Bluebird Rising

"You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better." -Anne Lamott

Aristocrat Vodka, Hustling for Minors and Ramona Quimby April 22, 2011

It all started out innocently enough. I was allowed to leave work two whole hours early last Wednesday. Now, my idiotic choice of employment is not at an office job life where I can manage to run an errand during my lunch break, or work one long day to compensate for the fact that I could only muster a half day on a lazy, drizzly Monday. I am a girl who works in a correctional facility, and we are physically needed to be at work the entire eight-hour shift. We cannot leave to run errands at lunch. Shit, half the time we don’t even get a lunch break. Most days “lunch break” is shoving crackers or an apple in your mouth while running to break up a fight or to strip search a girl who is hiding a cell phone in her vagina. (True story. Don’t be jealous.) Anyways, the point of this background is that…..

Leaving early never happens.

So, you can imagine my excitement at this prospect.

I usually work until 10:30. I was out of the building at 8:30. I felt like I had the whole evening in front of me when most other people my age are already in their pj’s and struggling to stay awake for the nightly news. So I decided a little celebration was in order.

Now, when you have worked your way through college, so you can apply for your first adult job, so you can have money to move into that quaint little neighborhood that you have always loved, you suddenly find yourself with a problem. Quaint little neighborhood liquor stores, on a unassumming Wednesday, close at 8. You literally find yourself in a geographical area that restricts social activities occurring after said time to only include bathing babies, walking the dog one last time, or sitting on the porch cupping a warm mug of tea. Because that’s what we do in quaint little neighborhoods.

I often encouragingly pat myself on the back for moving into an adult neighborhood.  Which is all nice and dandy, until it backfires. Like this last Wednesday, when I just wanted to celebrate my night out of jail  and get down with my bad self.

So I hit up the U of M campus, five minutes from work. Because it was on the way home. And because I really wanted a glass of wine. And because years of personal undergrad experience taught me that no successful business within 10 miles of campus will close at 8 pm. Especially the alcohol driven ones.

So I enter one of the liquor stores on campus, and immediately I forgot it was Wednesday. I felt like I was in the middle of Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras at a middle school. Seriously-when did college people get so young?? I overheard conversations about what happened last night at Loco (a bar) and how it would just make tonight more awkward at the Library (another bar). I saw a guy stumble in and buy a case of Keystone Light, despite protests from his sober cab/roommate, because according to him “What the hell does it matter at this point?!?!” I stood behind a 60 pound girl who was struggling to hold onto a JUG of Aristocrat vodka on her little hip. Like, JUG to the point of having two handles. The enormity of the bottle both amazed and disgusted me. Because, I assure you, we never drank Aristocrat vodka, even in the most dank, dark and poor days of undergrad. I mean, really, have some standards. If you need to, familiarize yourself. This shit is sold at Wal-Mart, people. Not classy.

And so I stood with my little bottle of wine, ready to rock out for a few extra hours at home with a movie. My excitement for these plans were drowned out by youth I didn’t know I was so far removed from. My God, I felt OLD.

So I paid for my bottle of wine. I did not cave into the barely legal salesman trying to up sell me on all the extra flair behind the counter, like the bottles of “Jag To Go” which everyone else seemed to be really, really into. I watched his brows get a little fuzzy when he saw 1982 on my license, like he had to remind himself that yes, the 80’s were what came before the 90’s. I watched a beam of understanding dawn on his face, like, oooohhhhh yeeeeeaaaah, the 80’s. Like on vh1, right? Like how they teach me about a decade I have only heard my parents talk about. I have heard of the 80’s.

So I packed up my license and my bottle with more speed than I used to when I had my fake. I just wanted to go back to my quaint little neighborhood, because at least there I was one of the young and hip ones.

Hit a little speed bump in the parking lot, though.

Yup. The cops.

Apparently they had been getting tips the last week that people were buying for minors outside the store and making a profit. The fact that the U has been around for over 160 years and the campus cops are acting like they just discovered a golden nugget idea nearly cracks me up right there. Oh, and then I thought about how they should be focusing on the liquor stores over by the Superblock, literally a city block sized harem across campus that is home to at least 2,100 freshmen, if they had any sense at all. Not that I know. I’m just saying. *Clear throat*

“This wouldn’t be what you are doing, ma’am, is it?”

“Sir, I just bought a bottle of wine. Like, a normal bottle. Not a jug. Not a box. What self-respecting underage undergrad is going to ask someone to buy them a bottle of wine?!?!”

“Just had to ask ma’am. Have a good night.”

As I got into my car, and I saw this play out with a few others coming out into the parking lot, I noticed that other people had to show the cop their ID. He must have been flustered by my answer and forgotten to question my age. Other people had to show him their credit card slips. He  must have forgotten about that, too. But then he called the other women “miss.” I was a “ma’am.” He didn’t forget. He just knew. Time to get the hell out of Dodge.

So I was the only person from the great decade that was the 80’s in a liquor store. I was accosted by a cop who thought minors were cultured enough to request wine when someone is making a run for them. I was called ma’am. Needless to say, I was all too happy to put on my pajamas, pour a glass of the wine I had worked so hard for, and start my movie.

Now, it is only with slight embarrassment that I must tell you the movie I was so excited about. It was Ramona and Beezus. Yup. I loved the books as a kid, and so when the movie came out last year, I had to fight every urge to run to the theatre and see it. It helped that I did not have a niece or little cousin who could have been my alibi and made me seem so nice for sacrificing a Saturday afternoon at the movies watching some lame pre adolescent actors flounder about in the trials and tribulations of middle school and crabby adults.

Anyways, the final nail in the coffin of this enjoyable evening also referred to as “My Tour Through the Prevalence of Ageism as it Relates To My Life”, was the fact that every adult in the movie are people I have HUGE crushes on.

John Corbett is the father. I still picture running into him, okay…. “Aiden”, every time I visit NYC, and I like to imagine that he is building ME an easy chair made of old railroad leather in his free time. Bridget Moynahan is the mother, who looks like a soccer mom I know that is my age that I want to kick in her track suit covered shins every time I see her juggle fifty things at once and drop none. Ginnifer Goodwin is the aunt, and my girl crush on her was compelling enough that it forced me to watch an entire two seasons of Big Love even though I was bored after the second episode. Josh Duhamel makes his appearance as Uncle Hobart by sliding out from underneath a car he is fixing, all greasy and dirty. And Sandra Oh, who I like to fantasize would make an excellent neighbor and coffee buddy, is involved in this whole mess too.

Yup. I have officially enjoyed the creepy experience where I was attracted to the adults of the movie. Okay, and I was able to understand them too, bitching about paying bills, losing jobs, potential foreclosures, bratty children and expensive weddings.

Whereas Ramona? I still love her. I always will. But I left my ability to understand her, and the want to be like her, back in the 80’s. Back in a decade that people now learn about on vh1.

I’m glad I can’t leave work early very often. Feeling this old is exhausting.

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2 Responses to “Aristocrat Vodka, Hustling for Minors and Ramona Quimby”

  1. You and your Ramona obsession, I love it! This is Mandy btw.

  2. See, I’m really the exact same as I was when we were 5!!!!! I can’t decide if that’s good or sad. Let’s say good, for my sanity’s sake.

    Holy crap, I miss you lady!!!! Let’s fix that.


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