I had a good idea for a blog tonight. Instead, that'll be tomorrow, and tonight I'm going to use this opportunity, to those who don't know, to explain my relationship to the drink. Doing this tipsy just makes perfect sense. If I slur my words, it's because my fingers feel heavy.
First, the facts. I didn't start drinking until about 4 months ago. "Whaaaa???" Say some; "you started drinking?!?!?!" say others. Yes, it's true both of you. Now be still and listen. The nature of this not-drinking was not absolute. A sip here and there didn't put me off, but until October 15th, 2010 I had never been drunk or even remotely buzzed. I really had no interest in alcohol or the effects imbibed (let's see most people using that word appropriately SOBER! Hell yeah). "No interest?" you say. Let me clarify.
At the age of 15, I had just finished my first ever musical, Oliver. Given it was my first musical, it should be no surprise it was my first cast party, and like any group of backwater high school students would do, we held it in a field! Ever the pragmatist, I decided I would venture into this new terrain clear of mind and body, and so instead took on the role of babysitting one of my closer friends on her maiden voyage into the sea of spirits and elixirs. After several trips to pee in the woods (most accompanied by falling over), multiple instances of vomit (just in general, not from my chum) and one friend running around all night sobbing loudly and peeking in tents in search of jesus (because someone had convinced him jesus had made it to the party and he was upset with said friend) I took stock of my surroundings and promptly swore off alcohol for the remainder of my high school years. Some would call it "straight edge" (which I thought was just dumb), but I just couldn't see what the fuss was about. Luckily it was no effort to reaffirm this belief by going to more parties (as anyone who remembers high school drinking parties should attest). Including a memorable moment after yet another large field party where a close friend went completely over the deep end, began preaching about how the earth needed our help and was weeping while sitting in the previous night's fire pit, sorting through broken bits of glass with bloody fingers. That was…haunting. Suddenly, the Mike's Hard in everyone's system didn't quite mask the reality of what was happening, and some started to grasp that sometimes that place that alcohol lets you access isn't all "good times."
There are of course other reasons that staved off the transition. Drinking involves a certain lapse of control that, at the time, seemed unsavory. Looking back now I know how important control was to me in those days, and know that viscerally that kind of loss-of-it would have been panic-inducing. Bad experiences abound, both at those parties and at home with an alcoholic step-father (for a thankfully short-lived period) right around the time I might have started played into it, but even before those traumatic events there was something more important to me: not being a peer-pressure statistic. I've often felt a need to play my cards differently than the common thread, and alcohol, for me, was a way to prove to myself that I didn't need to do what everyone else was doing. It wasn't even about fitting in or not, it was about proving my own resilience. That I could stand on my own (see what I mean about control?)
So why here, why now?
Well, college played out with similar motivations, and also a lack of funds. I don't know if being rich would've changed my outlook, but alcohol seemed such a silly habit to start when you were paying so much for tuition and it was all on student loans. College passed with, again, little to no interest in the mysteries of alcohol.
STATUS UPDATE: After being taken out by a friend for a couple of pints, I'm now consuming "mystery" wine I found in my apartment. Maybe, when living alone, wine you've never seen before should be left alone. I say, fuck it.
On the 15th though, I ended up at a close friend's house, sharing time with the same wonderful women from "Day 19". For this gathering we were having dinner and our spanish friend was making (as per usual) some of the most wonderful dishes I ever have the privilege of consuming. She's really wonderful. I can't even name the foods we were eating, THAT'S how high class this girl cooks. And when she says red wine goes with this meal, the non-drinkers (save Mormons...wierdos) simply nod yes.
On this particular night, for no better reason than I had been seriously dwelling on control and my need for it, I asked for a second glass, and then a third. In fact, I encouraged my girls to get me drunk and make it a good one. They obliged. The night sailed by with new sensations, stream of thought conversation, and some very necessary drunk dials to my best friends not present. At some point I ended up under the coffee table and at another found myself sliding down the staircase on my stomach. Whatever. It was awesome.
The next morning (by the grace of my friends' good advice about drinking water and whatnot), I woke up feeling great, if still a little unbalanced. I thanked my friend (who's floor I crashed on), got on the TTC home and got off a stop early to partake in some Tim Hortons breakfast sandwich. Oh. My. God. I felt like I had never truly understood the significance of the breakfast sandwich. It wasn't just passably good. It was perfect. I bought two, started eating them on the walk home, had the epiphany then turned around and marched back to Tim Hortons. I walked up to the counter to the woman who had served me earlier and exclaimed, "I get it!" She had no idea what I meant, but she took my order for a 3rd breakfast sandwich without complaint.
That experience was freeing, and I've been an enthusiastic (if not frequent) drinker of mostly wine ever since. I'd like to finish on a philosophical note about the ability to release yourself from past experiences and enjoy a little chaos. Unfortunately the sips that have accompanied this writing session have, ever so subtly, moved me from tipsy/drunk to just drunk.
Instead I will leave you with a fond farewell, and a merry christmas. Or whatever fucking seasons it is. Where's my bed?