Scenes from Quarantine: Beer

The last couple of years, I’ve migrated my preferred beer selection from standard IPA’s to hazy IPA’s. They tend to be fruitier, lighter, and easier to drink, and are particularly delicious in the warm weather. However, they lack the potent, bitter, hoppiness of original IPA’s and the sweetness comes through more, so sometimes, after a few too many hazys, I definitely crave an original IPA to balance out the palate.

COVID-19 hit in March, and shelter-in place orders trickled down the coast, beginning in Northern California, making its way down to San Diego County. Since shelter-in-place took effect, we have stocked up from Bevmo on a couple of occasions and taken the time to try different beers. While I didn’t buy into the toilet paper or hand sanitizer panic (somewhat to my detriment, however, as we have a pretty sad supply of hand sanitizer), I certainly did panic when I saw that some states were considering banning alcohol sales, and that there could be a beer supply problem due to shortage in CO2. Ultimately, it did not end up being a problem, and there has been plenty of beer to go around (thus far).

The Goose Island pictured below is not a hazy, but was unexpectedly citrusy, fruity, and well-balanced. I was not a huge fan of Goose Island’s original IPA, so this one took me by surprise. Price was also something to gloat about – not a lot of solid beers are going for $7.99 a six-pack, so I considered this a win. Both Lagunitas hazys had a similar feel. Lagunitas tends to be sort of unmemorable for me (no different from their original IPA) – drinkable and good enough, but probably not good enough to buy again if it isn’t on sale.

Since bars and restaurants were forcibly closed for an extended period of time, we watched sadly as longstanding neighborhood breweries went out of business. When we saw that Lost Abbey, which had opened just shortly before the coronavirus madness, was selling beers to go, we picked up a few bottles. They were selling them for very reasonable prices, comparable to retail. We’ve had the Judgment Day quad before, but it is no joke. Strong as hell, deep flavors (currant, raisin, warm Belgian spices).

 

Quarantine has not been too bad for us, as we have a yard, good weather, good books, and a few hiking trails nearby on which to enjoy our beers. There’s a lot of crazy shit going on, and it’s a good time to count blessings.

Announcing Pregnancy

Everyone knows the 3-month rule. Due to the higher chance of miscarriage in early pregnancy, many, if not most, like to keep things under wraps until the second trimester. I did not follow this approach for a few reasons, however.

While the risk of miscarriage in known pregnancies is, according to Dr. Google, 10-20 percent in the first 20 weeks, the odds still appeared to be largely in my favor. I also considered the fact there are no known miscarriages in my family and I’m pretty healthy. Whether these are scientifically sound reasons for being optimistic, I can’t say, but that was my thought process.

I balanced these odds with the absolute certainty that within a week or two, I’d find myself at a party, uncharacteristically without an alcoholic drink, and would face questions about being pregnant and have to lie. I knew this with absolute certainty, because there was one occasion on which I attended a baby shower after a night of brewery hopping. As I had indulged sufficiently the night prior, I decided to take it easy on the alcohol at the baby shower. I was one of the earlier guests, and actually did help myself to a mimosa, but after that, I refrained with the exception of a virgin Bloody Mary, which is nice the day after drinking. Also, I hate vodka and love tomato juice, so I always drink Bloody Marys virgin, but I do not do this frequently, so not many people know this.

Subsequently, my husband received several text messages from his friends insisting they “knew” I must be pregnant, because none of the girlfriends or wives saw me imbibe alcohol at the shower, and in fact, saw me order a virgin drink. The texts were so adamant my husband actually called me on the way home from work to ask tentatively, “You’re not pregnant… are you?”

So I had a pretty good idea that any time I’m caught without alcohol, there would be questions. I am not a good liar and I could see myself being really awkward with this. Further, I’d have to make up a lot of lies if I was seeing people or being invited places over the course of 3 months.

Additionally, while you never know until it happens to you, I did not think I’d be the type to be completely devastated if I miscarried. Surely, it would be frustrating, but I suspected I would tell myself it was my body’s way of rejecting an organism not meant to be born, and doubted I would become a total emotional wreck. I balanced the relatively unlikely possibility of having to tell multiple people I miscarried with the absolute certainty of telling many awkward lies, and decided the awkward lies would be worse for me.

We told parents and family almost immediately, followed by close friends. Everyone else, we told if they asked or if it somehow came up. We did not go out of our way to share on social media or make any type of formal announcement. To be honest, for me, the beginning was characterized by a certain level of anxiety, and I didn’t want to feel like I had to put on an act for everyone about how exciting and joyous this all is. Maybe that makes me weird, but it’s the truth, and I was not inclined to put on a fake show. You can fool the world, but you cannot fool yourself, nor should you try to.

[Note: pictured above indeed is our little fetus, not a cat sitting on a plank, however appropriate that might be.]

Falling

With dangerous ambivalence they were rampaging the streets

She sees herself everywhere in mirrors, holding rainbow glasses of drinks

Until she finds herself sinking between his sheets

Breathing warmth out of her veins, suspecting that if she blinks

She might erase it all with the pulse of the night and a parting of the lips

When her wings fluttered the hours away in a smoky heaven and she tore shooting stars off the walls

Traced the clouds with her hips, brushed the ether with her fingertips

In smug delight of holding a microcosmos in her pocket, blind to impending falls

So steadily she holds the gaze of his gold-flecked eyes

Carefully one more time traces his ripples and lines

When daylight snakes in the room and the night before is a faded whisper of sighs

And the arrogant sun sings and shines

She can feel her heart starting to creak and bend

And fears with him she’ll meet her end

Alcohol

chasteness chastity celibacy abstinence virtuous reserved

whore

she caught sight of herself in the mirror, presiding over vomit-laced sinks and

briefly searches for the terrible fish in the reaches of the silver pool but is relieved

the bathroom god is merciful when the time pulses slowly, the air moves like waves

he said you smell like cigarettes and boys, what a primitive existence, base and typical

just as you feared

let me live thin during the nights, if it pleases me

on her thigh she notices a bruise, eggplant-coloured and temporary

an accident like Tuesday and his slate-blue eyes

she hates the thickness of heat and how skins cling in damp numbness

these close textures, constant intrusions remind her

she has resigned herself to chasing her second fall