Sunday, May 01, 2005

How dry I am 

bleah. I am so tired. If I didn't have a friend who had just happened to write a novel in March, I would just blow this off... again. So much to do, so little time.

One evening I forgot to write up is now two weeks old. We went to dinner at the house of a couple of friends. These particular friends are Chinese, and so were quite interested in our little venture and had much advice. Some things we already knew. Others were a bit surprising. One thing I did discover is that if I ever get drafted I want to join the Chinese army. Our host did the cooking and it was delicious! He said he learned to cook in the army of all places. Anyway, that would tempt me to join far more than the lame, testosterone laden ads that the US armed forces currently use. Of course, the desires of us middle aged men are probably different than those of the younger punks.

But what has this to do with our dinner engagement? Nothing! I was going to pass on the advice I learned. I was most seriously warned that when I went to China, it is more than likely that at any banquet I attend, everybody is going to want to do shots with the big noses. And since I am the head of the household (and incidentally the family member with the largest schnozz), I am going to be the primary target. Now so far this isn't so bad. I'm not much of a drinker, but I don't mind the rare shot of Jack Daniels with a beer chaser. Okay, to be honest, I can't remember the last time I did a shot. Back in the 80s when we were all getting married and the parties didn't involve children. But I do enjoy being sociable, even to this day. Anyway, there are two complications to this: first, if I prosit with one person, the first person I don't drink with will be horribly insulted and I will have proven every ugly rumor about American rudeness that's out there. Secondly, far from trying to protect me from such cultural depradations, a typical host will be quite eager to see me drunk, as a drunken guest is a sign of a good party. There's some economics involved about saving money by getting only one guest conspiculousy lit. I missed the details, as at that point I was preoccupied with trying to find an amusing way to escape such a fate and the subsequent hangover.

My friend offered two solutions. Either endure the occasional bout of serious inebriation or give up alcohol for the duration. Given that I can still remember my last hangover--from my cousin Bob's wedding, now 20 years past--I think I'll have to opt for the latter.