I have, what I would consider, a difficult day. It’s not the kind of day where the mine shaft has collapsed and I’m trying desperately to get the canary out. It’s the kind where maybe I stood on my feet for too many hours, my back is achy, I hate the stupid thing I said to Mrs. So-and-so, and I can’t wait to get home.
In my kitchen there's a bag of arugula, a decent tomato, and a bottle of red wine waiting for me. It's just what I need to signal I'm done with this day. I've put in my hours, solved problems, dealt with the ridiculous mistake that the bank made (which turned out to be mine) – I am finito. I can barely drive the ninety seconds it takes to get home.
As I make my salad - which is seriously a bag, a tomato and bottled dressing, few shreds of cheese if I really take the time - I drink a glass of wine. That first glass tastes so delicious that I pour a second one as I sit down in front of the evening news. What a luxurious life I am living! I have a cozy house, a big screen TV (well, 42 inches is big for me), my favorite salad and a nice glass of wine - probably a Pinot Noir, or red Zinfandel. Anyway, here I sit. The salad is gone, but there's wine left in the bottle. I pour a little more – not enough so I am technically having my third glass, but enough to continue that decadent feeling of reward.
Let me recap (literally):
Glass number one tastes so good that I pour glass number two.
Glass number two lessens my judgement enough that I don’t feel guilty about digging into glass number three.
Glass number three – being such a tiny little glass – means “What the heck, I may as well finish the bottle.”
Does this sound familiar?
The funny thing is, this little scenario is more difficult to write about than my blog on Donald Trump’s similarities to Hitler. It’s personal. It’s real – unlike Trump's skin color or immigration policies. Now I’m not saying that I can’t stop (who would admit to that?). I’m saying I hate to have to take it down a notch. Like a lot of women, I love my wine.
I don’t want to make this all about me (and yet, somehow, I always do). Many women in my age group - let’s say for the sake of numbers and not vanity, 50 and older - have become daily drinkers. I'm not alone, even if I'm drinking alone.
I had managed to live most of my life without wine – really without any alcohol. It gave me a headache. Then in July of 2001, I went to Italy and fell in love.
It all began when I met a handsome Italian man named Pierluigi. He was the owner and curator of Tenuta Torciano Winery in San Gimignano. If you click on the link, you’ll see that Pierluigi is your average looking Italian man – perhaps, not someone a forty-three year-old married American woman might fall for. But, from the moment he handed me that liberally poured, inscribed-to-take-home-as-a-parting-gift glass of Italian-grown, sulfate-free, organic nectar of the Gods, I was hooked. My Italian heritage had finally kicked in.
Anyway, fast-forward 14.5 years later and, like many women who are overly infatuated with their first love, I’m still trying to recreate the feeling of that first taste of perfect wine on my virgin palate.
Now if that doesn’t smack of addiction, what does? So, I guess I’m back to holding a glass of soda water with lime at every event. I’m back to easily losing ten pounds. I’m back to being the designated driver. I’m back to cleaning the kitchen after dinner (you know, throwing away the arugula bag and wiping the tomato seeds off of the counter). I’m back to 2001 – A Wineless Odyssey.
If any of you would like to join me for a nice cup of tea or a fake gin and tonic, please feel free to message me at email@example.com.
This blog is a version of an online column that ran in the Cape Cod Times on Feb 5, 2016, the day I began my first novel. What does that tell you?