We recently met a few friends out for dinner. We see them once, twice a year. It was a really nice restaurant so I figured it would be a mellow night. I decided going into it that my response to the question “Why aren’t you drinking” (if it came up) would be “I don’t drink anymore.” And when the follow up question “Why not?” would come I’d say “I felt like it just didn’t fit in my life anymore. I do a lot of hot yoga (hydration needed), the hangovers were getting hard to shake, etc.” So basically just be totally honest.
The dinner started well. Not a whole lot of attention was paid to the sober one. As my diet coke’s/teas kept arriving to match their drinks, little rumblings of how it actually probably works well because there’s always a designated driver on hand started. Then the conversation started shifting into how they would all like to quit for all the same reasons as me, but they felt like they might be bored. So we talked about what I actually do with my time these days. This is where things started to get unstable. You know, that moment in drinky time when things can go really good, really bad, or get really interesting. Folks, it got interesting. Had dinner ended it here it would have been perfect. But a decision was made to hang out at the bar at this very, very nice restaurant.
Let’s start with couple number one: Ted and Lucy. Lucy at this point is wasted. She gets help from Ted over to the bar and orders another drink. She requests a round of applause from the bar for my sobriety. I think one person joined her in a clap. She then decides to start asking people to arm wrestle her because despite her size (she weighs 100lbs. soaking wet) she can kick anyone’s ass. When nobody would wrestle her she started pinching the ass of another friend, Mike, who ran away like a school boy. Before long they were literally running around this very nice, demure bar. Her attempting to pinch his butt and him running yelling “No don’t!”. I thought we’d get kicked out but nope, not yet. When the running stopped she began lifting her shirt to expose her abs (and bra) and extended an open invite to the bar for anyone to hit her in the stomach. She can take it! Mike then lifted her up above his head in a show of strength and twirled her around. Ted whispered in my ear, “I think I’m going to quit drinking tomorrow. Can I kiss you?”.
Couple number two: Mike and Lisa. These two are less eventful but worth mentioning. Lisa wasn’t drinking that night. She never gave a reason. She sat as far away from us as possible and only gave yes or no answers. So much for a sober buddy! Mike drilled me on why I wasn’t drinking. He was enthusiastically curious about it and didn’t argue any points. He mentioned that there were several times when my husband and I were out with them that he was concerned about who was driving home. He also confessed that he had a DUI a few years back and almost lost his license. He had the money to fight the DUI but it scared him into not drinking and driving anymore. I think this explains was why Lisa was sober and cranky.
My husband: He was pretty well lit but well (ish) mannered. When my sobriety came up he supported it with solid enthusiasm.
At this otherwise quiet and elegant bar, we brought a lot of very loud, foul mouth talking. A lot of ribbing about topics like race, gender, religion and politics. A lot of drinks were ordered. Bottles of wine, vodka’s on the rocks, martini’s. I honestly don’t know how anyone was standing. And then I realized, Ted wasn’t standing at all. Ted was asleep. Despite all that another round was ordered and sheer, total shock shot through this group of friends when they were told they were shut off. “What? We haven’t had THAT much to drink!”. Then the insane happened. Another decision was made to go to another bar. “It’s only 9 o’clock!”. Mike had been announcing that since probably 9 o’clock but at this point it was more like 11 o’clock. They insisted on shaming/carrying Ted into this new bar and ordered another round that they didn’t drink. Apparently the ride over and movement helped them realize that they were done for the night.
Lisa and I dropped off Ted and Lucy at their condo. When Ted got out of the car he rolled down a hill off the side of his driveway and into a neighbors front yard. These people are in their late 40’s, early 50’s. You’d think I was talking about kids in their 20’s who just started navigating drinking.
We got home safely. I made myself a hot tea and laughed about the night. I had fun. I honestly had fun. It was entertaining. I was happy to be the DD, and boy was I thankful I wasn’t Lucy. On any other night I would have been Lucy. Hands down. No doubt about it.