So I have this event to promote my upcoming novel this weekend at a pole dancing exercise studio (I kid you not) called the S Factor in Encino (come by if you can–seriously. All are welcome). A couple of other really talented 5 Spot authors will be there and it should be fun. Except . . .
I just found out they’re not serving alcohol. It’s an alcohol-free venue. There’ll be plenty of goodies, just nothing that’s been fermented.
That’s not a problem, right? I mean, who needs alcohol to have fun?
I mean that. So why do I suddenly feel so panicky?
No one drank in my family when I was growing up. Putting aside Passover (and I doubt Manishevitz has much more alcohol content than Welch’s grape juice anyway), I could probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of times my parents had so much as a glass of wine and I NEVER saw either of them drink hard liquor. To this day, two of my siblings don’t touch the stuff. The rest of us drink in what you’d call moderation–a glass of wine at dinner, a bottle of beer with spicy food, that kind of thing.
I’m lucky. Addictions don’t run in my family. Just neuroses. But it’s the neuroses that make that single glass of wine dearer and dearer to me the older I get. Like with this event coming up–one little glass of wine and I’d be ready to face the world. Without it, the anxiety builds and I obsess over how I’m not cool enough, I’m not funny enough, I’m not quick enough, I’m not dressed right (well, that one is true and there isn’t enough wine in the world to fix THAT problem).
My friends understand. Most (but not all) of them are exactly like me, looking forward to that one glass of wine at the end of the day to smooth away the sharp edges that a day of fretting about your kids and your career and your house and your marriage carves into your psyche.
So when I had a particularly stressful day this week, one of my closest and bestest friends wrote me a wonderful, loving, soothing e-mail that included (among other advice) the suggestion I “have a glass of wine.” When I wrote back to her the next morning, I complained that I hadn’t been able to have a glass of wine because two of my kids had friends over and I haven’t (YET) sunk to the point of pouring myself a glass of wine in front of a playdate. (Although I did speculate about whether it could be passed off as juice in the right glass . . .)
Nah, I’m not going there. No wine during a playdate. Nor will I ever drink and drive, despite my recent realization that the stress of driving in LA traffic would be totally improved by a stiff drink ahead of time. (An appealing and effective solution–but not a viable one.) And I almost always restrict myself to just one glass because more than one effects my sleep (and sleep is even more decadent and wonderful than alcohol). Plus, if I ever TRIED to pour myself a second glass of wine, the kids would be on me in a second. I’m raising a bunch of self-righteous prigs who only reluctantly allow me even that first glass.
But, oh, that one glass is grand.