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THE MOST BORING PERSON IN THE HUDSON VALLEY

Let me get this straight. You want me to wake up at 5AM without a hangover, pack up a rental car with suitcases responsibly packed a day or more in advance, then drive 3 hours through the beautiful terrain of the Hudson Valley until I reach a cozy bed and breakfast in a house built in the 1870’s? Fine. I can do all that.

I suppose you also want me to stroll lightheartedly through the quaint vacation town, browsing antiques and old bookstores for hours on end, and I also suppose you’d like me to do all of that without spending a moment plotting, scheming, or obsessing over how I can convince the boyfriend that 10AM isn’t at all too early for a celebratory glass of something.

You’d like me to luxuriate luxuriously on cafe terraces while sipping espresso and eating a delicious, flaky pastry filled with tangy, tart lemon curd, chewing slowly, not wanting the mouth orgasm to end, watching the peaceful wanderers wander by in pursuit of the same contented Sunday afternoon.

And finally, you’d like me to end the day with a delectable meal at a lovely restaurant, all without having chugged a tallboy before leaving the house. You’d like me to decline the wine list, only order stupid food, and leave completely satisfied with what was one of the best meals I’ve ever had? Then you’d like me to cuddle up with the boys, watch movies, and drift off to sleep by 10PM, waking up by 6AM the next morning fully rested and hangover free, ready to start another day of peace and tranquility without the constant chaotic chase of that next sip, that next dip into a dive for a whisky/beer combo to propel me forward miserably.

You want me to have a sober vacation, but more importantly, you want me to LIKE IT?

That’s exactly what I did over Memorial Day Weekend.

It was marvelous. 

I took this very same trip in the fall of 2013. It was a disgusting mess. I packed the very morning we left because I was too drunk the night before to get anything productive done. I drove with a pounding headache, not feeling normal until we made it to our destination and were able to grab lunch (a beer with a side of sandwich). I stumbled through the day, counting down the hours until dinner would arrive and heavier drinking could begin. Fuck antiques. Fuck strolling. Fuck serenity. Me want vodka. ME WANT DEATH AND DESTRUCTION.

In 2013, we made stops at liquor stores all weekend long, him sitting in the car while I ran in to buy large bottles of things for us both to drink, as well as mini-bottles he didn’t know about that were just for me. The minis would be stashed in my suitcase so I could stealthily sneak away, downing a few here and there, hoping to keep the levels in the “public” alcohol bottles located in the kitchen from dropping down too quickly, thus concealing the true quantities I was actually consuming. Side note: These empty minis would be found one year later in the same suitcase as I packed for another trip. I would sneak them out of the house to the trash, the shame flooding back as fresh as ever. 

That trip in 2013 was total misery. I was in a constant state of sloppy, painful drunkenness peppered with extended periods of sloppy, painful hangover. The drunks and the hangovers blended seamlessly with one another until I was never able to tell if I was okay or not okay. Nothing was enjoyable.

When we returned home that year I felt as if I had been through hell. I needed another vacation to recover. And drink more.

I DON’T HAVE TO DO THAT EVER AGAIN.

I can live. I can stare at the sky and smile. I can savor time, tastes, smells. I can become consciously aware of sun on my face, of the antiquity and inevitable history built into old objects that I hold in my hand. I can feel the goosebumps running down my spine as my boyfriend grabs my fingers and squeezes while we wander down cobblestone streets, stopping for extended moments to admire the architecture and manicured gardens.

Before I got sober, and even for some time after I put down the drink, this all seemed impossible. During early sobriety I could hardly comprehend watching a movie on Friday night without a cocktail. I’m supposed to SIT? Stare? Watch? That’s IT? You must be out of your goddamned mind.

But I made myself sit there and watch the movie. It sucked. It still sucked the next time I did it, too, but less so. The only way anything started to make sense again was by LIVING. Experiencing. Trying. Being uncomfortable without grabbing for my medicine. When they tell you not to give up before the miracle happens, that actually MEANS something. Actively choosing to endure the discomfort when every cell in your body is screaming for a drink? That makes you stronger. That is lifting weights with your sobriety muscles. It hurts. You’ll be sore the next day. But you’ll never get stronger without it.

If you’re struggling, just know that with some time and effort, you too can be the most boring person in the Hudson Valley. You’ll love it.

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NORMAL DRINKERS IN THEIR NATURAL HABITAT

Oh, how I envy normal drinkers. You know which assholes I’m talking about. They stand at the bars channeling the Dowager Countess of Grantham and savor their drink like it’s made of diamonds and is the last one in the entire world. They look fabulously put together and laugh politely and with such sophistication making sure to never show too much teeth and certainly never lose their balance while doing so. They don’t tell the bartender all about their former boyfriend’s crooked penis and their terrible bout of constipation that just won’t let up no matter how much fiber they eat. They don’t take pictures in photo booths with someone they just met and flash their man boobs as the camera snaps, forever immortalizing their desperate need to stop eating Twinkies and bacon. Also, normal drinkers do really INCREDIBLE and MAGICAL things such as not throwing up on one another’s private parts after heading home to have sex like two slippery sea lions that just got bashed over the head with frying pans. They totally know how to work door handles and locks and never ever have to text their friend to get them out after accidentally getting locked in the bathroom. They don’t need to have strangers at the bar dial their cell phone in order to locate it and they certainly never find said ringing cellphone on the floor in a puddle of honey mustard, dust, and hair. 

Last night I had the opportunity to observe a bevy of majestic normies in their natural habitat and I wanted to scream at them several times but didn’t in fear of spooking them. Some things I wanted to say:

  • CHUG GOD DAMN IT! CHUG THAT FUCKING BEER! CHUG YOU ASSHOLE!
  • Um, excuse me ma’am. Sorry to bother you. Hi, I’m gay. Don’t worry. I’m not hitting on you. But do you know how low the alcohol content is in Bud Light? Might I suggest a lovely Six Point Resin? Or perhaps a gallon of whiskey? Hmm? I’ll pay.
  • Wait. What? He’s leaving? No. NO. He just closed his tab? Oh my God. I can’t believe this is happening right now. He’s putting on his jacket. BUT HE HAS HALF A BEER LEFT!!! HE’S LEAVING HALF A BEER WITHOUT DRINKING IT. SIR! Excuse me! Yes, you sir. I’m talking to you. Finish your beer. I SAID FINISH YOUR BEER!!! KIDS IN CHINA HAVE NO BEER!!!
  • Why is she drinking that water when there is still a nearly full and perfectly delicious cocktail sitting right next to her?
  • Oh my God, that lady at the bar ordered FOOD??? WTF?
  • Sorry to bother you but the bartender who just served your drink went really skimpy with his pour. You might want to start ordering doubles. YOU’RE WELCOME!
  • Hey, girl. How’s it going? You realize there is only three more minutes of Happy Hour, right? HURRRRRRRY THE FUCK UP!!!!!!!!!
  • Oh shit. She ordered the Malbec at 8 dollars a glass. So stupid. She could be at home with two bottles of Yellowtail for that price. 

Normal drinkers! Bless their hearts.