In honor of International Wine Day, I’m going to tell you the short story of the first time I got drunk. I was 18 and in Italy. I was touring Europe with a group of people from my high school, as well as a couple other high schools from the US. By no means had I not encountered alcohol by the time I was 18, I just hadn’t ever been interested in drinking. My good friends at the time would have parties multiple times a week, and every weekend when they would drink and get high, I was just along for the ride to guide them like an excitable little elf.
Before we reached Italy—and more specifically, Florence, Italy—we had been to London, Paris and Pisa. I was one of the oldest kids in the group so I could drink if I wanted to, my parents told the teachers that were with us that it was okay and the teachers didn’t really care (in London I had a Guinness beer, my “first” alcoholic drink, and I didn’t like it so I gave it to one of my teachers and joined the other kids in yelling, “CHUG! CHUG! CHUG!” while she finished it in one go #baller) but I still didn’t drink much up to that point.
For dinner one evening in Florence we went to an exquisite little restaurant off the Piazza della Repubblica, and I had the house wine with dinner. Like I said, I hadn’t cared much for any of the wine or beer I had had yet on the trip, but, good Lord, I remember this wine. It was sweet and smoky and when I drank it I felt like I was part of the wine. It had always been a part of my essence, I just hadn’t ever noticed that a part of me was missing, but here it was, in my hand, and I was now complete.
Since the wine was so sweet, I thought that it contained less alcohol (I don’t know why but my 18-year-old brain rationalized it very well) so I had the designated maximum drinks. While I was eating my dessert, someone said something stupid and I spit out what little wine I had left onto my cake and laughed. I laughed until I realized my wine was now on my plate making my cake soggy, then I laughed about that and continued to eat the cake and it was still delicious. Now noticing I didn’t have much wine left, I became concerned and asked the server, “Can I PLEZ havve ANOTHUR tWo,” I raised two fingers while (likely) blinking one eye at a time, “bottelz of this scrumptchus wine pluze.”
As you can imagine, I didn’t get two more bottles of wine despite my insistence that they were for my boyfriend and parents back home and definitely not to share with my roommates back at the hotel. To be fair, I wouldn’t have shared with my roommates. I would have drank the wine all by myself in the hotel room while they were elsewhere or asleep (or maybe I would have shared with them, who cares!). I forgot that I ordered two bottles of wine shortly after and I learned that the group was going to get gelato after we left the restaurant.
The girl I was sitting next to became “concerned” and told a teacher that I was drunk. I don’t think she cared, she just wanted to prove that she was a better child or something. After the meal I remember Mr. What-his-name walking over to me and asked, “Hey, Megan, you okay?”
“Yezsir, I am reallyFANtastic. Mmhm.”
He walked away unconcerned and laughing because it was likely not his first time dealing with a drunk child. My roommate told me as we were leaving that the girl next to me had told on me to which I responded, “FuckiNsnitch.”
We continued on to the “world’s best gelato place” (it wasn’t, it was like a slushie, ew.) and my roommate coached me on how to appear sober when drunk. While I still haven’t mastered it, I am better after much more practice in the five years I’ve been drinking since then. I don’t think I got drunk again on that trip but I can’t wait to go back to Florence to go back to that tiny restaurant and buy as many bottles of that perfect wine as my drunken heart desires.