So friends of ours were over.
Somebody stuck their iPhone into my sound system and insisted we listen to jazz.
Not heroin-addled-John-Coltrane-Miles-Davis-jazz, but something that … well. Listening to it, it didn’t sound like pain distilled.
Which is the only reason to listen to jazz, right?
We were drinking red wine.
All of us.
Not because we really like red wine.
I once knew a guy who loved red wine. Really loved it. Loved it the way Miley Cyrus loves attention. Used to write a wine column for a newspaper. Had a wine collection.
He had hundreds of bottles of alcohol in his house in a climate-controlled room … that he didn’t drink.
Nor did he plan to drink.
He saved them.
Because … he never really successfully explained that to me.
To me, an unopened bottle of booze is like an unread poem or a good-looking virgin. I mean, it’s perverse, right?
He once wrote that a wine he had just tasted “boasted notes of vanilla that delicately overlay the thrusting dominance of chocolate baked on an oak plank with hints of leather.”
I am proud to note that I did not read that and immediately hunt him down and punch him in the face … although somebody should have.
I am not really a red wine guy.
I am a tequila guy.
I have an affection for tequila that rivals the fondness I have had for most pets, a couple ex-girlfriends and — depending on how mouthy he is that day — my son.
But nope. No tequila for us.
We were drinking red wine because our personal physicians had unanimously told us it was good for our cholesterol.
And we found ourselves basically sitting around sipping heart medicine.
I have never had a great time on red wine.
I have grown pleasantly sleepy on red wine, like a toddler when the clock strikes 8 p.m.
Now tequila on the other hand …
Tequila is dangerous.
Tequila is flat-out fun.
Tequila has one of those weirdo goth girl haircuts where it’s long on one side and shaved to the skull on the other. Tequila swaggers into your life by kicking open the saloon doors wearing a beat-up leather jacket that looks like somebody had to lay their Harley down on the macadam and slide a hundred yards underneath an exploding semi-truck.
Tequila has prison tattoos with the obscenities misspelled.
On its face.
Tequila is failing marriages, shattered hopes, broken windows, unplanned pregnancies, police mugshots, stripper glitter, skinny dipper, did-I-just-rob-a-7-Eleven great good fun.
I used to drink tequila.
My friends used to drink tequila.
These people are not the kinds of friends I used to have.
Somehow, I have found myself hanging around with people who are middle-aged.
I brought that up with my wife and she said, “We do own mirrors, you know. You might avail yourself of the opportunity to gaze upon your reflection and perhaps an answer will reveal itself to you.”
I thought about doing what she said, but instead I stood there in bafflement wondering how the hell I had come to be joined in holy matrimony with the kind of woman who uses words like “avail” and “gaze’ in casual conversation.
I mean, it’s like living in a Victorian novel. I keep waiting for her break out the odd “Hark!” or “Forsooth!”
Trust me. Last thing I wanted growing up was a woman with a large vocabulary. Seriously.
I know people who say it’s a good idea to marry someone smarter than you because it means you’ll always strive to be your best self in order to keep up.
All it does is leave you feeling like you’re perpetually being left behind … like that dumb kid who had to do Grade 3 four times. (Although it did work out for him when the time came to play Junior Varsity football.)
I used to have friends who would come over and:
a) Argue violently and passionately over politics (or Star Trek … or the politics of Star Trek … anyway it turned out the arguments were loud and passionate and involved a lot of arm waving
b) Compete to see who could do the most tequila shots
c) Occasionally suggest a foursome to my wife who would respectfully decline and then not tell me about the offer for like six years and those people were living in another province now because, let's face it, she's just plain awful.
d) Head out to a bar or wedding or camping or something physical. Kayaking. Dancing. You know?
Now friends were over and … huh.
We were talking about television
We were now people who watched television.
We use to be people who did stuff.
And now we were people who watched other people do stuff on a big-screen tee-vee.
I’m going to wait for them to leave.
And then I’m going to buy a bottle of tequila.
And see what happens.
My wife will probably yell at me.
But that’s OK.
I’ll be sliding under an exploding semi-truck in a cool leather jacket and I won’t hear her.
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