CARES TO THE WIND
It was an average Monday, my standard paperwork day. Wake up, go to the gym, do some gardening and then sit at the computer for about four hours to catch up from the previous week, deposits, bills, mail, return calls and check emails I had put aside. I had a 2:00 meeting with the power house men of the Explore Bristol team, so I had a little less time to finish up the work I had ahead of me. Once the latter part of the afternoon rolls around, my brain starts to turn to jello and I just can’t sit anymore staring at a computer screen and numbers.
I had taken a great workout class in the morning and vowed that there would be no wine drinking for at least the day. This is not an easy task to overcome the weeks leading up to July 4th in a town that celebrates the oldest July 4th celebration in America. It is party central here in Bristol, RI and it is so much fun from June 21st to July 4th. I am sure all my AA friends are rolling their eyes at my perpetual rationalization for nightly wine consumption, but we’ll save this for another essay at a later date.
So the three compadres of Explore Bristol, a small grassroots volunteer tourist organization, gather at the Lobster Pot on the back deck outside on a picture perfect early summer day. We were there to talk about the latest news on an upcoming building project, the past events and all things small town, leaning into the comfort of each other’s company as we have been working together for over eight years. We are friends and colleagues and though we have completely different political views, we have a strong connection and this was a chance to just simply relax and hang out. Shrimp cocktail, oysters and smoked salmon came out in trays as did the crisp white wine. Mmm. Didn’t I just say there would be at least one day before the fourth that would be wine free? Always breaking my own self imposed rules, what the hell, one glass on a hot summer day among friends to celebrate our successes? One glass. Well clearly, Jeff had other plans because then the second glass came out. Ok. No more driving possibilities, I’ll walk home. Our conversation became livelier and it is amazing how quickly two glasses of delicious white wine on a random Monday afternoon with no responsibilities can give the freedom of blowing all cares to the wind. Fuck, as much as I have the perpetual chatter of do I drink or not drink, (block your ears my AA friends here) there is nothing like a couple glasses of wine to ease the burdens of grief albeit short lived. I was fully aware that this jovial feeling that was rapidly taking over my otherwise sad heart from hearing about yet another woman’s breast cancer advancing, and it is bad, would be short lived. Like tomorrow when I would wake up wondering why I had to have the fourth glass, more on that later. I have known this superchick for over twenty eight years; she used to be married to my former brother in law and we both got breast cancer around the same time unbeknownst to each other until after.
So as the three of us enjoyed the third glass of wine, trying to stop the train called Jeff from deliberately trying to get us intoxicated, we released for a few hours the burdens of cancer that two out of three us had been dealing with for the past three years. We laughed, planned, ate, talked over each other, and tried to figure out how we would be getting home. In the case of Mike, he had dinner plans and had to answer to his surprised wife when she called and could clearly hear that something was amiss in the sounds of her otherwise pragmatic and responsible husband’s voice. I had already made the call to my twenty year old son to come and save me by driving me home, bribed with the promise of a dinner at the Pot.. Mike stumbled out to be picked up by his wife as they had dinner plans in Providence with friends. Don’t know how he got out of that one and Jeff and I checked in with him the next day to find out if we were both in the doghouse along with him. We haven’t heard back. Not good. I managed to wolf down fried clams, grapenut pudding with icecream and thankfully a glass of water rather than a fifth glass of wine knowing that the regrets of all of this would be plentiful at three am.
There is something to be said about living in the proverbial moment, a challenge I have been working on. I am finding it easier to do this, leaning into the fun, dancing when no one else is and hooting it up whenever a chance presents itself. Impromptu day drinking is one of those rarities that can’t be planned, but when it shows up, the fun and release of all stresses and worries is really a treasure in the moment. As I realized that I definitely had one too many glasses of wine on a rare Monday, I also realized that life is a blast on so many levels, it blasts by too and I for one vow after this past Monday to have more parties. We need more celebrations, more dancing, and whether you drink or not, definitely more letting go however it presents itself. We need to celebrate life while we have it and not wait till we don’t. Trust me on this one, parties are in my future and likely yours too. And because I am old school, you may have to actually take a walk to your mailbox to find out when, because my inbox is full and I need some fresh air. And as fate would have it, just as I finished up this essay today, a song just came on called, Here’s To Now. Divine.