Sunday, October 19, 2008

Social Healing

Psst…I found it. The cure.

The secret cure for fatigue, jet lag and stress.

Prescription: wine. Dosage: lots.

Chris called it social healing. I called it getting drunk. Either way you look at it sometimes you need to let go and throw back a glass. Or two. Maybe three. At most – four.

Enter Saturday night. Actually start with early Saturday. I woke up with night sweats. This is one of my favorite symptoms of stress. Nothing beats waking up in the middle of the night feeling like you just did 800s on the track. But I knew what it meant. I was fatigued. Tired and spent. Ten days of training in Hawaii, walking talking breathing eating sleeping triathlon and living with the in-laws – color me done.

I took Saturday off. It was time to go back to life like a ‘real’ person. For at least a day. It started as any good day should – getting out of bed at 9:30 am. Then, a shower. Dry hair! Make up! Clothes? Underwear! Next – coffee. The day just got better in a cup. A trip to the dog park. And then, a hike up the Greene Valley hill.

Yes, there are hills around here. About 3 of them. One in Blackwell, one in Mallard Lake, the other at Greene Valley; second highest point in DuPage County at – get this – 980 feet. That’s nearly 1000 feet above sea level. In northeastern Illinois! The hill itself climbs 190 feet over 1 mile. Compared to the places I’ve raced this year, that’s just a bump in the road. But it was a good little hike. Boss climbed the entire way!

When we got to the top, the day was so clear and Illinois is so flat we could actually see the Sears Tower in Chicago. Over 30 miles away. Then we walked down and enjoyed the fall day. Chris was so impressed that little Boss walked the whole 2 miles he said “next time I walk the marathon in Ironman, I’m bringing Boss along!”

Next time?

The evening rolled around. While Chris was at the train show with his dad (yes, I said train show, as in a show where you look at and talk about trains, the ones that go choo choo and yes this was a show for grown men including one token women in a bikini selling some train-related part that had nothing to do with bikinis), I was told to come up with an evening activity. I thought about it, an evening activity, and the only thing I could come up with other than washing the windows, putting away the laundry, cleaning the rugs, washing, painting the stairwell, organizing the basement….well, the only meaningful activity I could come up with was: wine.

I love wine. I have said it to the world. I don't drink it often but I love it nonetheless. But not just any wine – good wine. I am a self-admitted wine snob. I will not drink your table in a cardboard box wine. Oh no. I want it to be authentic with a rare varietal from a faraway region of the mountains of Argentina or the grasslands of New Zealand. I want my wine to have a personality. A smell. A story behind the name.

If I wasn’t living life as me, I would be living a life of wanderlust; traveling around the world sampling wine and local cuisine, walking roads into ancient cities, reading the landscape and writing about it.

But alas I am just me and living in..Lisle, Illinois. As I always say, gee I drew the lucky card. Lucky for me a few miles away from Lisle there is a fabulous wine shop. We headed over there in the evening and stood by the counter. The clerk approached us right away and said we
looked like it was our first time. I gave a polite if-you-only-knew laugh and when clerk placed the wine sheet in front of me it was filled with a lingo I could speak. Intimately. I’m no newbie, ma’am. I’ll raise your Meritage and see you to a Malbec. When it comes to wine fancy, with me it’s game on.

She tells us the way it works – you get a glass, you try the whites, then the reds. She explains why. Oh pleeeeeeease – bore with the basics of how to pedal a bike why don’t you. Pour the wine. Now. Please just stop talking and Pour.The.Wine.

Then she talks price – 6 bucks. Seriously? It’s official – I am the cheapest date. Pay 6 dollars for what comes out to two healthy glasses of wine, another glass of the premium wine that you pay a small fee for and then if you are lucky they will be giving away free samples of something you just HAVE to taste.

We were lucky last night.

It started with the whites. I’m not a big fan of the whites. Too froo froo, light, bland. But I play along. Actually I’m impressed. The Vidal Blanc and Voignier are tasty. I might just like whites. Give it another few glasses and I might just love them. On my comment card I write adjectives like fruity, papaya with a hint of coconut (I just spent a week in Hawaii eating a papaya a day – do not laugh at me, I know what damn papaya smells and tastes like and I’m telling you it was in that glass), light, clean, sweet, refreshing.

And then, we hit the reds.

Or shall I more correctly say – the reds hit us. You could say at this point things started going downhill or uphill. It started with a grape called Norton. It started out delicious. It only got better – Tempranillo. This is perhaps god’s most perfect display of red wine. It makes me want to run away with a South American man named Juan atop his burro named Chico. Andale, Juan. Andale. From there it was a Cabarnet Sauvignon and then the premium wine. We buy a glass. Or at that point what felt like a bottle.

But wait. First I used the restroom. In which I realized I was well on my way to…tipsy? Perhaps a little sauced. Definitely not snookered but more than just a little happy.

Social healing, it’s called. Healing.

