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Friday, December 30, 2011

The Martini Effect

My son-in-law makes a mean martini. It’s not the first attribute one looks for in a son-in-law; let's just call it added value. He tended bar during his college years, and the results of assiduous practice are clear. He makes me a perfect martini every time: dry, no olive (bleh!) with a lemon twist. He taught me how to do it, but I still come up with only an adequate drink. .

I wish I had his touch because every other Monday night, my husband goes to his men’s group meeting. I make myself a martini and enjoy it while I watch TV. The men’s group has been together for almost 20 years. They are a remarkable group and meet in an equally remarkable space, the bell tower of the National Cathedral. They share philosophies, tragedies, child rearing stories, marital difficulties in the strictest confidence.

I never call Steve during these meetings. To be fair, when the group first met, cell phones were non-existent, but even since everyone in the country has a minimum of one cell phone, I have always respected their physical and metaphysical space. I have no idea if other partners also refrain from calling or if, like me, once a fortnight they sort of enjoy the quietude. In any case, a couple of weeks ago I infringed on their seclusion.

Did someone die? Well, no. Was there an accident? No. An illness? A birth? A disaster. Um, no. Here’s what happened.

I made my martini and turned on the TV. I can’t remember exactly what I was watching for reasons which will soon be made clear. I sipped on my cocktail and enjoyed a little buzz. I decided that I would like the buzz to continue. I made another martini.

Be forewarned: gin creeps. Oh, yes, you are half way done with your drink, and you feel fine. You finish it up, and you think, I’ll have another, thank you. Then you have another, and oh, my! Yes, after the second martini, I was very happy. I wanted -- and this part I remember quite clearly -- to share just how happy I was. What’s the point of being married if you can’t share important information with your spouse?

I dialed; Steve answered.

“I called to tell you I’m drunk,” I announced and proceeded to explain the martini effect. Steve chuckled, and we ended our call.

The men’s group does nothing if not offer support and advice. When Steve relayed what I'd said to him, they rallied round. What was he doing still standing there? Get out of there fast, they told him; stop on the way, buy flowers and get home immediately.

And that’s exactly what he did.

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