What do you do when you drink a bunch of wine? Order too much food? Call your ex? Buy a bunch of shit on Amazon? Me — I like to get all liquored up and volunteer for charitable causes.
This isn’t some humble-brag about my subconscious altruism. It’s more of an admission. A cry for help. Please. Please help me. To paraphrase the inimitable Maxine Waters, please, help me to reclaim my time.
Because here’s the thing. I have no time. I work full time. I go to graduate school full time. I have two dogs who punish me if I don’t walk them twice a day. I own a home, which seems to require just enough of my daily time and attention that I’m always running behind. And since my parents have decided to spend their retirement on a beach, I have become the de facto property manager for their house as well. I feel like I am constantly busy, constantly late, and I never have the time or energy to do any one thing particularly well.
And yet, with the right amount of wine in my system, I become Bill fucking Gates. I have all the time and money in the world. Abused dogs? Grab my checkbook! Homeless veterans? I’ll make sandwiches all Saturday long! Kids with cancer? Here! Take this gift card for the silent auction!
I can’t stop.
So why do I do it? I think it’s because when I drink, I fancy myself some sort of community organizer. I channel Barack when I have Chardonnay coursing through my blood. I’m just people, people who need people.
All kidding aside, when I drink, I tend to be more in touch with my emotions. I don’t have to be stoic or professional or tough. I can be unabashedly sentimental. Genuinely twee. I can allow myself to believe that a group of people who care, who are willing to sacrifice their money and time, can change the world in a small but significant way.
There is a very real community that comes out of the woodwork when you’re brave enough to ask for, or offer, help. I have seen it firsthand with my own business. There was always someone who, over drinks, would offer to save the day for my business partner and me. And I am forever indebted to them.
So perhaps that is what drives my need to drunkenly offer up my help. On one hand, it’s a moment in which I let my guard down, a moment when I can allow myself to believe that the world can be a good place. But it’s also a place where I am able to pay it forward, to thank those who helped me, by helping others where I can.
Maybe it’s a misguided, Chardonnay-infused utopia. Or maybe it’s an idea we can all get behind. For sure, these days, the hope of a better world requires a suspension of cynicism. And that’s what the wine is for.
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