I have forgotten how to drink responsibly. Perhaps I still have a lower tolerance for alcohol, or possibly I’m too eager for celebrations, but on Friday morning dear old friend Ran and I were moving slowly. One bottle didn’t seem like enough of an accompaniment for our kids-are-finally-asleep gossipy reunion, but we failed to cork bottle number two at a reasonable time to all sorts of dizzying, stomach-churning morning effects. At this age hangovers are infrequent, but last much longer than those earned from any similarly boozy, late-night chitchats Ran and I might have shared back in college. And instead of sleeping late and recovering with remedial hash browns at the dining hall, we were met with five children who expected to be fed and sun screened and delivered to the seaside for loud, sunshiny fun. Ugh.
In the very best way, I blame Dad. Ever since I left home, returning (always cause for merriment) would inspire at least one late night of conversation catch up with an immoderate amount of wine. After one particularly indulgent reunion, Dad and I enacted a new rule to prevent especially painful mornings after: no uncorking after 3am. Anyone who has spent an evening at my parent’s house knows we Stocktons enjoy our festive gatherings. So it was in this vein that I approached my celebratory reunion with Ran, who I have known and adored for two decades, but haven’t seen in the past six months. It was bliss. How lovely to toast the end of an icky, bald era with a friend who has been so supportive from afar. At one point Ran offered insight so kind, so poignant, so dear that he brought me to cathartic, this-hell-is-over tears. Wish I could remember what he said. (Kidding aside, it was actually about how bees knees awesome Bernie is… and that my swoony sentiments about him were more comforting than puke-worthy.)
Because I felt responsible for Ran’s greenish hue, I sent him back to bed and corralled all of the children so they could make noise elsewhere. Luckily for me, what most kids want for lunch is perfect hangover food. So as I pilfered poolside French fries and fried chicken fingers, I made a Cancer Graduation Resolution. I’m not going to get drunk with ALL of you. There will be a welcome stream of friends and family here at the Cape this summer: lovely people who need to lay eyes on me to see that these silly words I type are true, that I’m OK, that I’m still me. For the sake of my liver, and to curb my more frequent tendency to dissolve into a puddle of grateful tears, these celebratory reunions should occasionally include alternate beverages. Otherwise, I’m going to miss out on more kind, poignant, dear sentiments because I sauvignon blanc’ed.
The obvious remedy (as it would be fun to get good and schnockered with the lot of you) is to have a gigantic party. There are so many reasons why that would be fabulous, but the one I couldn’t have predicted is that it would, in one fell swoop, bring an end to all of the first-time-I’ve-seen-you-since-chemo reunions that I am unable to divorce from excessive champagne flute-clinking. It would appear that all self-control regarding my approach to festive drinking went the way of my hair. But truth be told, these celebrations inevitably include some re-hashing of the Big Cancer Story and possibly it’s a bit easier to do that emboldened (and numbed) by a glass (or five) of fizzy wine.
All of this reminds me of Big Bryan’s Towel Theory. If my biggest problem is having too many opportunities to be the over-celebrating tipsy girl, then perhaps I really have none (other than the Stockton Family aversion to anything in moderation). But in order to avoid queasy mornings, I should really stop approaching every post-Cancer get-together channeling Liz Imbrie (The Philadelphia Story): “Champagne? I’ve never had enough.”
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