One night several weeks ago, I went out with two people I was very excited to see, and presumably, they me. What happened? We drank three bottles of wine and got shitfaced. Why? Why! Shitfaced.
Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid. Nothing weird happened. No one knocked anything over, no one hit on anyone, no one drove a car or a bike or dropped their phone. I do remember some ungainly lunging at one of my companion’s fries, lunging across her body, so that she had to say “Why don’t I just pass these?” Indeed, it was an enjoyable evening, a delightful evening, but 1-1 is a bad ratio of people to bottles of wine consumed, and the three hangovers that resulted were a disaster. Mine especially, as I experienced it on not one but two airplanes.
There’s a person to blame in all of this, and that person is me. That person is me because I ordered the wine, and had I ordered right, we would have just had two bottles. We would have had the same amount of fun and not paid for it so dearly. Let me explain to you how everything went wrong.
It was Wine Wednesday. This means bottles ofwine were ½ price, and this restaurant didn’t have a very expensive wine in the first place, so, I ordered the most expensive bottle they had, a 2016 Chateaumar Chateauneuf-du-Pape. I ordered this because I knew that one of the people in my party liked lighter red wines, and this is a medium-light red wine, a bit spicy, easy to drink, pleasing to all. It was great, and at half price, for just under $40, in a restaurant, it was even greater. We made short work of this bottle and, being writers, set about the business at hand: complimenting ourselves and each other.
Then we complained about words we hated. We all agreed that “place” without “the” or “a” in front of us was The Worst. Before we knew it was time for Bottle Number Two.
I was having steak. I felt like indulging in something a bit heavier and thought at this point my companion who liked lighter wine would not notice a heavier wine and my companion who liked heavier wines would appreciate one—though an unheeded inner voice told me this was not a wise move. I was not under the misapprehension that the 2016 Smith and Hook Cabernet was going to be spectacular or anything, but I thought it might be suitable for the occasion. This place only had about seven bottles of red wine on their entire wine list. I did not have a lot to work with. I thought of my friend Evan, who regards a limited and not terribly exciting wine list the way other people might regard a bridge collapse. I decided to order this big fat not terribly exciting Cab. What could go wrong?
Well, nothing too terrible at that moment. Food was served. The new wine came, and, I am here to tell you, it was so much worse than the bottle of wine we had just drunk. A lot of people just hate all Cabs. I don’t. They can be delicious and velvety, especially alongside a steak. But this wine was like a velvet jelly sandwich.
I felt bad for ordering it, I mean, not like, evening-ruined bad, but my good time was mixed up with feeling that I had made an error, and I am not good with errors. I am a downright baby about errors. I imagined that underneath my friends’ good time they felt just a little bad that I felt bad. So, what happened was that we drank this bottle of wine as fast as possible, because we just had to get away from it and this was the only way we knew how. And then, we were still eating, still talking, and we had to get a third bottle, or, a third bottle is just what happened. This was a 2016 San Luigi Dolcetto. Not as good as the first bottle of wine, but unlike the second, it could actually be called wine.
Drinking this good wine, with the gross wine in the rear view mirror – except not, because, well, we had drunk it – I felt good again.We talked about whether someone we knew was shy or just an asshole. “Asshole,” I voted, because that’s how I always vote on that one, and, meanwhile, well, congratulations, we were all completely fucking wasted and headed towards shitty tomorrows. Thanks, me.
If I’m being honest I will admit that, ok, yes, one of the people and I went out for a drink afterward. But it was just one drink. And we never would have gone if we hadn’t had the whole bottle of wine each. Also, I remember a joke I made at the bar, and it was a good joke, and I also remember my companion telling me his life was actually not a complete disaster these days, and I said wow, mine wasn’t really either, and since neither of us I think says things that much, I felt happy, for him, for me, for life.
Was this all worth seven hours on a plane, feeling like I was going to puke, and hoping I would die? It will be if you promise me, promise me, that you will carry this advice with you for the rest of your life: three people, two bottles of wine.