My Fellow Inebriates,
After all that thought expended yesterday on networking-for-playdates, my mum still couldn’t do any better than this when the mother of V’s classmate N phoned:
N’s mum: Hi, I’m N’s mother. We haven’t met but we got your invitation to V’s birthday party. I’m sorry N can’t come.
Our mum: Oh, that’s okay. Thanks for letting me know.
N’s mum: It’s such a cute invitation. N is so sad she can’t go. It’s just that we’re away that week, otherwise we would.
Our mum: Aw, I’m sorry she’s sad. We’d love to have N there. V’s mentioned her before. I think they sit together.
N’s mum: She says V’s her best friend.
Our mum: Oh, that’s so cute!! Well, we’ll have to get them together another time.
N’s mum: That’d be great. As I say, we’re going away, but we can talk when we get back—
Our mum: What about tomorrow? N can come to our house. I can pick her up.
[Awkward pause as this hangs over the telephone line.]
N’s mum: Um, well, we like to meet the parents before we have a playdate. Just to get to know each other…
In playdate terms, Mum had jumped several levels on N’s mum—offering, without ever having met the woman or her husband, to pluck their precious five-year-old out of kindergarten and take her to an unknown house who-knows-where to play with a totally unfamiliar kid and a sibling of unknown age/gender.
It was the equivalent of offering a blowjob on the first date, and my mum realized it as soon as she made the offer.
Despite the gaffe, N’s parents made an effort the next morning to seek V and Mum out at the morning drop-off. Hands were shaken, eye contact made, lame jokes cracked. Whether a future playdate will happen after the customary time elapses…it’s up to the jury.
I thought my mum could use a drink after all that strain—perhaps the SLEEMAN ORIGINAL DRAUGHT languishing in the fridge since summer (i.e., since last week). The last remainder of the Summer Selections mixer pack, its 5% alcohol would surely assuage whatever palpitations early-morning social contact had caused my mother, and maybe I could get a buzz too.
But she said 8:45 a.m. was too early, my fellow inebriates. We had to wait until 5:00.
(Why 5:00? OMG! One day we’ll tackle that.) Five o’clock it must be before we cracked that frosty-cold beer with its light gold hue shining through the clear bottle nestled in the back of the fridge. Five bells, people! Why?
“Because it’s a social norm, LB.”
So how much credibility does this carry coming from a woman whose social sensibilities are so deficient that she figured V’s classmate’s mother would be okay with her simply grabbing the girl after school without so much as a prior introduction?
“When you start drinking in the morning, something’s wrong, LB.”
My DTs were pretty bad today and, despite a few good happenings, which I’ll tell you about tomorrow, it was a tough slog till 5:00. I spent a long time looking at the People of Walmart. I pestered some alcohol manufacturers with random questions. I had a staring contest with Fluffy (he won). Finally the kids came home and wrapped me up in a black scarf like a hostage, then dangled me over a box of stuffed cats. By the time 5:00 came, that beer had ascended to mythic stature, glistening from the fridge.
When we finally poured it, SLEEMAN ORIGINAL DRAFT fizzed into the glass, its head foaming ephemerally then vanishing. The smell is nearly absent: pallid malt with some light grain. Carbonation-wise it’s a miniature Canadian fiesta on the tongue, crisp and snappy alongside a bready sweetness and mild hops. This is a summer beer all right—failing that, a hockey beer—with light refreshment and no demands on the tastebuds. There is no je ne sais quoi. There just isn’t. Which makes SLEEMAN ORIGINAL DRAFT awesome for when you’ve been tortured all afternoon by kids. The stuff is awesome for when you want something normal—failing that, for when you want to play at being normal. And goodness knows we need some practice at that around here.