So, last Friday, I decided it was time to return to one of my favorite activities---meeting friends for Happy Hour. To be honest, I don’t even know the last time we did this. Well, I think they’ve done it recently. But, not me. One of our regular watering holes is a small, local place---it’s one of those “Cheers” kind of places…..where everyone knows your name. You know what I mean……it’s not the kind of place to go for a drink, sit in a dark booth and have some serious conversation. It’s a place to chat with my kids’ kindergarten teacher, talk with old neighbors, find out what’s happening with old friends and share news with half the community I grew up in. As you can tell--- it’s a place to go if you want to talk and laugh and get caught up on gossip. The perfect stop at the end of a long week. Like their sign says….A Place Where Good Friends Gather.
Now, in my pre-LapBand life, my Happy Hour drink was always---gin and tonic with lime. And, at this particular bar—where the owners are dear friends…..they know Judi drinks gin and tonic with lime. Sometimes even double lime. And, it’s not just any gin, thank you. They know that it’s Tanqueray. But, as you know---I cannot drink carbonated stuff. The gin is okay. The lime too. But, put a shot of gin with a lime in a body that doesn’t eat too much and those good friends would be carrying me out the door. Not the thing to do in a place where everyone knows your name! Ah, the challenge of doing Happy Hour after LapBand.
Carol, the owner’s sister and Tessa, an adorable, sweet young woman, were bartending when I got there. “Oh my God, you lost a shit ton of weight!” Carol greeted me (as only a bartender could!) as I climbed on my bar stool next to Pam, a Friday Happy Hour regular. “OOOOH!” Tessa and Pam cooed in unison. Beaming, I accepted their compliments as Kate, one of my wonderful, spirited Happy Hour partners, walked towards us. “Doesn’t she look great?” Kate chimed in as she greeted me with a hug. “What is your secret?” Pam gasped. Hmmm. The moment of truth.
“Well, I had Weight Loss Surgery,” I said. “OOOOH….” they all nodded. “I had LapBand….” I explained. I could see their minds going. Pam leaned forward as if she wanted to know more. But, before anyone knew it, Tessa was dialing the phone. “You have to talk to my Uncle Mike” she told me as she dialed. “He is thinking about it. He really needs it…..he eats sooooo much…..Uncle Mike……here talk to Judi……she just had the LapBand……” she handed me the phone across the bar. As I was chatting with Mike on the phone, the owner walked in. Carol loudly called over to him, pointing to me—“Look at Judi! Look at Judi! She had LapBand Surgery.” Jim meandered over as I sat chatting with Uncle Mike (who I came to learn is a 57 year old man who says he doesn’t even know he’s eating!) and gave me a huge kiss on the cheek “You look great baby! Give her a gin and tonic on me!” he called over to his sister. Immediately, I put my finger up and asked Mike to excuse me for a moment….”No, I can’t have that….” I called over to Carol. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Jim’s body slump against the wall…..”What? No gin and tonic for Judi?” he asked, exasperated. “No tanqueray?” he asked in utter disbelief. “No, no tonic…” Kate answered for me since I was once again caught up in a conversation with Uncle Mike. “Oh, okay…..give Judi a gin and lime then……” he told his sister. Again, I tried to intervene but the conversation with Uncle Mike, the unconscious eater who was considering LapBand, took an intense turn. How could I tell Uncle Mike to hold on as he told me the most intimate details of his life. So, I watched as Carol poured the tangueray into a short, stalky glass. Then, as she squeezed the lime, she looked over to me “Ice?” she asked. I nodded affirmatively and gestured for her to put lots of ice……lots of ice........
And, thus began my first LapBanded Happy Hour.