Thursday, July 30, 2009

when in doubt, scream it across a restaurant...

I have found that now that I don't drink, and perhaps it's because of the whole torrid rehab thing as opposed to being, you know, pregnant or anything, people with whom I'm dining tend to freak out when the wine list is presented.
"Oh, er, um...we won't be needing this! I'll order by the glass! No, wait! I'll have water! Oh god! I don't know what to do!"
A dear family friend spent the better half of Easter Dinner going around the table pouring wine and pausing dramatically every time he got to me. Afraid to exclude, he'd ask repeatedly, "Wine, Bethy?"
The table would pause in stunned silence, as I would repeat, "No thanks."
I've spent a lot of time worrying that people can't have as much fun or struggle with doing the right thing around me. And as much as I say, "Go ahead!" or "Do a shot for me!" even some of my closest peeps still ask, "I hate to ask, but is it cool if I order a glass of something?"
I guess it makes me feel a little bit like a freak.
Last week, Melissa, Jim and I went to dinner. I haven't seen Jim since we'd boozed it up together at some of San Francisco's finer establishments and I wondered how he'd do with the test of the wine selection.
"Ladies, ladies, dinner is on me. Go nuts!"
The poster-sized wine list was then handed to Jim. "Wine!" He smiled. "Oh, but do we want to start with cocktails? I could go either way. Mel, what are you in the mood for? And you, Bethy..." He paused.
Here we go. This is going to be awkward and weird and this waiter is right here and... A knot formed in my stomach as I shifted in my seat. But then Jim did something no one else has dared do.
"Jesus, Spotswood! How the fuck do we handle you?"
Mel and I burst into hysterics.
"She wants a Diet Coke." Melissa answered.
"A Diet Coke?" Jim raised an eyebrow and looked up at the waiter. "Can you please bring some really fancy sparky water in a really fancy wine glass with the fanciest lime in the world."
And that folks, is how the fuck you handle me...

8 comments:

Be_Devine said...

You know I've never criticized anything you've ever written. But . . .

"I've spent a lot of time worrying that people can't have as much fun or struggle with doing the right thing around me."

That's the silliest thing I've ever read. Anyone who can't have fun around you doesn't deserve your company. End of discussion.

Sam said...

Thanks for posting this Beth - I can relate. I am sorry that Be_Devine doesn't quite understand, though. It is very well documented that the friends of recovering alcoholics or people who choose to stop drinking for other reasons do struggle and have issues with being around each other in social situations where alcohol consumption wouldn't have been a problem previously. For some people, the behavior changes can take some getting used to, it's totally understandable. There just needs to be time for everyone to work thorough it - on both sides of a friendship.
Be_Divine - I hope you never find yourself in this situation, but if you do - please rethink and have a little patience for everyone involved as they get used to the situation. Friendships can be worth it. Thanks

Karyn said...

Paul's best friend is sober since the first time we've known him. Paul is hanging out with him next week while on vacation and was actually scared to have been in the house. I was like "are you KIDDING me? he's not going through our refrigerator!"...

Karyn said...

oops - I meant beer.

Spots said...

@Be_Devine: Some perfectly wonderful people I love and want to hang out with have yet to figure out how to drink around me, unlike you obviously. So, thanks to Jim, my prefered solution is for them to just get up in my face and ask, "How the hell do you want us to handle this?" I'm not saying people can't have fun around me. I'm saying I worry they can't. Because I'm a worrier and think everything's about me. Duh.

@Sam: Be_Devine has found himself in this situation with me since day 1, since he sat in my room at rehab, since he had the first party I attended post rehab, since I practically live at his house, especially when I'm craving a bottle of booze and a night alone more than anything...the guy gets it, I promise you.

@Karyn: I see Paul's sweet concern, but if this guy's been sober for awhile, he's been near a fridge with beer in it before. It's not like I have to invent new routes to drive home that don't pass liquor stores, you know. It's not like crack. Booze is everywhere. If it were me and someone emptied their house because I was coming over, I'd be all panicked that they were dying for a beer and couldn't have one because I was there, ruining it. I crash at my folks house all the time and my God, do they have some lovely, half full bottles of Chardonnay chilling. It's not that big a deal for me anymore...Actually, once it was. I dumped 2 bottles down the drain in a Lifetime-esque move of desperation because they were all I could think about. But the moment passed...as did the wine down the drain...

Be_Devine said...

@Sam - You're right; I didn't articulate what I meant to say very well. What I meant is that anyone who thinks that they can't have fun around Beth because she doesn't drink is crazy. I totally get the uncomfortableness on both sides of the friendship, and didn't mean to minimize that at all.

@Beth - I'd do it again a million times over. Love you!

Melissa said...

@Sam - No one loves Bethy more than Devine. Except maybe me.

Sam said...

OK - cool - we're all cool - even when I'm being uncool xxx thank you all