachings of Christ with a practice of letting people starve, ail, and die. But maybe that's just me. I subscribe to the trinity of beliefs that go something like this: there but for the grace of God go I, I am my brother's keeper, and we are ultimately judged by how we treat the least among us. If all that doesn't work, I also subscribe to the notion that karma's a bitch. Yes, these are the fundamental ideas I live by.

It is easy to give credibility to the negative. It seems so pervasive today. I'm not sure that I've ever seen a more hostile and selfish time in history. But I also know that there is an equal and opposite reaction to that as well. So if there is greed and hostility, then there is also the flip side; generosity and kindness. We just don't get those stories in the news. We love to build people up and tear them down. We want things to be different, but we don't want to be different.

So I encourage you today, to begin with a deep breath and a desire to be the opposite of the sign of the times. Be the one who lets the other guy who's signaling into your lane. Be the friend helping the friend who's on meltdown, the one who, through tears or no tears, takes action in the direction of fixing what's broken. Self esteem is gained only by doing that which we thought we couldn't, by developing muscles that heretofore have been atrophying.

I'm going to do this, too. Then, maybe Rocky Road won't be a telling sign of life choices, but rather, simply a desire for marshmallows and peanuts with my chocolate. It's the little things in life.

Thanks for stopping by. Please tell your friends. And have a great day!