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Thursday, December 11, 2014

WHY I AM IN(TO) THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT(S)

So lately my book club has been taking a bit of a walk on the wild side; no, we did not read “50 Shades of Grey”!!!  At least I didn’t.  But we have taken to, instead of hanging out at my house and drinking and barely discussing the book, going out to drink and really not discussing the book at all.  We are wild women, I’ll tell you what!  So our misadventures have taken us to not one but TWO local roadhouses in the past few months.  Yeah, you read that right.  Keeping in mind we live in New England and what passes here as a roadhouse would be beaten up and left at the side of the road for dead in Texas.  Anyhoo, we did our distant neighbors in the Lone Star state proud this past weekend, because a FIGHT broke out directly behind our table, where we were swilling drinks and like I mentioned, really not discussing our book at all.  I don’t know the gory details, but I can tell you it started with a man and a woman, but then she huffed off and another man stepped in and before I knew it, the two fellows were scuffling on the floor, with butt-crack aplenty in view.  Ah, Christmastime!!!  Is there anything quite like the holiday spirit(s)???

I am a girl who enjoys her wine.  In fact, in addition to my book club, I actually formed a small but formidable organization called “The Wine Club” where we don’t feel the need to go through the hollow gesture of reading a book before we get together to drink.  As there is really a barely perceptible difference between me sober and me drunk (If you are not holding up your end of the conversation, I will always bulldoze right in and hold up both sides, just like a drunk person. I will ask highly personal questions and kind of put you on the spot about answering them, just like a drunk person. I will overshare, just like a...well you get it.) this may lead you to believe that drinking is really an unnecessary part of life for me.  However, I would beg to differ.  Having been blessed, undoubtedly due to my German/Irish/English heritage, with what I believe is called a hollow leg, a glass of wine (or three) makes a fun occasion downright festive.  My natural exuberance for life in general and profanity specifically is heightened and honed to an art under the influence, and needless to say this makes me the life of any party!  At least as far as I am concerned.  Wine is fun!
You know the stereotype, so popular in literature and film, of the sage barfly?  I have worked in enough “gin joints” in my day to know this character is not a myth.  You would be amazed at the wisdom that sometimes comes out of the mouths of the types of people who spend every happy-hour-to-close drinking themselves into a stupor.  To be fair, the wise stuff usually happens relatively early in the evening.  But not always!  There is something about having a drink (or 5) that allows us to let down our guard in a very profound way, and access our intuition most deeply.  Now, ideally, we could all do this sober!  And before anyone gets outraged, I realize that true alcoholism is a disease and not something to take lightly.  But hey, Jesus wept and he also drank.  And he did not exactly discourage others from imbibing either, with his whole water-into-wine trick.  So let’s not get hysterical about it.  You know dark chocolate increases serotonin levels in our brains, which is a very good, healthy, excellent thing.  But no one is advocating overindulgence in it.  So let’s leave it at that.

The holidays are a time when we feel pressure, often for lovely and important reasons, but pressure nevertheless.  We circulate, we reach out, we expose our generosity in a myriad of ways.  This can be invigorating and tiring in the same breath.  And speaking of breathing, with all the hustle and bustle and deadlines and gosh-darned sociability the holidays force upon us, it can be hard to slow down, even to take a breath.  This is where a glass of wine comes in (or your adult beverage of choice).  It is a moment where we slow down, we take stock, we let down our crazy-ass guard for just a little while and appreciate.  And btw, some people can do this with a cup of tea, God bless them!!!  Someday that will be me, because tea is quite delicious.  But for now, I am in(to) the holiday spirit(s).  Without judgment, without rushing on to the next part of my life, I am enjoying the call to relax and breathe. 
Now, back to the bar fight…watching those men roll around on the floor reminded me that it is possible to find joy in absolutely EVERYTHING, even a drunken brawl (no one was injured; it was over before it began, practically.  No worries).  It can be hard to remember, as Charles Dickens so brilliantly wrote in A Christmas Carol, that we are all just “fellow passengers to the grave” and we should always try to open our “shut-up hearts freely” to one another.  Dickens (and I) believe that Christmas is the time of year when this becomes just a little easier for us all.  But some days, the only thing standing between us and a “Bah, humbug” attitude is a glass of wine (or cup of tea, or piece of chocolate).  So let’s enjoy this holiday season.  Let us heed the advice of Dickens’ ghosts and remember, “It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide; and, if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death.”  Go on; let your holiday spirit(s) roam!  We will all be so grateful if you do…in a please drink responsibly kind of way, of course.

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