You: "Hey, wanna get together Thursday night for a couple beers and catch up?"
Me: "Sure, yeah, that sounds totally doable."
Inner monologue: Fuck, yeah! I mean, yeah. I want to. I definitely do want to. I never get out. I would love a beer. Beer tastes so fucking good. I, like, never have beers anymore. I used to love some beers, man. I'm still breastfeeding though, so, I mean, it's not that I can't drink at all — I totally can. I super can. It's just that you can only have, like, one beer when you're nursing. God, one beer makes me tired now.
Two beers is a'ight, too, though. Two beers starts to feeling prett-y good. Like old times! Plus eye shadow! We can sit outside, and people watch and talk about our feelings about that job we hated. But if I have two beers, now I just get hungry. I want something fried. I can't help it. I just want something fried. I never eat it, but I want it. And so two beers in I'm listening to you tell me about your sweet new job, but I'm thinking, sweet potato fries? No. Side of fried mushrooms? Don't do it. Drink the beer. Or get a fucking water. How many times are you gonna do this to yourself? Forever?
Of course, let's be honest, drinking the beer makes me super mother-fucking want a cigarette. But I don't smoke anymore. Haven't smoked since the day I found out I was pregnant. Sure, I can smoke one cigarette when I go out, I guess, if I can scrounge one up. One cigarette is fine because it's not like I'm actually smoking again. I am just having one cigarette. Just a person in the world having one single cigarette. It's not a lifestyle choice. This does not make me a person with a pack of cigarettes who smokes in the daylight while driving, after I eat, when I wake up, or when expressing an incredibly salient point. It makes me a person who smokes one cigarette at night with a few beers once every three months. Honestly, it actually makes me queasy now, though.
Don't get me wrong: That's good that it makes me queasy, because that means I am no longer addicted to cigarettes, and I have won, and I actually have gotten myself back to where it feels like someone who is literally smoking their first cigarette. I'm like a revirginized smoker. I repeat: It's not even good anymore, but I want it anyway, like skating rink nachos or cotton candy.
Ok, if I have three beers it'll feel good, but, see, you know, I hate to be nitpicky, but that's exactly one too many. Because then, when I go home, it'll be like I almost have a buzz, and I'll drink a bunch of waters and eat something, but then if the baby gets up in the middle of the night, I might need to feed her if she's super upset or teething or hungry, and then I won't know if it's really OK yet, and it'll just be miserable, and I'll feel bad. So it's two beers. Two beers for me on a Thursday night! Woot. That's some livin'.
Ugh, two beers. Worth leaving the house for? I could be catching up on old New Yorkers or reading any of the 77 Sweet Valley High books my husband bought me off eBay for my birthday, or even more importantly, I could be getting into bed before 10:38 for once.
Ugh, no, I should go. It's important to like, engage once in awhile. The surly barista at the coffee shop and the daycare provider do not count as friends. I should just try to stretch the two beers out over four hours or something. Sigh. Who I am kidding? I've never stretched out two beers over four hours in my life. That's like asking me to not notice bad jeans or pretend I might get into Jesus. Impossible.
OK, I can do this, but I'll have to get the baby ready for bed first. I'll definitely want to get her to bed first, and then go out, and not the other way around. Sometimes I think I should go out early, like at 6, and then be back for bedtime, like at 8. That's tidy. That sounds like a mature way to handle it.
But what if the conversation gets good, and then I don't want to leave, but then like I have to rush back. That sucks. So I'll get her to bed first. We'll have dinner, I'll stick around for a little bath time and then I'll split. I hope she doesn't get too upset if I jam early this time. I hate just leaving my husband to roll solo because he's tired as fuck too, and his job is super busy. No, I'll stay for the bedtime story. If I bail on "Little Miss Spider" just so that I can get an early start on a Helles Lager then, what kind of person am I, really? An asshole. That's what.
Shit, you said Thursday, right? You're not even talking the weekend here. Although, you know, I never got why anyone with a kid still even acted like the weekend was different because really you're just working more in a different way on Saturday and Sunday what with the kid being off from daycare. It's not a break, per se. There's no real "sleeping in" with a toddler. And you wouldn't believe how hard it is to recreate that level of exercise for a baby. Especially in an apartment! Nope, no yard. I know, right? Well, I mean, that's LA. That's what we signed up for. We traded our half-acre yard for all the Helles Lager we could drink once every three months. You know what, let's not do the math on that.
So you have to get in your car and drive all the way to the park and the park is great, and nice, especially early, when it's not crowded and that guy with all the extension cords isn't there. Seriously, who brings a huge orange extension cord to the park? So my toddler can trip on it? Anyway, all you need is your coffee and a sandwich bag of goldfish so the kid can go nuts on that place. You really wouldn't believe how many times they can climb that plastic mountain. It's a lot.
Can we talk about how much peeing there would now be with that many beers, though? It's so many more pees. Do. Not. Understand. It's not like I grew the baby in my bladder. I now have this relationship with the bathroom I never, ever wanted.
If it were Friday though, maybe I'd want to tough it out more and get out of the house, because I could at least sleep in by 24 minutes on Saturday and that would definitely help cancel out the effects of the two beers on the barf-a-tronic front. Who am I kidding? It'll take a week to recover.
Gotta be Thursday, though, right. Always gotta be Thursday. Yeah, you know what, it'd be great to catch up. I haven't gone out in like five weeks or something crazy, I just remembered that. Sure, yeah. Totally. Count me in. Beers on Thursday. 8 o'clock. I'll do it. I should do it. This will be the time I will do it!
[Thursday rolls around. Baby has an ear infection.]
Me: "Hey, so, turns out the baby has an ear infection again so I can't make it. Yeah, sorry. Yeah, she's super hands on. Definitely have to reschedule. Next week? But on a Friday this time? Yeah, sure — I don't see why not?"
Tracy Moore is a writer living in Los Angeles. She promises she used to be more interesting than this once, and she can sort of prove it on Twitter @iusedtobepoor.