There are problems, and then there are PROBLEMS

Oh, sure. One of my doctors is hosting a conference this weekend on immunology and inflammation and because of the Labor Day date absolutely no press will be showing up. I have my six month review at the end of the day today and these reviews are notorious for kicking one’s butt. I still haven’t managed to get to the laundromat since returning from my mom’s 60th birthday celebration and so the laundry, it is overflowing, taking over the bedroom at an alarming rate. Some odd neighbors have moved in next door and make the strangest sounds, all night long. All I seem to want to eat is peanut butter and chocolate – nothing else sounds good whatsoever. I have this odd patch of dry skin. I have way too many pieces to write for work and not enough time to do it, and S. and I are supposed to take a few days off next week for a late summer getaway. On a bigger scale, my job has me concerned about the bird flu (ha ha, I almost wrote avian bird flu) because it’s not a matter of IF it’s a matter of WHEN, the New York  Times has be worried about Putin and unstable relations with Russia, and I’ve decided I don’t believe those Chinese gymnasts were of age. You can consider me an expert on this because my little cousins are adopted from China and so obviously I would know.

I never make it to yoga anymore, although hopefully that will change beginning tomorrow. My doctor and nutritionist have taken me off most dairy and most wheat for a few months. My novel is an explosion of insanity. My husband, in an “I deserve it” post law school/bar study celebration, has purchased tickets for both college and professional football this year. My mom has osteoporosis. My dad’s bird dog seems more interested in bunnies than birds. There are problems.

And then, there are problems, and this is the one occupying MOST of my mind, despite all said above:

When one (plus her husband) has volunteered for the Obama campaign, and then one (plus her husband) are invited to a Thursday night convention party to meet those they will be volunteering with, none of whom they’ve met, and they have been asked to bring a six pack OR wine, what do they do?

You see, for a certain subset of young professionals such as ourselves, volunteering for the Obama campaign is practically like a coming out party. It says, we want change, and we are actually freaking motivated enough to skip Big Brother (me) and Ice Road Truckers (S.) and, like, go into a totally different neighborhood in our city, which we never ever ever do if we can at all help it. Yes We Can. We will be meeting people who are Like-Minded, and Smart, and Engaging, and Want Change Too. We all Hate  Bush. And, of course, the war. So what to bring to make our all-important first impression? There are going to be philosophy and English professors there, and scientists and urban planners.

Well, while lately I have been enjoying Gnarley Head Red Zinfandel which I first had at my sister-in-law’s wedding, I feel zinfandel EVEN IF IT IS RED AND VERY VERY GOOD somehow smacks of, what? Boxed wine at family reunions. I used to have a friend in graduate school who swore by bringing Jacob Creek’s cabernet to every event she attended and nobody ever turned it down. My brother, when he worked at the museum, swore by Yellow Tail. I know I like cabernets, shiraz, zinfandels, pinot grigios and sauvignon blancs and do not really care for merlots or chardonnays, but now I have exhausted all I know about wine. Back in Michigan one could always rely on the kitsch factor of Trader Joe’s three-buck chuck but in PA you can only buy wine in state-approved stores.

“Let’s not take wine,” S. said. “We don’t know wine at all.”

But beer, beer we know. So, then. Do we take Yuengling, the local brew loved by seemingly all Pennsylvanians that is sort of a cross between Sam Adams and gingerale? Too cheap, we decided. But then what? Every bar and restaurant in the city seem to serve Coors Light and Blue Moon and I have to admit I am astounded by the number of people I see drink Blue Moon, but is it right to draw a conclusion between what I see when I am out and what Pittsburghers truly drink? I really have trouble believing anyone regularly drinks blue moon. S. likes really hoppy beers, pale ales so bitter you drink one and then wait a week for your taste buds to grow back, so taking what you enjoy the most doesn’t seem like a good rule of thumb, and if it were a rule of thumb then I would have to find a company that bottles vodka tonics, and I don’t think those exist.

