Love the One You’re With

jewelryFor our buddy series, we have invited some of our contributors to share a drinking-related story–an incident, an experience, a conversation, a relationship–that has been memorable. We hope you will enjoy reading these stories as they appear each Monday.

by Kitty Sheehan

Isn’t everyone you drink with your buddy? For a while, at least. Buddy, BFF, brother, sister, Iloveyouman. That’s what it’s all about.

You, a stranger, and Bushmills neat. Pretty soon you’re gushing, “I think this is the beginning of a bewdaful frennship.” Only later do you discover you were really talking to the Bushmills.

Several years ago, I was headed to visit my sisters-in-law for a girls’ weekend in Texas. This was during a phase in my life when I was so afraid to fly that I had to have two martinis just to board a plane. Well, that was my story anyway.  

I’d been making earrings as a hobby all summer, and I had a box of them in my carry-on to give (and sell) to my six sisters-in-law. I had at least 50 pairs. They were beautiful: sterling silver and vintage beads, and I couldn’t have been more excited to show them off.

As I stood in line to check my bag, it became apparent that a posse of Mary Kay ladies was headed to Dallas too, for a convention. Surprise, the one behind me in line was darn chatty.

An announcement said our flight was delayed. More time for another drink before boarding. My girl from the check-in line and I bonded at the bar while watching the Summer Olympics.

By the time we were on the plane, night had fallen, and so had all my walls that were supposed to filter my idiotic behavior. I told my new pal about my fabulous jewelry. She wanted to see it.

Viewed through the bifocals of beer and martinis, my earrings had become as splendid and rare as any jewels Richard Burton had ever given Liz Taylor. Less expensive too: a real plus.

“OH MY GOD THESE ARE GORGEOUS!” she yelled. I sat next to her, glowing with happiness. Happy that I’d bought her that cute little bottle of Absolut a few minutes ago, especially.

The flight attendant came to see what was so gorgeous. “OOOOOH, they are!” Funny, I hadn’t seen her drinking on the flight.

“Are these for sale?” They both asked at once. “Hell yeah,” sayeth moi.

My seatmate took the box around to share with the other Mary Kay gals. Any pair containing a smidge of PINK was snapped up instantly in a squeal of joy.

By the time the frenzy was done, I had about ten remaining pairs. I half expected the pilot to emerge from the cockpit wearing some turquoise and onyx number to match his uniform. I also thought I might get some kind of citation for soliciting, but the flight attendant seemed okay with the whole thing. I treated her to a pair.

My brother-in-law was waiting to meet me at the airport; in fact, there were three of him waiting for me at the airport. I remember trying to focus on something, anything, as he drove me to their house. I pretty much went straight to bed.

The next morning, I woke to the sounds of my sisters-in-law chatting happily over coffee downstairs. It’d been almost a year since I’d seen a couple of them, and I loved them all dearly.

I tried to move. That didn’t seem imminent. In fact, I thought if I did move, I’d dislodge something that needed to exit my body, and I didn’t want that to happen while I was still in bed. I went back to sleep.

I woke up later when they came to jump on my bed and force me out of it.

“EARRINGS! WE WANT EARRINGS!” They couldn’t wait to see what I’d brought. They had a scarf laid out on the dining room table so I could display my wares. (There’d been a little build-up about this.)

I laughed and struggled to the shower, still not remembering that I’d sold almost all the goods to a planeload of strangers. The realization hit me about the same time the water did. Shit.

I honestly don’t remember what all I said to them when I had to explain the lack of inventory.

Funny how that works, huh. Your brain can remember some bad behavior up till the part where you have to ‘splain your way out of it.

This particular episode of Drinking with Buddies is from 14 years ago. I’ve been sober for the last nine of those.

What’s changed since then?

I’m hardly ever scared on planes any more.  I usually try to ignore the person next to me while not being scared. I still love those sisters-in-law, but I have all new ones now.

And if I tell you I’m bringing you something, I do.

Kitty Sheehan is a writer for a spices & seasonings company, mom, wife, and photographer living in the Hudson Valley. A former teacher, consignment store owner, graphic designer, and corporate trainer, her blog is Return to Bohemia.

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