First published in Skirt! a very cool little magazine based out of Charleston, SC and available online as well.
Sometimes you need a retreat. A source of comfort. Personally, I find comfort watching kittens wrestle in the grass with bugs, photographing wild horses running through fields with their manes dyed the color of the rainbow, or the feel of a new wild side Snuggie wrapped around my bare shoulders – preferably in zebra print.
Just kidding. I find comfort in booze.
I’m not talking about grabbing a warm gallon jug of cheap tequila and sitting, smoking and eating donuts in a window seat, staring at the rain. That is SO college. (If I were to do that today, obviously I would choose vodka.) I am talking about the comfort that the perfect drink choice affords me for every occasion. In this realm, I am something of a comfort genius.
On those days when restless sleep brings me to a miserable morning filled with a general sense of impending doom, clearly a drink is in order. But you can’t just whip yourself up bourbon on the rocks at 6 a.m. — you might as well email your immediate family the direct line to A&E’s Intervention. For this reason, you have to master the art of the high octane coffee. A purist can just add a shot of their favorite liquor to any steaming mug of java, but a true artist knows that a shot of Grand Mariner mixed with a little blurp of chocolate syrup makes a coffee taste just like a chocolate orange. Top with fat free whip cream to complete the magic. Even if your child asks you for a sip of your special coffee you can feel secure knowing they’ll have nothing more exciting to report back to Grandmom than the fact your coffee tastes like candy.
If your day is rapidly heading to hell in a hand basket in the early afternoon, a martini or a glass of wine is totally socially acceptable with lunch, unless you’re having lunch with Grandmom or at Chuck E. Cheese. For those emergency situations, a nice healthy low-cal energy drink – the contents of which has been heavily diluted with vodka — is always my best bet. For the best effect, I like to actually don running attire, though I haven’t actually jogged since grade school gym. No one would ever ask a woman in tights and a performance fleece why their orange Gatorade seems so unusually pale in color. If people do have the pertinence to ask, tell them they should stop worrying about yourenergy drink and be pay a little more attention to their own thigh-region. That will shut them up. If they persist, simply jog away.
Hopefully, by now you will be feeling better about life. But if you still feel as though the weight of the world is on your shoulders, an afternoon comfort cocktail should be arranged. If you are at home, start cooking dinner a little early, and open up a nice bottle of wine. Do not pour it into a glass. As you are cooking, simply swig directly from the bottle as needed. Should anyone enter the room, they will no doubt assume the wine is there for use during cooking (after all, there is no drinking glass). Keep in mind that if you are making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or tuna subs, the presence of the open wine bottle be more difficult to explain. Stews and meat dishes are recommended.
Pre-dinner, a cocktail is not unusual. If I really want something a little harder, like a Manhattan, I am always careful to sit down and sigh, Ah, I think a cocktail will be very nice right about now, or something to that effect. This makes it clear that you are finally enjoying your first drink after a long, hard work day and I find people will smile warmly and agree that you deserve a break.
To avoid the appearance that your nightly cocktail is a crutch, several times a week declare you are going to enjoy your mocktail instead. Make yourself a lemonade on the rocks in something fun and informal, like a red plastic beer cup or a Dora the Explorer mug. Add vodka when no one is paying attention. Flasks hidden in various spots around the house can help with this if you find it too hard to get near the liquor cabinet without arousing suspicion. Then, while you imbibe, note that having this mocktail is almost as good as the real thing, and how it really fools your body into relaxing without the alcohol. You will not only appear sober, but also clever and creative. I feel comforted just thinking about this now.
Dinner of course opens the door for more wine with the family. The trick here is to be sure that dinner is the sort of meal that calls for a glass of wine. Luckily, I find this covers just about every conceivable dinner other than a bowl of cereal or Subway sandwich, though their Italian BMT pairs nicely with a glass of Chianti.
If you are still in need of comfort after dinner, be sure to leave the open wine bottle from supper preparation on the counter as you clean up or pass in and out of the kitchen. Have another mocktail. If all else fails, just stay up later than everyone else in the house. Then you can curl up in the window seat with a bottle of vodka and a donut in peace. Add a twist of lemon for vitamins. Take a deep cleansing breath.
Hopefully, by tomorrow, you will be fully comforted.