Next up the dessert wine. It tasted like pears! And then, here it comes – the you-have-stuck around-so-long-and-look-so-sauced-we’re-going-to-offer-you-the-free-wine – the Christmas wine. We’re in! Pour two glasses. And wouldn’t you know they are right. It tastes like Christmas!

(it could have tasted like band-aids at this point for all I know)

Finally the free wine is done. Looking back on my comment card I completely stopped making educated comments after…the white wine. The red wines contains things like “yummy”. There’s a technical term. And the words “rhubarb, $8.00”. I have no idea what the hell that means.

Chris buys two bottles of our favorites. After drinking 9 different types of wine they are all my favorite. I look at Chris, he is bright red. He is like a mirror into how drunk are we. And the mirror says…

very

Oh no. Oh yes. Because it’s social healing. This is just what the doctor ordered. Dr. Chris. Any problem I have in life – emotional, physical, work – Dr. Chris always suggests the sauce. You need to relax, Liz. R–E–L–A–X. I try. Sometimes I really do. But it works much better when I am force fed relaxation by the glass. Trust me. Every once in awhile you need to visit the well. Drink from the bucket. Let thyself be healed.

After the best 6 bucks I ever spent, we were like - now what? How about a little food. I get a table next door at the restaurant. Finally Chris arrives after purchasing the wine and immediately we break out into giggles. I’m not sure why? Does it matter? Dinner arrives quickly and it is good. Chris starts cracking up when he reads the waiter’s name tag – his name is Enis. Why was that funny? Who knows. Who cares! That’s the whole thing about social healing. It doesn’t have to make sense. It is all good, just ‘cuz.

After dinner we wait it out. Let the wine wear off. Chris proclaims a victory. He says he might not have succeeded at the Ironman but this evening he has successfully outdrank me. I am impressed. In a competition of "I am now more sober than you" we say the alphabet backwards. Chris says the entire thing. I get caught up at “v”.

As you can see, I did not win.

Back at home we find Boss in a sea of toys in the kitchen. On the radio (I always leave the radio on for Boss), the college station is playing Reggae Trip Hop. Sounds like a damn rave in my kitchen. Safe to say that Boss had a little social healing of his own. With a rawhide stick, the pink fluffer toy, a new squeaky carrot set to the perfect soundtrack of Reggae Trip Hop.

And when Chris saw the carrot he said, Liz, why does the carrot have lips?


I don’t know, doctor. I don’t know.

11 comments:

Muppetdog said...

I am trying to stop laughing and crying long enough to type. I think you just about spoke Swahili when it came to the wine descriptions (I've so never been a wine drinker, more like an occasional light beer or fruity drink with umbrella), but I can understand a good case of the drunken giggles quite well :) And I will remember the social healing thing next time my husband tries to convince me I really deserve a beer after a hard run.

Leah said...

Yes! Wine! Wine solves everything. Until it doesn't, of course. But why think about that?

Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

Excellent! Seriously - a great way to spend $6! Surprised that you remembered the waiter's name. That's impressive. What a GREAT date! FYI- not a huge fan of the whites myself - but reds.... another story. :)

Danni said...

I LOVE that you cited the Argentinian wines... We do (me as an argentinian :)) make the best wines out there. Cheers :)

Wes said...

I just don't see how, under these circumstances, you even THINK you could count, say past three glasses :-)

Andrea said...

Saucy!
If you can recall the name of the Christmas wine, I sure would like to buy some.

And if you can remember the name of the wine store, we might just stop there Thursday night for a little social healing of our own. :)

Mark said...

Always remember - alcohol is the cause of, and solution to all of life's problems.

I'm a beer snob - I only drink stuff you can't generally buy at a 7-11. You should try some darker beers - reds, ambers, IPAs etc. As for wine, red is best :)

Kim said...

I want to sign up.. for BOTH - wine tasting for $6 and social healing. I LOVE LOVE LOVE wine. I, like you, have become a wine snob of sorts also. I think it was my companies fault who insists on ordering only expensive wine when we all get together and I have learned the difference between crap wine, and good from far away place from 1985 wine. It's too bad. I still buy the 12.00 bottles for home though since I seem to drink about 1 per week (myself, the man doesn't drink wine). Thank heavens he doesn't either - I would have to buy wayyy to much. Glad you both enjoyed the day of "normalcy"

BreeWee said...

Hey, I drank wine... thought you would be proud, an entire sip and a half! Now that reggae hip hop stuff, that is healing! ha ha ha

Hope all is well Liz and you got your hubby back now that IM is done!

Pedergraham said...

This post made me wish I was kid-less again for a spontaneous evening with my husband. Glad that you two had such a good date.

CAMI said...

Ah Tempranillo... my long lost friend. It's not often we meet, but when we do it is always a happy reunion. Try a Boeger if you ever get a chance (it's from Placer County CA and one of the best I've tasted).