In the end, I think we’ve settled on what we already have in our fridge. In PA, you can only buy six packs at bars – if you go to the beer distributor you have to (ridiculously) buy a case of beer. We have a case of Grolsch. We drink it, we like it, and for me one of my favorite characters (Patrick from Dennis LeHane’s series) drinks it. I hope it strikes the right chord….like….we drink beer, but we also want to see the mortgage crisis fixed.  Or, we bring beer to share, because we also share a common dream of equal pay for equal work.

Here’s hoping. And don’t worry, in order to sufficiently prepare ourselves for our coming out, we are going out to a new thai restaurant and seeing Woody Allen’s new movie tonight. We aren’t all reality television and living-in-eager-anticipation of football season around here.

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10 Responses to There are problems, and then there are PROBLEMS

  1. Emily says:

    I didn’t realize that about PA, and I lived there a long time. I wonder what that says about me…

  2. Karen says:

    These are very important problems. We have a friend who is the manager of a bottle shop (that’s what we call places that sell alcohol in Australia – not sure if the US has another name??)and taking alcohol of any description to his place is a nightmare! What if it’s “bad” alcohol??!!
    I’m not sure if there is any such thing but anyway!
    Hope you enjoy your part in the Obama campaign – change is on the way!

  3. Smithereens says:

    Hope you enjoy the convention! I am lazy and don’t own a car… so whenever we go to a party we always bring wine because it’s lighter to carry around in the metro!!

  4. Kelly says:

    I know this was the smallest point of your whole post, but I just wanted to say for the record, that I do in fact drink Blue Moon and enjoy it.

    Not sure what it says about me, other than I can no longer tolerate Bud Light and that too was once a staple. Hmmm. I think I just gave myself an essay idea. 🙂

    I miss you Courtney!

  5. litlove says:

    I always liked the phrase ‘I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy’ and on that score, any bottle will do. But I see the problem. As for the rest, well The Rest, oh yes, I do empathise so much with that sense of running and running and never catching up. I’m also sorry to hear about your mom. Sending big hugs.

  6. Pete says:

    Hey, even down here in Southern Africa we are excited about Obama and think (well at least I do) that he’s a shoe-in for the presidency. And Grolsch sounds fine by the way. Strikes a good tone (discerning but not posh and concerned about rising mortgages as you say). Enjoy the Convention. Go Obama! It’s a pity the rest of the world can’t vote but here’s hoping for some CHANGE. Oh, and good luck with the other stuff too.

  7. debra says:

    I’m a little late to stop by…but now I’m excited to learn how things went. So??

  8. Emily, we didn’t realize it the first time we lived here either so no worries!
    Karen – change. From your lips to god’s ears.
    Smithereens – I think wine is ALWAYS the way to go as well!
    Kelly – I miss you too! Actually, I like ONE blue moon. I don’t like MANY blue moons. I am actually a huge fan of white beers. But as my brother says, you have to be careful of beer that comes with fruit slices!
    Litlove – thanks so much for your kind words. My mom will be fine of course, she’s just feeling a bit discouraged.
    Pete…if the rest of the world could vote Obama would be our president for sure!
    Debra – It’s never too late to stop by!

  9. oh says:

    wonderful entry, all of it. the bird dog seeking rabbits is priceless. (we have a rabbit dog; he is only interested in rolling in dead worms. I understand).

    Whatever you end up taking to drink doesn’t matter. You’re there for Change. You’re there cuz we are so sick of Bush. It’s exciting and I suspect even if you took Fresca, it would be OK.

  10. Emily Barton says:

    We would have brought the red Zinfandel, which we love. I haven’t tried Gnarley Head, though, so seems I’ll have to find some. We have yet to buy beer in PA since moving to PA, except to drink in bars, because it’s so damn difficult to do. (Besides, we get invited over to people’s houses all the time who serve us beer, so there’s no real need.) I still can’t believe I live in a state where you can’t buy beer in the grocery store. One of these days, we’ll bite the bullet and go get a case at the local distributor.

    Get this: at the first bar we went to in Key West, we asked if they had any local brews on tap, and they said they had Yuengling. Weird, huh?

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