Moodswing - Wasted

Hope springs eternal, but sobriety is doomed

I’m drinking again, thank God, because some things are just wasted on sobriety. Take Grant’s black tooth, which just fell out of his head today.

I did not even know he had a black tooth, and it would have been hard for him to hide it from me, too, since he has a mouth the size of a solar eclipse and people can practically see his pancreas when he smiles. But still, Grant evidently had a black tooth in there somewhere, and he picked this afternoon to tell me about it.

“It’s just black,” he kept saying, “a black nub.”

“Jesus God,” I shrieked, “do you seriously think I don’t have better ways of wasting my time besides listening to this?”

At that point he reminded me I had called him, and he should be commended as a friend, thank you, seeing as how he didn’t screen me even during a dental emergency. That’s right, I guess, I had called because I need to borrow his truck to haul my tacky planet load of musty castoffs to the big yard sale tomorrow, and here’s where I’m glad the booze block is over, because I cannot possibly sit through my own yard sale without margaritas by my side, right? I mean, why waste one of the few good excuses for drinking during daybreak? And the fact it’s not my own yard sale makes it even better, because the truth is, I’m crashing the yard sale of my former neighbors. They’re the ones with the ad in the paper and the high-profile front lawn. They’re the ones all fastidious and organized with signs strategically placed throughout the neighborhood. I, on the other hand, am merely sitting here with all my hand-me-down crap ready to be stuffed into Grant’s truck so I can hone in on their enterprise like a hermit crab.

But before that could happen, I needed some help, so I supposed some heavy flirting was in order. Grant is not impervious to female flirting, in fact he’s loads more masculine now than he was a few years ago, back when he still had a toehold in the hetero closet. You should see the video footage of his second wedding reception, I swear. He flits between guests like a little hummingbird, offering appetizers from a tray. He and his wife have matching asymmetrical haircuts even.

“You were more gay when you were straight,” I always laugh when I see that video. When the videographer approaches Grant’s mother and asks her if she has any words to record for posterity on this joyous day, Grant’s mother glares into the camera and says, simply, “No.” Remembering that, I decided to be sweet to Grant.

“Get your black-tooth ass over here and help me haul this stuff,” I said. At that, Grant called me a cow-eyed bitch and hung up.

Oh, well. I don’t know how to drive his truck anyway, which is over 40 years old. Every time I try to borrow it, Grant gasps, “It’s a vintage automobile with three-on-a-tree,” like it’s some kind of magic incantation that will break the spell of me needing it. Now it looks like I’ll have to borrow Lary’s truck instead, which doesn’t even have a front seat, just a folding lawn chair on the floorboard. I need it to empty out our old garage, which is full of old baby things slated for the yard sale. Chris and I have been trying to spawn lately, hence the hooch embargo, and I’ve come to believe sex is another thing wasted on sobriety. I have never in my life actually tried to have a child, so a large part of my coital past is happily booze enhanced. For example, in college I had TONS of sex, I’m pretty sure. Well, in truth, most of it’s a beer-addled fog, but I bet it was hot and sloppy under all that fog.

Anyway, here I am today, a responsible person (or an expert at faking it anyway), plus I’m an accidental mother to this wonderful kid that came like a comet out of nowhere. Chris and I spent months wondering how she happened, how she slipped through all the barriers we had in place, then we simply accepted our situation and nicknamed her Houdini. Now she’s 2 and the truth is, she’s so great she’s totally tricking us into having another one. I thought it would happen in a snap, because judging from the first time, I obviously have a basket of flypaper for a uterus. But each month my hopes are wasted.

I’ve heard that people who actually seek out parenthood — people who pick this track rather than have it land on them like a big happy, unexpected heavy thing — I’ve heard those people have all kinds of tricks they do to prime up the old kid cavity. So I tried all that, kicking caffeine and alcohol and other essentials out of my diet, I tried all that and nothing happened. So now all our old baby stuff is slated for the yard sale, and I’m gonna need that margarita, I tell you. Then maybe next month Chris and I will just get back on the bike. Yes, maybe that’s what we’ll do. I’m hoping not all hope is wasted after all.

Hollis Gillespie’s commentaries can be heard on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” To hear the latest, go to Moodswing at ??