The Cocktail Defence
Cocktails excuse just about anything, though this defence should be used sparingly and with discretion. Keep in mind “anything” is not synonymous with “everything”, and there is a rock-solid list of things that remain just plain offensive, regardless how high your martini gauge registers. But on that rare occasion when you find yourself grasping for a branch to save you from the quicksand, don’t by shy to reach for “cocktails” and squarely lay blame.
My friend D. is a notorious drunk-texter who suffers a unique form of paralysis. Long after liquor stuns the rest of his body, his thumbs remain mobile and achieve the ability to spell without input from his brain or internal censor. D.’s messages are never dirty nor flirty, and this is his saving grace. Aside from thinking he might be a little “off”, the untrained eye wouldn’t necessarily know his messages are the work of a sodden man.
Similarly, my cousin M. found herself barely mobile yet fully able to sing, her brain no longer her chaperon. She was working as a camp counsellor and instead of yoga, deep-breathing, or massage, chose vodka and Kool-Aid to destress each Friday night. After several pitchers of some sports-bar special, M. slumped in a booth, unable to transport herself to the stage when her one functional part (her ear for music) registered “her” song pumping from the karaoke machine.
It took three friends to carry her up and dump her on a chair, but as legend has it, my cousin nailed that song before taking a header off the stage and being hustled into a taxi. She ralfed the whole way, and it is testament to the driver’s generosity that concern for her safety overpowered his desire to leave M. on a sideroad along with her foul language and endless barf. And so, toilet-cleanser-blue beverages are credited with town taxis refusing to service that camp ever again.
A couple years ago when digital cameras were gaining popularity, S. showed me a video he’d made the night before, wherein he attempted to scale a fence then telephone someone from the top to boast of his achievement, capturing this triumph on his new Canon. Until he discovered the video, his scraped palms and banged-up knees were utterly confusing, and he never figured out who he called. Footage of his fingers punching keys and his scrambling feet sobered S. up for months.
Two Fridays ago, friends and I chased three bottles of dry French red with a round of gimlets. Apparently, my first attempt at disrobing was incomplete, and I woke in the night to remove my jewellery. The next afternoon, a foggy vision (it seems like an exaggeration to call it a “memory”) turned up the missing pearls between some cookbooks, but the earrings have never been seen again.
Ordinarily, I wouldn’t wish for surveillance cameras (good grief, imagine the things they’d capture!), but in the Case of the Missing Earrings, a concrete document of the evening would be handy. As I mentioned in a previous post, Z. and I are about to take part in a TV programme about dinner parties. We’ve asked few questions about its format, figuring we’ll dive in and see what comes of it all. Tomorrow, we meet the tech crew to assess the “lighting and camera needs” of the house where we’re filming, and to be interviewed for the introductory portion of our episode. I suspect I was possessed the morning we decided to apply to be on television! This is the only feasible explanation for why I have decided to poke my social anxieties collectively with a stick. To summarise, I:
1. am shy
2. hate photos
3. hate cameras
4. hate being on the spot and/ or under scrutiny
5. clam up when surrounded by new people
6. hate taking leadership role
7. hate eating in large groups
8. through 100…on and on and on
In preparation, we invited D. to film us while we cooked dinner and “acted natural”, an evening that came together quite nicely. According to Z., I am lovely on film, and after a few minutes of shouting unnaturally and pulling some fakey moves to show just how (un)comfortable we were, we relaxed, forgot all about the cameras and plated a sensational supper. As for the quality of our wine-fueled conversation, I cannot vouch since I’m not sure I’d recover from the experience of actually watching the video.
Last night, while R. and I prepared supper, I gave him the rundown on our progress: Z. is drafting the final menu, I’ve got the shopping list and budget locked down. We have cute names for our signature dishes, and dessert is nearly sussed. We have the confirmed filming schedule, and I’ve picked one of the four outfits I’ll need to throw together. The rest is out of our hands, and all I can do is relax, stretch my arms and legs and remember to breathe deeply (and to breathe all the time).
Last week, we provided a final write-up to our producers, including menu details and a description of how we would like the episode to unfold. They asked whether we have “any secret weapons up our sleeves”, which initially Z. and I poo-pooed. Who needs a secret weapon, we scoffed? We’ll just be ourselves and the show will turn out fine! The closer it gets, the more my confidence erodes, though, and I am grateful for R.’s suggestion, to which I may turn in a pinch:
If all else fails and the dinner party appears to be tanking, get horrifically drunk. It’ll make for excellent reality TV drama, and if I’m lucky, it’ll wipe any memory of the debacle from my memory with a brisk and boozy swipe. I will refrain from sharing his specific pointers, which started with mild stumbling and kicky blather and deteriorated into shit-talking other participants and remarking upon darker aspects of their character.
Stay tuned…and whatever happens, I blame it on the cocktails.