My quest to support Judgmental Eyebrows and her conveniently located liquor store continued this Tuesday with my arrival being announced by the strip of bells located on the front door. This sound marks the beginning of my weekly date with myself and ricochets off of every different kind of liquid sin before it is interrupted, always interrupted, by the comment, “My best customer is back.”
I breeze past Eyebrows toward the South African wines, while mumbling something like, “That’s flattering, but let’s not get carried away with all this best customer talk.”
“Okay, Herding Cats.” And, then, after referring to me as my preferred South African Cabernet/Shiraz blend, she’ll let out a malicious little laugh that makes me want to take my business elsewhere, but not enough to actually take my business elsewhere if it means walking an additional three blocks.
“I feel like you just gave me your other one.” She murmurs to herself when I fish my Customer Loyalty Card from my wallet and we both stare at its nine puncture marks. I don’t respond to this and the three second pause gives her just enough time to vomit something else up, “You must host a lot of dinner parties.” What follows on her face is a smile that can’t really be called a smile accompanied by the raising of her extremely opinionated eyebrows.
“Yes.” I lie. Then I give her a smile that isn’t really a smile and say something that may or may not sound sincere. “You’ll have to come sometime.”
And, I do host a lot of dinner parties if one defines a dinner party as unapologetically eating half of a frozen pizza at their kitchen island while making love to a bottle of red wine and perusing a gossip magazine before moving into the living room to sort of dance to some extremely embarrassing music.
And I say, sort of dance, because let’s be honest, Lady in Red isn’t maybe the easiest song in the world to dance to. Alone. Even when I’ve had enough alcohol to think I’m highlighting for the evening as an astronaut, I’m still not comfortable rocking myself back and forth in an upright position, and yet, I am okay with staring into the mirror and accompanying Chris DeBurgh, when he ends the song by whispering, “Lady in Red, I love you.”
This is embarrassing, but it’s not a lie. Even if Judgmental Brows thinks I’m a bit of a loser, I’ve always been a pretty big fan of me and maybe even a bigger fan of a suite of completely humiliating love songs which is why, more often than not, Meatloaf’s I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That) follows Lady in Red. Maybe it even follows it on repeat three or four times until half an hour has passed and my voice is hoarse from screaming out, “As long as the planets are turning, as long as the stars are burning, as long as your dreams are coming true- you! Better! Believe! it!-” Mmm.. mmmm… some unintelligible mumbling follows before the crescendo, “I would do anything for love, but! I! Won’t! Do! That!” Pause. “No! No! I won’t do thaaaaaat!”
When the song ends, I lay there simultaneously blown away by all the bang you get for a buck with that song and trembling in the fetal position, contemplating how and why my voice just got that deep while wondering where the person with all the self-respect has gone. Wondering why that person has been replaced by a person that identifies with a melodramatic middle aged rocker whose chosen stage name describes ground beef, onion salt and ketchup all molded into the shape of a loaf of something that is universally unappealing to small children.
Attempts to make myself feel better fail when I YouTube the video and observe Meatloaf surrounded by a thousand candles, looking at his reflection in a medieval chalice and then staring at his female conquest like she’s a KFC Double Down. That said, 10,504,656 other people have also observed this video and 25,390 people have liked it. Make that 25,391 people after my rogue right hand grasps the computer mouse and betrays me.
Usually my mom calls on Tuesday evenings in the midst of all this horror and wants to know what I’m doing, and, usually, I lie. Sometimes, I go small: “Making lunch for tomorrow”; sometimes, I go big: “Reading Tolstoy”; almost never do I go honest: “Singing really bad rock ballads by myself into the mouth of a three quarters empty wine bottle.
“Tolstoy?” I can hear the surprise and admiration in her voice even as I silently and dramatically lip sync the words, “And some days I pray for silence, and some days I pray for soul, Some days I pray to the god of sex and drugs and rock and roll” into an almost completely empty microphone at this point. “What’s this one about?”
“Mmmm.” I make a that’s an unfortunate question face at myself in the mirror before managing to say, “Russia.” And then, for good measure, I add, “soldiers.”
The combination of Judgmental Brows snarky remarks and my mother’s unwavering faith in my knowledge of the Russian canon results in a slight discomfort with my love of drunkenly flailing around my living room to music by myself on Tuesday evenings and I wonder, is this weird? Did I just lie to my mother because this is hedonism? And, if this is hedonism, is it the lamest form of hedonism known to mankind?
And, so, my dinner party for one starts to wind down as I search YouTube for a less embarrassing finale. Less embarrassing seems to take Chicago’s Hard to Say I’m Sorry off the table while making all 8 minutes and 57 seconds of Guns N’ Roses November Rain extremely appealing. Even if Axel is a fan of wearing a handkerchief around his head and sporting the kind of braids twelve year old girls usually end Mexican vacations with, I’m so into this song. That’s why I’m leaning forward, mouth agape, as Slash jams out in nothing but leather chaps and a top hat somewhere in New Mexico.
Before I even know it, I’m singing along, “Sometimes- I need some time on my own. Sometimes- I need some time all alone.”
And, while I know the sentiment is wildly out of context- that pretty much sums up my Tuesday evenings perfectly.