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Apathy Girl and Other Tales

Musings of the Overly Naive Cynic


I wish I could be an alcoholic. While I veil my eyes in smoky shadow, paint my nails deep red, pick out appropriate bohemian attire, I am thinking about a bottle. Usually it is vodka, so very cosmopolitan, sometimes it is a wine as red as my nails and as dry as my eyes. However there are nights when I close my eyes and scream silently and pray to the only God I have ever known to just make my mind stop whispering, to make the world stop spinning. There are nights when images flash and bits of song pelt me, nights when rage takes every breath that I have, and my energy goes towards looking so very put together. Those are the nights when my lips are red too, and the man of the hour is Jose Cuervo. Those are the nights I wish I was an alcoholic. When I am looking at the hard edges of the moon and wishing that after some shots, so many heybabydoyouwannas, oh so many shots, those edges could be just a little fuzzier. I could just feel a little less, but alas, apparently my genes are working against me. Try as I might, I have never been the least bit tipsy.

Believe me, I have tried. I know how to mix a variety of drinks, I know how to pick a good wine, and I know the difference between ale and a lager. I can tell you the exact aftertaste that good tequila should have. Unlike most girls, or most men, I can eat the worm, but I prefer to get to know him first. In my quest for mental numbness I have gained a great deal of knowledge, and as part of the martyr complex I have (or so my father says) I wish to impart some of this great learning with you. This first bit of knowledge you should have is that every liquor, every drink, has a personality, and it will remind you of someone you have met before. To be concise, every swallow is déjà vu.

WINE: Most people know the basics; white with white (fish, chicken, cream pastas) and red with red (beef, pork, marinara pastas). However within each broad category there are many subsets. Red wine, Pinot Noir, happens to be my preference, as does red meat, and if you label archaically, red men. I tell myself that I prefer red wine because of its ability to change. When held up to light it sparkles like so many jewels. It can be at the same time dry, tart, aloof, but also sweet, demure, comforting. Sometimes it even has a punch to it. Red wine is like family. Red wine is my father. Growing up with him was growing up in a simultaneously unassuming and pretentious household. My father was bold, educated, but at the same time he wasn’t afraid to work, sweat and do whatever he possibly could for his family. However sometimes the rage of his own abusive alcoholic father would boil up within him, and my sister and I would have to move fast or be left redder than wine. If you could see my father in the right light, his genius would be obvious. Instead he is being allowed to age, to gather dust in the dark. I like to think that he is waiting for the right time to become great, but the sad reality may be that he spends his life on the shelf so his children can breathe.

BEER: If I hear one more person say they like Bud Light I might scream. Why drink something so cheap, so without substance, when there is so much more out there to be had? Like wine, beer can be white or red, but is generally not referred to in that way. Ales are dark, sweet, made with top fermenting yeast; they have a full body, and a lush taste. A lager, on the other hand, is light, a bit bitter, less filling, and everyone has had one. Budweiser, Miller Light, Coors, they are all lagers. My mother is a lager. I say this not only because at the age of four she thought it was funny that I was sick after a drink of her Miller Light (I couldn’t read, she told me it was Pepsi), but because she carries with her some of the characteristics of this beer. My mother has been married five times, she has four children that she never intended to raise, she took her time to be educated (she is a nurse) but you would never know it for the cheap aluminum can façade she wears. She is the kind of person who is used as a means to an end, not to savor and enjoy.

WHISKEY: Made from malted barley and generally aged at least three years, whiskey is seen as both backwoods and sophisticated. Ranging from the somewhat harsh, yet accessible Jack Daniels, to the sweet and accommodating Southern Comfort, along to the smooth, complex depth of a single-malt Glenlivet, whiskey is as varied as the people who drink it. But no matter the quality, if you don’t watch your intake it will make you regret what you have done. I begrudgingly admit myself to be whiskey, but will claim no single type. Raised in Missouri I have a hint of the south in me, despite four years of public speaking, I still throw out a ‘y’all’ on occasion. After some study in politics and philosophy, I am beginning to gain depth. I like to think that I make myself available to my friends and family members, and maybe too much so at times, I find myself lacking things that I deeply desire, and sometimes giving up my dignity to a vodka martini. However, I guarantee if someone tries to walk over me one to many times, use me one too many times, I will be the equivalent of the worst hangover you have ever had.

TEQUILA: Tequila, called “to-kill-you” by even the toughest of men, is one of the harshest liquors I have had the pleasure of consuming. Usually 51% agave and 49% alcohol, tequila gets the job done, and fast. Residing in the bottom of the lowest qualities of tequila is a worm native to the agave plant. “Eating the worm” is considered the one thing that separates men from the boys. Basically, if you have a vendetta against yourself, then Jose Cuervo or Sr. Patron are your men. Tequila is rage, stupidity, and pain reduced and poured into a shot glass. It is every moment I waited in silence for my dad’s yelling to stop, accepting the fact that no matter what I do, it won’t ever live up to the expectations he has for his younger daughter. Tequila is every single time I have watched my mother destroy her life (and consequentially my younger sister’s, the only one of us who had the misfortune to remain in her custody). The fact that I fell apart because I was betrayed by the person I loved and trusted the most. Needing someone that much. Living inside my head. My father’s genius going to waste. Tequila is every down-hill momentum building moment that is taking me towards a place in life that I don’t want to be.

I wish I could be an alcoholic. All that I know seems a waste when the sweet relief of dulled senses escapes me. I drink to wash down the unsavory parts of my life, but they seem stuck in my parched throat. Cursed liver, it doesn’t seem to absorb anything. So bottle to my lips and bottle down I am wishing that there was a little more classy sipping of vodka and red wine, a little more laughter with the people I love, but instead it is just me: smoky eyes, red lips, the sharp moon and the worm at the bottom of the bottle.

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