Thursday, January 01, 2009

our cup bubbles over...

2009 is here, heralded by words of cheer from people paid to make foreward-looking statements: "it's gonna get worse before it gets better."

with that in mind, my advice to you is to start drinking champagne.

whenever you can afford it, buy the good stuff. the stuff with tiny bubbles that tastes like you've just won life's lottery. have another glass -- shoot, have another bottle -- no hangover required!

drink champagne, even when you can't afford the good stuff. because it'll remind you of better times, and things to look forward to. like finally adding some new tunes to your ipod -- or getting your ipod out of hock. like seeing smiling people bringing boxes full of personal items into the cubicles around you instead of quietly carrying them out. like getting your 401(k) statement and actually feeling like opening it.

champagne is a harbinger, as well as a celebration, of of success. think about it: what comes to mind when you unwrap the foil, take off the little wire thingy, and pop that cork? workaday troubles and bleak economic forecasts? hell, no! it's people wearing tuxedos and evening gowns and laughing and toasting some well-earned achievement. it's ritual as self-fulfilling prophesy -- being the change you seek.

so, buy a bottle to break on the prow of that boat you've been dreaming of. think about sipping a glass or three on the flying bridge with your significant other (who might forget to remember she gets seasick within sight of water). imagine -- your own floating party venue! or better still, a quiet sunset retreat from parochial, landlocked lubbers. moments like that would make the whole outlay worthwhile, even if you never left the marina.

before you start to think, "hokaaaay, this guy either has or soon will have a teensy problem with the alcohol," i don't. no, really. it's not a problem. at all. at no time do i lose consciousness or feeling in my extremities. that would tend to take the fun out of the champagne mystique/motif, i think.

no, this whole dissertation is about the joyful saturnalia of life, not the dark downside of...i'm sorry, what was i talking about just then?

nevermind, doesn't matter. the denouement here is a little gathering of friends collectively peering into an uncertain 2009, smiling, laughing, enjoying the moment.

also sharing some really fresh oysters, shrimp skewers loaded with garlic, butternut squash soup, and three bottles of really good french bubbly. it was an extravagance we don't usually indulge in, but for one night we symbolically defied whatever fate might throw at us in the coming months. we celebrated the fact that we're healthy, we have jobs, and we have each other, for however long such things last.

we toasted and ate and drank and told funny stories about stalkers and nightmare clients and aging parents and layoffs. okay, that doesn't sound very funny, does it...but it was. we laughed all evening long. maybe it was denial, and maybe it was the champagne talking. but see? champagne makes everything look better.

you know, there's a small but finite possibility that this isn't about champagne at all. crazy as it sounds, it might be about, i don't know, staring down the things that unsettle us in an erratic and oblivious world, and squeezing out a little meaning and happiness in spite of it all.

ah, fuck it. it's about the champagne.

hey your glass is empty
it's a hell of a long way home
why don't you let me take you
it's no good to go alone
i never would have opened up
but you seemed so real to me
after all the bullshit i've heard
it's refreshing not to see
i don't have to pretend
she doesn't expect it from me

-- sarah mclachlan

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