The Club Texts When We Get Home

No one says goodbye anymore. At least, not women. No one is saying see you soon, catch ya later. No more so longs, farewells, or auf wiedersehen adieus. Instead, as they’re rounding the corner or taking the stairs down to the River Styx (more commonly known as the C train), they’re shouting “text me when you get home.” Because we live in a world where a woman’s safety is not a guarantee. Our send-offs have become pleas, because we know the danger in a quiet subway car, or a poorly lit street. We don’t want it to be the final goodbye.

You know another way to avoid the final goodbye? Instead of saying it, you hunt down canned wine and dollar slices. That gives you another hour and a half, at least.

Our last Drinking Club gathering ended over rose cans and garlic knots while MM, MV, and I enlightened DR and MM’s coworker with our stories of growing up in the place that spawned Teresa Giudice. The work friend said he felt right at home, having spent his childhood watching telenovelas. But unlike our latest read, our slice of suburbia was not terrorized by a phantom who stole entire communities’ peace of mind. And not one of us is as masterful a storyteller as the late Michelle McNamara. Her notes could win a Pulitzer.

If you paid attention in 6th grade English, those context clues should be telling you that our last read was I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. The thoughtfully and obsessively researched book is the result of McNamara’s fixation with the Golden State Killer, the serial rapist and murderer that stalked California in the 1970s and 1980s.


The flap copy calls this book an “atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history;” that couldn’t be more accurate. McNamara transports the reader to the subdivisions of Northern and Southern California, where unexplained footprints beneath bedroom windows and noises along the fence lines foreshadowed horrific violations. We get to observe the police bullpens and crime labs where gruff detectives and everyone’s favorite hunky criminalist (where my murderinos at) became consumed by the mystery of the man who committed 50 sexual assaults and 10 murders before vanishing.

McNamara does all of this with an unwavering sense of humanity, sharing only enough information to make your hair stand on edge, but never feel exploitative towards the victims. She exposes the dark corners of her own past that led her to her obsession with the East Area Rapist and Original Night Stalker, allowing you a glimpse of a mind that, in order to understand the darkness, plunges headfirst into it. McNamara passed away before completing the book, before the world knew who the Golden State Killer was. Her colleagues and family finished for her, impressively maintaining her voice while piecing together her notes and published work to create the final chapters.

McNamara’s writing, more than anything, captures the fear and despair that sent these families and communities spiraling. How do you fight the feeling that your worst nightmare is patiently waiting for you to close your eyes, that there’s nothing you can do to prevent it from striking again? How, as someone sworn to protect the community, do you live knowing you couldn’t do anything to stop him, let alone identify him? How do you also confront McNamara’s untimely passing, that your life could end in an instant?

You make plans. You YOLO. You live by the inspirational quotes on the tchotchkes your elderly aunt gets from the Hallmark store. You dance like no one’s watching, in the rain. Because the stark cold reality is that there is nothing we can do to prevent the monsters from coming after us. This makes us control freaks oh so comfortable. There’s no shortage of Type As in the Drinking Club. You should see the things some of us can do with a spreadsheet.

So what are we planning for? For starters, we’re prepping for the copious amounts of hurricanes and Sazeracs we’ll be drinking at LL’s nuptials next spring. The AirBNB hunt has commenced. DR is journeying to Southeast Asia and is currently accepting applications for a road trip through the Pacific Northwest (The Drinking Club Takes Portland, anyone?) MV is looking across the pond for fall adventures with her SO, while MM is planning some major career moves that make us all so proud. If the others decided to show up, I can brag about them too (what that subtle enough?)

What I’m walking away with after this book is to live fully and unapologetically. The only way to combat the shadows is to live in them, bringing the monsters into the light. So stay til last call. And text me when you get home.



The Club Plans for the End Of Days…and Swimsuit Season

Have you ever had one of those moments where someone looks at you like you’ve grown a second head? Eyes simultaneously widening and narrowing in your direction, a silence so cinematic you can count the beats between what you said and their reaction?

I was telling the Drinking Club, as we noshed on killer burrata in a tiny basement restaurant in the West Village, that I had spent the previous night volunteering with an organization that encourage students to discover a love of writing. I had hoped they would appreciate some of the creative short stories the students had written, particularly one about a shep (a magical sheep, in case you’re not up on your fantastic beasts lexicon) named Toasterhead who wants to be transformed…into a waffle. By a monkey witch doctor.

AM was deeply disturbed by this tale. What does it say about me that I was charmed by it?

It was clear, that evening exploring the inner workings of a first grader’s imagination, that the human mind is capable of both creating wonder that opens our minds, and horror that causes our palms to sweat. The latter applies to our latest read, which struck at our deepest fears so effectively that some of us couldn’t finish the book.


Emily St. John Mandel’s thrilling and freaky apocalyptic tale Station Eleven shows the reader what could happen to our humanity if the human race were to go extinct. Alternating timelines take us into the lives of an aging actor, his first wife, his best friend, a paparazzo-turned-paramedic, and a child actor before and after the deadly Georgian Flu outbreak. As they cope with personal and global fallout, each questions their past and what they’ve left behind, and what future they want to create for themselves. When a meglomaniac prophet begins wreaking havoc on the new world, those left must fight to preserve the fragile order that has been constructed. Although, I’m gonna say: regardless of whether 99% of the population has been killed by the worst cold, it is never okay for kids to start reading from the Book of Revelations. That’s some serious M. Night Shyamalan shit. Although I guess you could say the same thing about sheep becoming waffles.

All this talk of the world ending naturally led to a discussion of our own short time on this Earth. For reasons unknown, DR is convinced she’s getting offed first and has tasked each of us with very specific plans for her burial. This plan is complicated (think Viking funeral and you’re halfway here). I can think of no better way to celebrate her legacy.

But before we get there, we have to prepare ourselves for an equally dramatic event: swimsuit season. It’s been a brutal winter, I think we can all agree. And we’ve eaten a lot of mac and cheese to get through. It’s understandable. We don’t regret what we did. But because we live in a world where having a swimsuit body doesn’t mean having a body to put a swimsuit on, we need to figure out how to create a third stomach for mac and cheese (everyone knows you have a second stomach for dessert). Or burn down the patriarchy. We like Option 2 better.

What else is new with the Drinking Club, aside from finalizing our wills and stocking up on nonperishables?

  • AM got a promotion (finally) and MV found new employment (yaaaas).
  • I’m convinced it would be easier to find Carmen Sandiego than figure out where in the 50 states DD and MM are currently working, kicking ass and taking names.
  • AM and LL are heading to Iceland and Ireland this month. Here’s hoping they bring back Ryan Merriman.
  • DR will be exploring the beauty of the National Parks soon, and she’ll come back refreshed and tanned because of course she’s not going to die on a hike, like she keeps saying she will.


And now, we’re going to continue with our lives and not imagine the world ending when someone sneezes.

Until next time,