My extended family is a sea of New Yorkers and other refugees of the Irish diaspora. They’re loud, honest, numerous, generous and have no need of an actual bar to have a drinking party. I knew this, academically anyway, before flying back East for the 2011 Smith (Rogers, Hennessy, and I’ve now automatically insulted new-found relatives because I’ve forgotten the other last name) family reunion, but I didn’t really know it until 12:30 last night when I decided to call it quits and the yellow shirts (my branch of this lanky tree) were still going strong in the bar and the blue and black shirts had overtaken the lobby.
They, of course, were the really hardy partiers, so it was okay for me to wuss out. This is what I told myself. Of course, I’d actually bailed on the drinking and the hoarse-making conversations yelled over music two hours before that and had been pretending to write in a corner, fending off the occasion invitation to “Come on and join us! Pull up a chair!”. Yes, I’m a recluse, that’s the truth of it.
But when I got back to the room I was sharing, thinking I’d need to slip in quietly to I didn’t wake anyone up, I discovered that I am the official family lightweight. Sitting inside, sipping paper cups of wine at almost one AM were my mother, her sisters and their 90-year-old mother. Apparently the sisters paid a visit to the bar after that.
So here’s what I’m thinking. If artists and writers are supposed to be notorious for boozing it up in veiled attempts to loosed their muses, I was clearly born into the right family and yet, I’ve missed a step. Unless skipping the booze to write says something more flattering than “anti-social hermit”.
**Note: For all the family members who I have now discovered actually read this (and you’d think I wouldn’t be so surprised because, seriously, it’s the internet): Thanks for the rounds of drinks, I just couldn’t keep up. You guys know how to have a good time. 🙂