Bent Words

Bent Words

August 05, 2009

Eight Days Abnegation

Day 1:

Request to pick up prescription from Walgreens pharmacy. Pharmacist asks my name, searches through a weighty 'J' bin reminiscent of the antiquated practice of picking up ready photographs, consults her computer and then makes a request for my health insurance card without once looking into my face. Upon handing me the box containing the medication, the pharmacist squints at me above the rims of her neutral colored glasses and states with surprising strictness,

"Absolutely no drinking while taking this prescription and for three days afterward."

I take a step backward.

"No mouthwash. No throat spray. Nothing."

I can't thank her for I'm hardly grateful for this bit of news. I nod, smile and walk away. Threading myself through the store aisles in order to avoid patrons whose presence fills up an entire walkway, I ponder the meaning of 'no mouthwash, no throat spray.' Did she intend this as a warning against the proper use of such items or was she insinuating that I might guzzle the stuff as a cocktail hour substitute? Listerine on the rocks, please....

Day 1.5:

Hit the liquor store. Inquire directly about non-alcoholic beer. A clerk takes me back into the cooler where, in the farthest possible reaches of the public eye, sits a small display of non-alcoholic beverages. I recognize a few brands but know nothing of their non-beerness. I ask for a recommendation.

"Uhhh, I don't drink non-alcoholic beer," says the clerk scratching her head.

I don't either.

I needlessly explain my imprisonment to a prescription which requires abstinence from alcohol and throw in a white lie about a big bash I'm to attend later where I will be expected to drink heavily. The clerk nods in deep comprehension and then points to brand called Clausthaler.

"This stuff sells a lot."


Day 1.75:

Hit the Lake. Place beverages in parental unit's fridge. Proclaim triumph in my non-alcoholic purchase. Explain, in length, medical situation to Mom. She grants me a sympathetic smile but there is something about her which bothers me. She stands in a settled fog of complacent ease which begs one to believe one is barking up the wrong Pity Tree. I attempt to make the story a bit more intense with the tone of my voice and the exaggeration of my hands but she insists on hitting me up with that whole motherly "I've been through that and much worse" nonchalance.

Enter Father.

"Ya know, Laura, the situation is equivalent to how many bug parts per million are allowable in food stuffs."

There is a brief silence in honor of this seemingly random statement before he continues.

"The non-alcoholic beer -- it contains alcohol. There is an allowable amount before it's considered alcoholic."

WHAT?! Non-alcoholic beer has alcohol? AND bug parts?! Who's the mastermind behind this bit of brilliance, may I ask? You go through all the trouble to label a bottle of beer non-alcoholic and then decide to add that exact ingredient which you claim to be absent in the first place? What a cruel hoax! Oxymoron in a bottle, please....

Day 1.85 (it's going to be a long eight days):

After several hour's contemplation and a bit of house painting, pour myself a bottle of non-alcoholic alcoholic beer into a glass over several ice cubes.

Enter Father.

"You know, Laura, you're still drinking the same amount of non-alcoholic beer even if you dilute it like that."


Dump out the non-alcoholic alcoholic beer.

Mix a Virgin Mary. Sit on deck. Watch parental units enjoy cocktails. Concentrate on Lake. Boats, water, trees. Boats, water, trees. Boats, water, trees.

"Do you really think .5% alcohol is going to kill me?"

Enter Lake neighbor and nurse Rochelle.

"ROCHELLE! Do you think .5% alcohol is going to kill me if I'm on antibiotics and instructed not to drink?"

"Nah. Just drink a bunch of water, too."

One non-alcoholic alcoholic beer = $1.50.
Casual enjoyment of said beverage = 2.5 hours.
Accompanied by lots of water = peeing every 15 minutes.
Adequately deceiving self into a state of tranquility = priceless.

Written at 10:48 p.m.