I had an awkward non-drinking moment last weekend. We had another family over for dinner on Saturday, one of those last minute “Let’s get the kids together and order pizza” occasions.
The wife in this family, J, was one of the few people outside my closest circle that I told about The Incident when it happened. This isn’t because I wanted to, though she is a very nice person — it was because her daughter and mine are best friends, and my daughter had talked about it with hers. This was something like, “My mommy got stabbed with a fork and had to go the hospital!”, no mention of drinking, but I figured her daughter might pass it on to J so I sent her an email. I kept it as simple as possible and also said I wasn’t going to drink anymore “for the forseeable future.” She sent me a nice reply, saying she was glad I was okay and that things like his can be a wake-up call before something really bad happens. She at the time wasn’t drinking either, for weight loss, and we had a couple of conversations about it over the next few weeks.
I don’t know if any of you do this, but I have a catalog in my head of all my friends and acquaintances, sorted into different categories: who knows I quit drinking, who doesn’t; and then the shorter list of who knows why I quit drinking, who doesn’t. It helps me to know what to expect on social occasions. Since I had put J in the category of knowing I quit drinking AND why, I wasn’t expecting to deal with the “alcohol offer” and what to say.
Since we were ordering the pizza, J offered to bring dessert, and she did — along with a bottle of wine. My husband has never been a wine drinker — he feels he has a mild allergic reaction to it. Her husband hadn’t arrived yet (he was coming separately). I, of course, am not drinking. So I had an awkward hostess-moment of figuring out whether to open the wine and pour a glass only for her, or not open the wine at all, or what. This awkwardness wasn’t helped by wolfie in my brain saying, c’mon, there’s got to be a way to drink some of that without your husband noticing! Don’t you see it’s WINE! WINE!! You love wine!
It’s always a shock to us humans when we realize that what is BIG and IMPORTANT to us registers as a mere blip in the lives of others, isn’t it? There was no reason for her to remember an incident from my life that happened nearly a year ago, or even if she did remember it, to know that my comment about not drinking “for the forseeable future” was still in effect. Even then, there was no reason for her to have ever noticed that my husband never drinks wine.
Oh, so what did I do? I said thank you. I set the bottle aside and said unless she wanted some now, I’d open it later, when we ate dinner. Then, I delegated all drinks to my husband. 🙂