My most regrettable decisions…

photo16…have always been made after ten o’clock at night and after two bottles of wine.  I bought Fiona online at midnight, from a breeder in Tulsa, when I was drunk.  My daughter Lauren had just graduated from college.  I had just sold my house in the Bahamas, and for the first time in my adult life, I was without a boyfriend or a husband.  Can you say, “Empty Nest Syndrome?”

Most people would call up a friend, or read a good book, or buy an expensive watch, or even get one of those human-contact-replacing sex appliances from the Love Chest.  I drank up the left-over liquor from the graduation party, and bought a puppy.

Enough people have suggested I look and act like the following icons, to make me believe it must be true:

  • Uma Thurman (only in good, pink lighting or in the dark, and after I have returned from ten days at Canyon Ranch);
  • Cruella De Vil;
  • Auntie Mame;
  • The Kate Blanchett character in Blue Jasmine;
  • The blonde in the red track suit who pumps gift items like dumbbells in the old Target Christmas ads.

Do any of the above strike you as dog people?

God help me – two years (and untold thousands of dollars) later, I’m striking up a conversation with a woman and her mangy hound on a small patch of grass outside the local pet store.  Our dogs are shitting as we chat…  She’s wearing a distressed leather shoulder bag, but slung across her chest like William Wallace’s quiver, and I’m saying,  “That is the best idea.  I always feel like I don’t have enough hands and having your purse in front of you is cool, because you can reach the organic treats and poop bags and your keys, and still hold the leash…”

As Eliot Ness said after messily shooting up a bunch of bootleggers, “I have foresworn myself…  I have become what I beheld…”   Fiona has made me a dog person.

Alcoholism is inherently self-indulgent: a boohoo festival where everything centers on the next drink, or not having the next drink.  There is an overwrought-ness to the WHY? of it all.  Why me?  Why can’t I just have a glass of red wine with dinner?  Why did I say or do that horrible thing?  Why do I buy cute pajamas when I almost always pass out in the stained, wrinkled clothes I was wearing all day?

Here’s the bottom line – a dog gets you outside of yourself.

Today I’m not drinking because: I have to find my keys and the key fob, and get the leash and the biodegradable poop bags, and walk to the elevator, and go down the fourteen floors, and across the underground parking lot, and go outside (even in a torrential downpour), and across the driveway, and across the street to the exact, same spot, so Fiona can go to the bathroom.

How come you’re not drinking?