Wednesday, March 23rd, 2005 • 3 Comments on Bottled Up
There is a bottle of champagne in my refrigerator that has been there since 1993. Strange? I suppose, but it gets stranger. That bottle of champagne has been moved from South Carolina to Rhode Island to Virginia. In that time, it has resided in three different refrigerators. The current refrigerator that holds the champagne is less than two years old. I’m guessing I may be the only person who has a bottle of champagne in their refrigerator that is older than the refrigerator. Hopefully, that bottle will never be opened. I say “hopefully” not because it probably tastes like vinegar at this point (what does twelve year old champagne taste like?), but because if I’m drinking that champagne, life has been very, very
bad to me.
We bought our first house in 1993 after a military move to South Carolina. The champagne was a housewarming gift from our real estate agent. We didn’t crack it open immediately because it needed to be chilled, but God knows we needed a drink after wading through the delightful house buying process. Since it didn’t get opened immediately, I said we should wait until we got everything unpacked, the rooms painted and the house in order before opening it to celebrate. Well, you know how long it takes to get settled. Months went by, the champagne got pushed to the back of the refrigerator and life went on.
Fast forward seven years to our next military move. This time, we were going to Rhode Island for a short six months before moving on to Virginia. I remember Jay suggesting we go ahead and open the champagne or get rid of it, but I resisted. I said we should save it and open it once we got relocated and our house sold. So I packed it in a cooler with some road snacks and we were off for a hellish two-day drive to Rhode Island in January following a nor’easter. We made it to Rhode Island and the champagne went back into the refrigerator while we waited for our house in South Carolina to sell.
Our house sold quicker than I expected and everything went relatively smoothly, so it didn’t seem like we should open the champagne. Leave it to me to suggest we wait until we closed on our next house in Virginia before we had a celebratory drink. That wasn’t a smooth experience, but Jay closed on the house by himself while I was still in Rhode Island and by the time I got down here we were in the middle of the packing/painting/settling routine once more. The champagne, moved once again in a cooler, went into the refrigerator and life went on.
There have been times in between the moves when something happened, something stressful or upsetting, and I would say, “When I get through this, I’m going to open that bottle of champagne.” Somehow, I’ve always gotten through everything—including the moves—only to look back and think that whatever it was I just got through wasn’t serious enough or awful enough or traumatic enough to warrant opening an old bottle of champagne. So the champagne sits, on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator, tucked away for the day when it’ll truly be needed—and finally be opened.
If the day ever comes when I have to open that bottle of champagne, I will have just gone through something pretty awful and survived. The champagne might taste lousy, but it will be symbolic—of surviving, of persevering, of living.
Of course, if I ever drink that 1993 bottle of champagne, it might just be the death of me.