Single White Nerd: Free-associatin’ in 2011 [Whiskey Penance]
First post of the new year! Yeah! Awesome! I feel like I should be inspiring or something. Share some resolutions. Maybe a heartwarming tale of family togetherness and redemption. Alas, I got nothin’ for you on those fronts. Ugh. Performance anxiety. Happens to me during sex, too.
That’s something I’ve only written about tangentially here. Sex. The sex monster. Sexasaurus Rex. I mean, I’ve had sex. A fair bit of it. Some of it has been good. Some has been truly awful. In fact, last year I hit the bottom of the “awful sex” pool. The episode involved a decrepit Extended Stay America that reeked of stale cigarettes, a blindfold, and a woman so nervous that she’d consumed at least half a bottle of vodka before I showed up. But you don’t want to hear about that at the beginning of the year. It’s depressing and creepy, more a mid-year kind of tale. Let’s just say that if I were to make New Year’s resolutions, one might be something like “No Awful Sex at Extended Stay Americas in 2011.”
No. No resolutions this year. Last year I felt like I was in a rut and made a resolution about getting out of the rut. This year, I wanted to make the same resolution. Then I realized that I was in a resolution rut and resolved not to make any resolutions. Then I realized that, despite myself, I’d made a resolution and drank a few shots of whiskey as penance.
I slammed those shots of whiskey at my parents’ house after Christmas dinner. The dinner itself was utterly unremarkable. Ham with microwaved potatoes. Par for the course. The company, on the other hand was. . .remarkable. My parents took pity on a 60-something neighbor whose wife had skipped town for the holidays. He appeared at their door wearing a Liberty University t-shirt. Founded by Jerry Falwell in 1971, Liberty U is a bastion of evangelical conservatism. The kind of conservatism that preaches against the mythology of evolution and the evil of homosexuality. Seeing the shirt, my parents, both bleeding heart liberals through and through, almost choked on their pita chips. Throughout the night, conversation sputtered along, evading anything resembling politics, religion or substance. Occasional exclamations of “This food is truly wonderful” punctuated halting exchanges about the weather and sports. I appreciate my parents’ charitable instincts—after all, there’s nothing more Judeo-Christian than helping your fellow man—but it made for an awkward dinner.
We’re Jewish, but my parents and I have always celebrated Christmas. For years, we had both a menorah and a Christmas tree. Eventually, the menorah stayed stashed in the closet and the Christmas tree prevailed. Sort of. My father always felt conflicted about our adoption of Christmas décor. He go to the tree lot, find the saddest, scraggliest, runtiest tree there, bargain it down to less than $20, and bring it home. Nowadays, they just buy a two foot tall, fiberoptic, predecorated tree at Rite-Aid and plunk it on top of a table. Very festive!
Anyway, this year for Christmas, I got a Tron Legacy light-cycle toy, a Transformers toy, some sort of inflatable bat to hit people with, and a Cuisinart. Apparently my parents think that I’m a 7 year old with culinary aspirations. They may not be far off the mark.
As I played with my new toys, making zoom zoom noises and wondering what would happen if a light-cycle found its way into my new Cuisinart, my father started telling a story. My father tells stories with great energy. He draws you in immediately. Sadly, they have no structure. Nothing happens. He will talk for 20 minutes and, at the end of it, you realize he’s just told you that he once dropped his wallet on the subway, then picked it up. He’s also told you about everyone sitting around him on the subway, the weather outside, other current events. But, dropping the wallet, that’s the whole story.
Though I didn’t make any new years resolutions this year, I did take a moment to silently hope that my father did not pass on his discursive story-telling style. Surely that type of thing can’t be genetic. If I were to make another resolution, apart from the Extended Stay America thing, I might resolve to write only well-structured, narratively sound stories and blogs this year. No meandering hither and thither through brambles of partial tales and disconnected thoughts. No way.
So. Happy New Year! May your narratives be strong and your sex fulfilling. I will now do penance for this entry by drinking some whiskey.
featured image credit: Sybren A. Stüvel