I tell you what, peeps: God has been all about throwing me a few helpful life lessons this month—and it seems like most of them have to do with wine.
I talked about one on this post on Monday, and writing that little blurb reminded me of something else that happened recently when I got invited to attend a fun little mom field trip.
The trip included a big yellow bus, a shit-ton of alcohol and snacks like cream cheese, ham, and pickle pinwheels packed next to deer sausage into coolers and stuffed under the seats, a tour of all of the local wineries, and a sober driver—who was quite fairly compensated, I must say, if not by the hot(tish), inebriated moms in all different shapes and sizes stumbling up and down the aisle of his bus all day, but by the many times I drunkenly spanked his ass and told him what a hotty he was.
On second thought, that poor man. Perhaps I should find him and pay him extra money. (If that restraining order that I later found out he took out against me has finally worn off. That was kind of an awkward conversation with the hubs.)
I learned a lot of things during that winery bus tour on that gorgeous fall day.
The first thing I learned was that dramatically pulling that month’s book club selection (nobody on the bus was a member of my beloved book club) from your brand new, oversized charcoal gray purse as soon as you settle into your seat and holding it up for everyone around you to see while saying, “I brought my book in case you bitches bore me,” is probably not the best way to make/keep friends.
The two that I knew best rolled their eyes and swore that because of my actions, they were not going to speak to me the rest of the day.
It lasted 10 seconds. I’m just too fun, you guys. And when I pointed that out, they were like, “Dammit, you’re right. You are. You’re lucky.”
About 15 minutes later, after a killer bloody Mary from one of the aforementioned friends, I was too drunk to decipher words on a page, so I couldn’t have read even if I’d been bored enough to try. Which I hadn’t been, because my peeps were a blast.
Anyway, I learned that no matter what I said or did, I would pretty much never be left friendless. This, however, was not because I’m fun, like I had originally thought.
I found out why later in the day.
What happened was, during one of our several stops, my girlfriends and I sidled up to the wine-tasting counter. We were taking turns buying a bottle of wine at each winery, and it was my turn so I got to pick.
I love me a semi-sweet white, so after I’d cleansed my palate with a Goldfish cracker and taken a sip, I was sold on a particular one. “I’ll have that one,” I said, nodding my head at it as I unbuttoned my purse. “How much?”
“Nineteen fifty,” the girl at the counter answered.
It was at that point that my life—or at least a scene from it—flashed before my eyes. I was 19 again, sipping wine with my ex-boyfriend’s sister, who was trying desperately to be a sophisticat. I remember that she was flaring her nostrils and using words like “wafting” and “tannic acids” as she swirled her wine. Finally, I said, “Um. We are drinking Boone’s Farm from Styrofoam cups in the back of your brother’s truck that’s parked in a corn field. Shut the hell up.”
Anyway, I guess I’ve always been a Who are you trying to fool? type of person, and with that comes times when, simply because I am in the habit of being myself and not trying to fool anyone, I gasp involuntarily and say “HOLY SHIT” like I did in response to the price that day at the wine counter.
I mean, not just on my end. Who were they trying to fool? It's not like they were the highest-class winery I'd ever visited and could charge $20 a pop with a straight face. They’d given us Goldfish between sips, for eff's sake, not fcking caviar. And they weren’t even the goddamned flavor-blasted kind.
One of my friends said, “SHAY!” and then proceeded to laugh so hard that she had to wipe tears from her eyes. I’m not sure if I’m just that hilarious or if it was the 4 (5?) glasses of wine she’d consumed prior to the moment making her react like that. In any case, I felt that I should explain myself to the lady behind the counter, who had absolutely no personality and wasn’t even close to cracking a smile.
“It’s just that I’m used to paying, like, $7 for a bottle of wine.” Here, I leaned across the counter and lowered my voice conspiratorially, like we were friends. Which, judging from the way she leaned farther away the closer I got, we totally weren’t. “And honestly—7 bucks is even stretching it a bit,” I finished.
I realized that day, though, that I’m a valuable friend to have. Because in my inability to stop myself from saying and/or doing stupid shit (aka just being me), I make people feel better about themselves.
I once had a friend say to me, “Oh, Shay, you’re the crusty friend. Everyone needs a crusty friend.”
“I’m glad I can fulfill that role for you, dickbag,” I’d responded. But honestly, I was elated. It still ranks as one of my all-time favorite compliments—right up there with my rich friend who said she loved me because I reminded her, in all of the joy I’d gotten over some couch covers I’d scored at Big Lots for $10, to appreciate the simple things in life.
“All we’ve heard about for 2 days is those goddamned couch covers,” she said one morning, smiling over coffee back when we were both stay-at-home moms. “Such a simple thing to make a person so happy…such a simple girl you are…”
We then caught each other’s eyes over our coffee mugs and she didn’t even try to backpedal as we laughed our asses off—so hard that we hurriedly set our mugs onto the table for fear that we’d spill coffee on the babies that were cradled in our arms. We both knew that it had come out sounding like an asshole compliment. But she really did mean it in a kind way, and I loved her for it.
What I’m saying is, trust me, peeps: I’m not in danger of losing any friends, because you want to hang on to a friend like me. I am good to have around when you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom.
In the end, though, I won because one of my friends puked into a bag on the bus.
I have to hand it to her: She was the most talented puker I’d ever seen. I watched in awe as she held the plastic grocery bag under her nose just so and silently retched into it…almost as if she’d done it once or twice in her day after overindulging in the drink.
Or else she’s just a lightweight.
Either way, I think I’ll hold onto her.
Her puking in a bag made me feel a ton better about myself that day—like, hey, I just got yelled at for slapping the driver’s ass for the 108th time, and he threatened to leave me by the side of the road 35 miles from my house if I didn’t cut the shit.
But at least I didn’t hork into a bag.
Trust me, peeps. You want to hold onto a friend like that.