Day 061: Bev of the Week – Budweiser
This line is stretching for miles. After a couple my minutes, my face is already drenched in sweat. The cavernous aisleways of Michael’s reek of sweat, desperation and fake cinnamon-pine. The true scent of the season. Everyone in line sways back and forth. Some tap their feet, others sigh and even a couple catch up on old times. I can feel the sweat glisten on my face. So glad I didn’t wear a coat.
There isn’t even a holiday this week and the fever is in full swing. The grocery store was a jam pile of frantic shoppers. Everybody came to beat the crowd next week. They in turn became “the crowd”. I staggered around the grocery store, haphazardly running into carts on my way, trying to get all of the ingredients gathered. This is the first year that I’m in charge of cooking multiple things on Thanksgiving. I was driving myself mad, ready to surrender and curse the holiday. But then something caught the corner of my eye in the beer case and suddenly, I felt okay. The holidays are okay. Trying to keep up with 4 different casserole recipes made my head spin, but I’m still standing.
Definitely standing. Endlessly, in this line. A phone rings incessantly, only adding to the calm madness. People have cartloads of wreaths and wrapping paper. And I’m standing here dumbly with one little package. A cheap little plastic clamshell that I could easily walk out with. As I start to feel the wetness of my armpits, a cashier yells at a customer. After all this time standing in line, somebody realized that they had forgot something as soon as they got to the register. There’s a collective groan as she says that she’ll be right back.
At least the line provides minimal entertainment. A lady fiddles with an ornament and breaks it, prompting her to leave the line. She had a problem getting around a person with a suitcase-sized Rice Krispie treat. Do I need more wrapping paper? No. How about some Oreo candy canes? Shut up, Troy. I stare blankly at the Christmas design catalogs strewn about the bookshelf. This could be my home. It’s not going to be, but it could be. This plastic clamshell will make it feel like home, at least. It’s no fireplace and eggnog bowl, but it’s something. It’s still home.
Home. That sounds great. The cold wind blinds me as I shuffle down Atlantic Ave. I hope I have batteries. I probably have no batteries. Good job, dingus. I can feel the beard sweat freeze to my face. It quickly melts as I descend to the humid train station. I watch as one by one, trains go by in a conga line. Each one is emptier than the last, but not empty enough. Third time’s a charm. The front car is sleepy. Sparsely inhabited by tired souls. Exhausted, yet feeling accomplished from a day well done, just waiting to get home.
I drop my backpack onto the bed and wipe the sweat off my face. I reach into the fridge and grab a cold Budweiser. Man, I love that sentence. It says so much, yet nothing at all. Let me write that again. Ahem. I reach into the fridge and grab a cold Budweiser. Hell yeah. But this isn’t a normal Budweiser. It’s one of those fun holiday cans that’s supposed to make you forget that you’re drinking Budweiser.
It caught my eye at the grocery store for a reason. The design of the can harkens back to the commemorative mugs that my Dad would get for Christmas every year. The man hardly ever drank, but for some reason, he had an expanding collection of porcelain mugs. As a kid, when I was at my most bored, I would marvel at them. I’d usually do so during the summer and dream about the holidays to come. I’d admire the paint job on the Clydesdales, as they trudged through the snow among the happy trees. Just thinking about it makes me warm inside.
Growing up in a sober household, I would usually associate the name Budweiser with Christmas. I wish I could go back to that kind of innocence. With these commemorative cans, I feel a little bit closer to it. Inside, the bev tastes just how you would expect. It’s a cold beer that goes down smooth, as long as you don’t let it get warm. Drank by billions, loved by thousands. Its fucking Budweiser. You know what you’re getting. But sipping it out of this can, after the day I had, makes me feel different. Drinking it makes me feel at home, especially in the home that I made for myself.
Rising from my seat, I know it’s time to put on the finishing touches. I pull the package out of my bag and rip it open. I steal a few batteries from various remotes and place them cafeully. I step back, finish my beer and marvel. The streetlights really do add a nice touch. It isn’t much, it isn’t very bright, you might not even notice it, but it really adds definition to the setting. One hundred percent worth the wait. Now this. This feels like home.
The holidays are rough on everybody, especially if you’re homesick. If you are feeling that way, remember that there are little things you can do to make the place you’re living in feel like home. Whether it be a decorative can or a miniature light that you stood in line for an hour to buy. Trust me, it’ll make all the difference.