Wednesday, February 20, 2008

What a Ducassehole!

Sunday marked the 13th anniversary of my sobriety. Yep, I haven't had a drink in 13 years. That's 676 weeks; 4,745 days; 113,880 hours and 23 minutes (but who's counting?).

I can't be sure because shit really was THAT fugged up back then but I'm pretty certain my last fall-down-the-stairs binge was Feb. 17, 1995. I only know this because it was the Saturday after Valentine's -- oops, just looked it up and seems I've been celebrating the wrong day all these years (we didn't have the Internet back then, OKAY?). Whatever, it was Sat. Feb. 18. Doesn't matter -- I still don't know what day I had my last sip of alcohol on because it wasn't important enough to remember at the time.

I always say, "ugh, if I'd known then that it would be my last drink, I would've filled a shopping cart at the liquor store and holed myself up in a Motel 6 for the weekend." And that pretty much sums up the problem. I'd been drinking since I was 11 and was starting to black out so it was time to nip it in bud. Even though I was only 21 (and hadn't even made it to the nut-flavored liquors yet!), I did my time in AA and it's been nothing but Sprite ever since.

I usually spend the anniversary by myself, reading through my grandfather's notes from his own stint in rehab (he'd been drinking all his life and spent the last 17 years of it sober) but this year would be different...

Jeremy had invited me to dinner at world-renowned chef Alain Ducasse's new restaurant, Adour, at the St. Regis as part of his review for West Palm's Simply the Best magazine. Turns out, they put him in one of their best rooms, the "Tiffany Suite," a massive suite overlooking 5th Ave. and Central Park. Free dinner at a 5-star hotel? Crashing in a $5,000 a night suite twice the size of my apartment? Duh! I threw on my best H&M dress and headed out.

(the view of 5th Ave. and Central Park from one of the "Tiffany Suite's" many windows)

The restaurant's decor is meant to look like you're at the bottom of a champagne bottle, which should've been my first hint. After a less-than-impressive meal (Jeremy's had better halibut from Lean Cuisine), we ordered dessert. While I waited for my tea to steep, I tried a leaf-shaped chocolate that one of 10 people serving us had brought.

My lips immediately pursed as the taste of alcohol filled my mouth. I looked around the room in a panic: how many strokes would I cause among Adour's elite clientèle if I were to spit the chocolate back out? My mind raced for an answer -- wasn't there a scene about this in Bridget Fonda's crappy American take on "La Femme Nakita?" My one remaining brain cell couldn't remember (kids: this is a lesson in binge drinking's long-term effects: do it only if you want to depend on friends and family to remind you of things like your name for the rest of your life).

I swallowed the chocolate and looked at Jeremy who, between sips of his Jameson and gingerale, had wondered what the hell was wrong with me. I explained that I'd been poisoned, ironically, on my 13th anniversary. "Well, as if we didn't need another reason to hate this place AND the French!" he replied.

When the maître d' approached to see how we were enjoying our desserts, I cross-examined him:

"Excuse me, what is in these chocolates?"

"Zees iz zhe passion fruit, zees iz zhe prailine and hazlenut, and zees iz zhe vanilla rum."

"I see. So the ONE chocolate I ate was filled with vanilla rum?"


"Figures. You should inform guests before if anything has alcohol in it. See, as of 5 minutes ago, it was 13 years since I've had any so if I go back up to my room and clean out the mini bar as a result of eating this chocolate, I'm comin' back down after to kick your ass."

(stunned silence) "Madam, we are very sorry..."

"At the very least, you're paying for the mini bar."

I'm sure it was the first time anyone physically threatened Jean Paul after he asked, "and how iz everyzing?" Jeremy nearly choked up a lung laughing.

No, I didn't drink anything as a result -- please, it's going to take A LOT more than a piece of chocolate to knock me off. Even so, I can't help but feel like my precious record has been ruined. Like, I was throwing a no-hitter up until Alain Ducasse squibbed a stupid piece of "chocolat" through the infield grass.

It's a matter of pride when it comes to the record I've touted all these years. How can I say, "I haven't had a drop," now? It's like the Patriots saying "yeah, we won 'em all...yep, all except for that one at the end." Well, at least I'm
4,745-1 (damn you, Ducasse!).

(WTF face outside "a dour" restaurant the next day)


Dan the Man said...

Don't be silly, Jenn. Your record maintains intact.

You didn't have a sip; you had a confectionary. There is a difference. In fact, some alcoholics in recovery are able to eat foods/desserts containing a little alcohol without experiencing any ill effects. It just depends upon one's constitution.

Also, remember that you did not intentionally consume alcohol. That must count for something.

dan the man said...

And another thing, why the f#@% am I the only commenter on this blog? You need more exposure girl.