Conclusion of the never-concluded story
Let’s see, where was I? Oh yes … to the bars! This is where the real hair letting down was to happen. I knew this from past stories of this annual business trip, and also from the fact that when we arrived, half our group had already been there for a while and was occupying a good third of the bar space, with no plans of moving, clearly. The whole time I’d been imagining this cockamamie plan, I had never decided whether or not I was going to actually fake being tipsy. I wasn’t really feeling it, the whole faux-half-lidded, slurred speech pretend-a-rooski, so I finally put my foot down (In my head. Put my head foot down?) and decided that I would just be my normal high-on-life, extroverted self and hope that everyone else would get blitzed enough not to notice that I seemed to be able to hold my alcohol better than a 60-year old Irishman.
First up, the waiter visited our table and everyone ordered a round while I feigned indecision and announce that I’ll order in a bit. Because I am a Smooth Operator. Finally when he came back to deliver the gin & tonics and other drinks whose names I still can’t remember, I thought: Time for my distraction maneuver. So I waited for everyone to start sipping, and the waiter to leave the table before turning around and tapping him on the shoulder as he passed behind my chair to say “I’llhaveaCokeplease,” as quietly as I could in a hopping-full bar at 10 p.m. at night. Which he of course asked me to repeat. “I’LLHAVEACOKEPLZTHNX.” I said through a gritted smile. “OK! ONE COKE COMING UP!” He seemed to yell. I turned casually back toward the table to rejoin the conversation, and like magic, my drink appeared (in a giant, regular Coke sized glass with no tiny straw) in less than a minute. Because it doesn’t take long to pour an alcohol-free, straight up soda, yo.
“You ordered a Coke?” they asked, to which I responded, “Psssh, as IF! This is a rum and Coke! Heavy on the rum!” (This is where I started bending the truth juuuuust a wee bit.) But, you see, my coworkers did not just fall off the turnip truck (though I may be suggesting that very thing from this whole saga) and were all, “Dude, they shafted you on that rum! You should totally get them to add a shot!” Which I of course met with a “YEAH I should!” and maybe added a few Dudes and Bros or some other such barspeak for street cred. And then I promptly stood up and walked to the end of the bar (out of earshot) and asked the bartender (Seth! Who would become known as The Barfriender!) if he would please add some water to my Coke.
“Uh, you want … water in your Coke?” He was a busy guy. He wore a sweatband on his forehead. I was fully aware I sounded crazypants.
“Yes. It’s a … secret pregnancy thing. Can you help me out?” I was still extending my glass-holding arm in his direction.
He looked at me for a second, then broke into a grin and winked. Grabbing the Coke, he said, “You got it.”
Seth the Barfriender for president!
This water and Coke trick worked like a charm for almost the whole night. (I would just go up to the bar and order another round of what I’d had before and POOF: water and Coke.) Until it almost didn’t, when someone asked to taste my drink. (!!!!!!!!!)
Normally, this does not bother me. Yes, I am a drink sharer. In fact, (Leigh Ann you should skip this part) once in high school I chewed a piece of gum that had been in two (2) other people’s mouths. HI MY NAME IS RACHEL AND I HAVE COOTIES FOREVER. However! For someone to taste my drink meant the secret would be out, the jig would be up, my goose would be cooked. So I clutched my drink to my chest and put on my best horrified face and refused to share on the grounds that I was a germaphobe.
Except, I have this habit of, you know, being myself when I’m not trying to pull the wool over my entire office’s eyes, so my coworker knew that something was amiss with this scenario, and attempted to grab it from my tight grasp. Which left me with no choice but to tip it up and chug it down in 17 gulps.
You would have done the same thing and you know it.
Now I felt extra bad, because not only was I kind of a germaphobe jerk to my friend, but I had made myself appear even more hardcore about drinking than before by slamming a half-full double-shotted rum and Coke without even breaking a sweat. I was posing, and I was posing hard.
Things were getting dangerous (dangerous, I tell you!), so I went to Seth the Barfriender for help. Way down at the other end of the bar I approached him and laid it out. “Look, my friends are making this harder than I thought. What else can you make me that’s not a rum and Coke that maybe some others are drinking and won’t be interested in tasting?” Boom: water in a short glass with a skinny straw and a wedge of lime on the side. Gin and tonic, fools!
Of course the FIRST thing someone says to me when I sit down again is, “Is that water?” Forcing me to baldface lie again. (I was beginning to think I may need a 12-step Liars Anonymous program after all was said and done.) “Nah, gin and tonic,” I said, all cool-like and bored.
The rest of the night was uneventful, except for when someone yelled out “LET’S DO SHOTS!” and I thought I was going to have to pull the old menstrual cramps excuse and go back to the hotel or something drastic. (I wasn’t sure Seth the Barfriender—amazing as he was—could even help me on that one. I mean, the shot is poured in front of you. I’m good, but I’m not that good.) But luckily no one picked up on the momentum and the suggestion fizzled.
In the morning I met everyone for the next day of baby-gear ogling, fresh as a daisy (save feeling queasy and tired from staying up past my normal I-never-go-out hours) and hoping no one would probe too deeply into my non-hungover state. (Because if all things had been normal? I would not have been doing nearly as well as several of the people I walked around with that day were doing. Because I am, in fact, NOT a 60-year old Irishman.)
Let’s wrap this long convoluted story up, shall we? In the end, we made our way back to the very same bar the second night, and who should be working again, but my old pal Seth the BF, and that’s when I knew I had it in the bag. Once, a coworker even ordered for me, claiming that I needed to “keep up” and good ol’ Seth brought me a drink as virgin as the Madonna. Before I left for the night, I slipped him a $10 bill in a napkin on which I had written “You are the best. THANK YOU!”
As I walked out the door I looked back and he gave me a point and wink.
And now we can get back to regularly scheduled posts about the minutiae of my non-double agent life.
P.S. Guess what? There’s even more of me talking about me on the internet! Every Wednesday I’ll be posting over at my job’s website about … wait for it … being pregnant. Who’s excited? (Yes, a few of the paragraphs in that first post are familiar. Look, it’s been A Week, all right?) Come and visit! And comment! And share it with your friends! Or don’t, and lie to me and tell me you did. Either way it will make me feel warm and fuzzy inside.