A Fuzzy Navel has always been my drink of choice—always has and always will be. It’s simple: orange juice and peach schnapps. Which is good because it means you can’t really mess it up. I guess sometimes in the past when I was feeling really fancy I might add a splash of vodka. And Christmas Eve is a time when I’m feeling fancy…so yes, there was vodka.
I’m a lightweight, so by the time I’ve sipped down around half of my drink I’m typically as tipsy as Captain Jack Sparrow. So on Christmas Eve 2016, on a scale of one to Meredith Palmer (catching herself on fire), I think I would put myself at Erin Hannon on the “Christmas Wishes” episode (The Office, Season 8 Episode 10).
I was in my final quarter of college at the time and one of my friends in my teaching cohort got me addicted to puzzles. If you’ve never tried to put together a “Maleficent” puzzle while drunk, you are missing out on a whole ‘nother level of complexity. It’s like a drinking game, but so much better. As my husband attempted to help me push puzzle pieces in where they don’t belong, my grandmother showed up.
I’m a funny drunk, but more accurately, a sleepy one. Alcohol makes me silly and drowsy which apparently makes for good entertainment for everyone else.
In my family we traditionally eat spaghetti every Christmas Eve and Christmas 2016 was no different. I thought the spaghetti should absorb some of my alcohol but, let me tell you friends, it seemed to have the exact opposite effect.
“I’ve never seen her like this,” my grandmother said. (More than once. Probably more than thrice.)
I had entered a new phase of the Christmas buzz. Everything was funny: the sound of my husband’s voice boomed like a 1940s news reporter—or a 1990s boom box—not entirely sure which. Maleficent’s horns seemed to be melting right into the dining table. In retrospect, too bad it wasn’t a “Wizard of Oz” puzzle. The sound of my own voice was funniest of all. While generally high-pitched, it sounded like I had a super-falsetto (if that’s a thing).
And at some point the Fuzzy Navel lulled me into one very calm, silent night.
Elizabeth Bates is a high school poetry and creative writing teacher. She is currently drafting her debut novel. Her poetry has appeared in The Daily Drunk mag, The Ekphrastic Review, Versification literary zine, and Kreaxxxion Review. She lives in Washington state with her husband, son, and two Siberian Huskies. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethKBates.