In the continuing spirit of me serving not as a role model or an example, rather as a horrible warning to you all, I should tell you about how I “celebrated” Mothers Day with my friend JM. JM is Miss Mal’s long-time boyfriend. (Is it Mothers/Mother’s/Mothers’? I’m going to go with “Mothers,” as in, “we celebrate mothers” — plural — and not, “this is a day belonging to mothers.”) Miss Mal was in North Carolina with her mother for some kind of family celebration, so JM was left to fend for himself.
And since I am a childless, and JM’s daughter lives with her mother out-of-state, it made perfect sense that we would want to have a cheery Mothers Day brunch together. Right?
After running one of the suckiest four-milers I have run in recent history, I donned a beloved, old sun-dress and a smashing straw cloche and headed out to brunch. I think I looked a bit like a wacky, nouveau Lady Edith, which was perfect for the madness that was about to ensue.
I met JM and we sat at a cafe in the East Eighties, gobbling eggs and guzzling bloody marys, talking about life and love and friendship.
What are your plans for the rest of the day? he asked, as we got the bill.
I have none, I replied.
The next thing I knew, I was sitting on the deck at the Central Park Boathouse, having commandeered some chairs from some other patrons. JM had another bloody, and I had switched to Sauvignon blanc — my summer drink of choice.
There was one summer when I drank rosé, but that was a fad, a phase. It ended one night when Bill and I had doorstepped JM and Miss Mal at their old apartment in the low-Seventies and the River. Bill and I had brought, of all things, donuts with us. We ate Munchkins and took turns djaying YouTube videos till the wee hours, sweating in the summer humidity with an East River breeze intermittently cooling us down.
For some reason, rosé never tasted as good after that night.
I had last been at the Boathouse in 2010, that same Summer of the Donuts. I’d been with a friend who periodically came to town. We’d dined a few tables back from the windows, and talked about Stuff and Things, and then stepped back out into the sucking August heat in Central Park, leaving important questions uncalled.
Central Park was full of questions.
So JM and I sat on the deck, contemplating The Lake.
I know some people who have proposed on those rowboats, I offered, watching couples row.
That seems like hell, he said, What if she says no? Then you’re stuck on a rowboat.
Could you imagine being stuck on a rowboat in the middle of “no”? JM and I looked knowingly at each other — that was what the end of a marriage felt like. But how awful to feel that stuck feeling before the thing had ever begun!
And so we drank.
Care for an afternooncap? JM suggested, as the day began to get smaller.
And then my day of drinking hit me like a ton of bricks.
I admit that I can be a bit of a drag when I’m under the influence. I can go down the rabbithole of doubt; I tend towards the classic sad drunk lately.
I staggered home; laid down on the sofa. At some point in this dreadful fog, I managed to call my mother and attempt to wish her a Happy Mothers Day (emphasis on attempt). In the course of doing so, I had an hour long, (apparently) coherent conversation with her about questionable things that I had been doing with my life for the last year.
I have only a vague recollection of any of this.
While my Impaired Self is a lampshade-on-the head trainwreck, my Caretaker Self is a ninja. I still managed to remind Impaired Self to a) order dinner (of which I had no memory except for the delivery bag I forgot throw away); b) send my mother a preemptive text message to Forget everything I told you; this conversation never happened; c) take pictures of everything I wasn’t able to do and leave my iPhone out with a post-it on it to check the pictures so I’d know what wasn’t done in the morning.
My unconscious is a control freak. You do notwant to be friends with that girl. I do not want to be friends with that girl.
Fast forward a few days, and I sheepishly called my mother. If you hadn’t told me you’d been drinking, I never would’ve known, she said, You’re a very coherent drunk.
Well, at least I’ve got that going for me.
There are a lot of things that make great Mothers Day gifts. I thought I was winning at life because I sent my mother an iPad, and we bought her a digital camera. I guess even remembered to call. However, drunk dialing your mother is not necessarily recommended — not even if your badass ninja unconscious Caretaker Self can keep it together for an hour.
Apparently, the chat was great. The “burn this message” text, probably not so much. The lesson here is that if one’s mother does not query one’s state of sobriety, one should add as little complexity; raise as few additional questions about one’s life as reasonably practicable.