Bloody Mary

“When Mother Won’t Give Me the Olive Out of her Bloody Mary" 

-Sandy J


I am one of the “all”.  I scroll through Instagram to numb my brain.  Mostly when I am bored, waiting for an elevator, waiting for an uncomfortable interaction to pass, waiting for a fraught thought to pass, etc… Y’all know the drill.

As I was scrolling through the land of perfect lives lived to their absolute fullest this morning I came upon a picture of a disturbed child, pressed up against her local-brewery-tee-clad mother’s breast.  The child’s face read: disagreeable.  And the post was titled “when mother won’t give me the olive out of her Bloody Mary”.

My last drink was a Bloody Mary.  Two Bloody Marys rather. 

On July 1, 2012, I sat at a table at a popular Portland brunch spot with my friends and their family as I drank my last two Bloody Marys.  It was one of those Portland eateries you have the privilege of waiting in line 2.5 hours for the favor of consuming their artisanal chicken and waffles or sausage or some shit.  I feel compelled at this juncture to state I am now vegan, this was the OLD me, the last two Bloody Marys me.  They called me family that day.  I loved them.  I love them.  Those guys who called me family and those ethanol containing Bloody Marys, they were my BFFs.     

I landed myself at this brunch spot on this day as a result of two phone calls.  The first one to my declared BFF who had been out with me the previous night along with all the other usual suspects now gathered around the table.  Suspects included: BFF’s husband, sister, brother-in-law, cousin (visiting from Las Vegas who would go on to say how grateful he is to be heading back to Vegas where it is far less crazy…), BFFs mom and BFFs dad.  The latter two not being present for the dramedy of the preceding evening.

Phone call # 1

BFF: Hello?

Me: (seeking comfort, but don’t know how to say ‘I’m scared, help me) Hey.

BFF: what’s up?

Me: nothing.  What happened last night? (still desperately seeking comfort, safety, love)

BFF: we got kicked out of Doug Fir.  Do you remember that?

Me: No.  We WENT to Doug Fir last night?

BFF: yeah

Me: okay. 

Phone call # 2

BFF: hello?

Me: (terrified.  What the fuck? We got kicked out of a bar I didn’t even know we were at?!? Once I get my keys, where’s my car?!?! How could I let this happen again…)

Hi.  Can I get my car keys?

BFF: yeah, we’re heading to busy Portland brunch spot.  Meet us there, will bring your keys.

Me: okay.

We gather around the table, as previously described.  Me, my ‘family’ and my Bloody Mary.  We toast.  To what, I don’t know.  None of us are actually slaying at life right now.  Are we saying “cheers” to the fact that we survived another over-indulged night out?  Are we toasting to our communal intemperance? Our hands are trembling as we salute our excess.  We laugh at our trembling hands as we detox together.  Again.

But.  I noticed.  Briefly, a window opened, a different light than I am accustomed to shone through the window onto our quaking hands.  “This isn’t funny”, I thought.  “Alcoholic”, I thought.   I think I even said something… But I cannot recall.  Its fuzzy.

Two Bloody Marys later, I was out of there, keys in hand, off to search for my car.

Two Bloody Marys.  Alongside a 40 ounce of Old English malt liquor sipped in a park at the age of 15, bookend my drinking career.  Done that day.   It doesn’t feel so far away today.  It only took a social media post of BFF and her daughter to remind me of that day and those Bloody Marys.