What is a time of joy for many women was my darkest hour.
So, this Christmas we eschewed the normal routine of family, airports and bleeding bank accounts and instead spent the holiday brunching with some friends right here at home. It was very grownup chic.
I mean, at some point you have to start making the place you live your actual HQ -- although I don't think I'll ever stop referring to LA as "home" even though I haven't lived there in almost two decades.
Brunch, of course, means mimosas -- and plenty of them. I was already nursing a hangover from FOUR days before, plus some residual spiked eggnog haziness from Christmas Eve (and add to that a champagne headache that wouldn't quit from the Christmas Eve eve karaoke party we'd crashed Sunday). Basically, I had no business drinking anything but orange juice and yet I kept going back for the grownup kind because it was Christmas! I was being festive!
When I got home, I spent the rest of Jesus' birthday lying down with the lights turned off and wondering when celebrating and alcohol became synonymous. I remember a time when I was more than happy to get a cup of my grandmother's secret Christmas punch, which my mature adult palate has since figured out consisted of Hawaiian punch concentrate made sparkling with a careful balance of Sprite and 7UP. It was delicious.
Alcohol, on the other hand, doesn't taste half as good. But for whatever reason, it's the drink of choice for merry-making.
In my 20s, drinking was pretty much always a good time. Like most kids who had their first taste of anything fermented during Freshman Orientation, I took to drinking like a goldfish to a fishbowl. I totally forgot about the ocean of years I spent without it. It didn't take long for there to be nothing else to do but "go out" Thursday through Sunday -- and going out wasn't going out unless you had a hangover to prove it.
But this isn't a tale of alcoholism. I hate hyperbole comparisons like when people say, "Sprinkles is like crack to me!" Actually, no. Unless you've considered hooking out on the stroll to support your cupcake habit, Sprinkles is definitely not anything like crack. Which is to say alcohol is not an addiction for me; it's just a habit that seems to have overstayed its welcome. A social tick that satisfies an oral fixation when there's nothing to talk about. Why not just go home?
I'm not sure any of us social drinkers analyze why we continue drinking (or occasionally getting drunk). I heard recently that women can healthily have the equivalent of one glass of wine a night and remember thinking, "Just one?" But why not one?
Either life's that bad or it's that awesome you have to toast to it. Or is there an in between? Seriously, I'm asking.