Sunday, May 30, 2010

Confirmed Alcoholic

Hello. My name is Gabby, and I'm an alcoholic.

I realized, just last night, that my tolerance for alcohol has finally reached the point of no return. My Italian sister invited me to go to a party with her, and I happily agreed. I enjoy seeing what the teenage life is like in Italy. I put on a nice shirt, some makeup, and the only pair of heels I own that don't torture my feet. We drove to some kid's villa, where he charged me a 10 euro cover.
"Italian parties are the best parties! I promise!" he shouted at me when I revealed my American-ness. I struggle, still, to say the simplest things in Italian, and I never fail to give myself away. He lied. My Italian sister and I stood in a tight knot with two of her other friends, waiting for the small group of people at the party to multiply. 20 minutes passes. Then 30. I finally decided to get a drink.

"Ciao!" I said, approaching the "bar". A pimply-faced boy whose face hinted that it might be ready to grow some peach-fuzz soon, stood in attendance, ready to pour me a drink. My eyes scanned what was on the table. Cocktail drinks. More Cocktail drinks. Campari. More Cocktail drinks. Pineapple juice, fruit punch, and frizzante water. And more cocktail drinks.
"What would you like?" the boy asked, in English.
"Is that all you have?" I was hopeful. Maybe they had another table with some rum, or wiskey.
"Si. Can you give me your drink card?" Because my ten Euro cover got me 3 free drinks. The insolence.
"You don't have any rum, or whiskey, or even vodka?" I pleaded. I wasn't going to survive that party with only cocktail drinks or spritzers.
"No, but there is vodka in these," he said, pointing to a bottle of Strawberry flavored cocktail mix. "Here, I'll just make something for you." And me made me a weak mix of Stawberry cocktail with frizzante.

When I finished that drink, I looked around. The trickle of people through the party gates was starting to increase, and with it increased my hopes of a fun night. I went back up to the bar, hoping that the weak drinks would at least give me a little buzz. I another strawberry drink and couldn't believe how frustrated it was making me. After three mouthfulls, I'd finished it. A few people were dancing to the music, here and there. I had no one to talk to since I'd lost my Italian sister and her friends to the increasing selection of boys, and I knew I wouldn't be able to talk to the Italians without some liquid courage.

"Scusa," I said, approaching a new "bartender". She looked at me, unsmiling, unfriendly. It was hopeless. "Parli inglese?"
"Yes, yes I do!" She liked me now, realizing I was an American.
"Is there any chance that you can pour me a cup full of that?" (I pointed to the strawberry cocktail mix).
"Nothing else?"
"Si." I nodded, for good measure.
"Are you sure?"
"Si." I nodded faster.
"Va bene."

I walked around the party for the rest of the night with a cup of vodka and strawberry syrup. And I drank it as if it were a regular drink. When I offered some to my Italian sister and her friends, who I'd relocated, their mouths puckerd.
"Is very strong!" they said.
And it was. I was drinking a glass of vodka.
I wasn't drunk when I finished it.

I am a confirmed alcoholic.
Arrivedrci, for now.
Love, Gabby.

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