Drink of the Day?

January 11, 2007

Luminiferous Water

Recipe (old fashioned version):

1. Get a glass.

2. Place under tap.

3. Pour.

Recipe (fancy version):

1. Get a *nice* glass.

2. Place under bottle of store-bought water.

3. Pour.

I understand that some die-hard readers of the salad might be confused by this posting. Not by the recipe, as I hope that non-alcoholic aqua vitae is still familiar in this day and age; rather, by the fact that my postings have been spotty as of late, and that this particular recipe seems to eschew the antiquarian in favor of the antediluvian. The truth is that I’m simply tired of alcohol. My weariness is not the result of a hung-over lament, and no monument to excess persists in my memory. It is enough to note that I see little happiness in further drinking, and much from the time that I stand to gain.

This is hardly the first time that I’ve been off the sauce. Were Isaac and dailysalad to count the number of times I’ve taken a break from booze, they would probably need more than one hand to do so. This teetering with teetotaling hasn’t been the product of excess, as I still can count my life’s hangovers on one hand, but more a symptom of my never really deciding a good reason to drink in the first place. I hadn’t tried alcohol before college, but all it took was a pretty girl to hand me a beer during freshman orientation week and I never really felt that a whit of consideration was in order, after all.

I don’t regret drinking. I have had some wonderful times at parties, and great conversations over a pint. Provided that you weren’t referred here by a search engine like Google or Technorati, we’ve probably had a drink or two together at some point. I’ve even made my own beer, which turned out rather well. For the most part, those were all happy times, but they leave a question lingering: would they have been any less happy without the booze?

This is not to say that alcohol, that great social lubricant, made the friendship of these times any less salient, or the happiness I felt any less authentic. But it remained an intermediary. Not too long ago, a friend of mine remarked, “I can’t stand mixers and get-togethers by themselves. It’s not that I don’t like talking with girls, it’s just awkward unless we’re at a bar.” As much as I felt that his experience was in harmony with my own, I had a subtle, lurking feeling that something was just wrong with the whole thing. It wasn’t until much later that I realized what bothered me: at the same time that alcohol removes obstacles toward doing what we want, and saying what we will, it robs us of the chance to grow and to learn from these same challenges.

If I had the chance to do it all over again, I doubt that I’d change much. So much of our society is wrapped up with liquor and drinking that I’d be hard-pressed to understand many beautiful metaphors (Rumi alone makes it worthwhile), much less the experiences of my peers, had I not started with that first drink, had I not simply gone with the flow of things. Yet, with that knowledge quite secure, I’m not of a disposition to look down that path any further. There are many things I’d like to do, many challenges I’d like to try with a less sure footing.  Time is wasting, and I want nothing to regret.

Not twice this day
Inch time foot gem.
This day will not come again.
Each minute is worth a priceless gem.

Who knows.  Maybe dailysalad will let me begin anew, so that I might discharge “Drink of the Day” to someone who writes with a less jaundiced eye. In keeping with the highfalutin tone of Yesterday’s Salad, I could then compose a “Platonic Dialogue of the Day” instead.  I wonder.

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