We are not alone. Drinking - like a nice bowtie - is cool. A drink isn't just a drink; it's a relief, it's a fuck you, it's a friend. It follows, of course, that a drinker isn't just a drinker. A drinker is an artist; he is perceptive; he is melancholic. He is Cheever and Fitzgerald and Hemingway and she is Parker. He is Churchill and Carlin and Sinatra and and she is Billie Holiday.
Plaza del Castillo, Jul 1959. Hemingway’s last visit to Pamplona
Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. This year both Jones and I are abstaining until Easter. I didn't offer much of a follow-up from last year; the whole experience was ostracizing, and came to a humiliating close the night before Good Friday. The consequence of my first night out after 40 days was waking up the next morning in a twink's pink bed (and pink bedroom) in San Cristobal, covered in my own vomit. As a consolation, he hadn't, at any point, been in that bed with me.
And still: I love drinking. That statement itself probably suggests I have a problematic relationship with it. Only: We all do. We always have. The Romans advised us IN LATIN that there are five reasons for drinking: the arrival of a friend, one's present or future thirst (ha!), the excellence of the wine, or any other reason.
Yes, Two Reg Men has covered this. Nevertheless, here we go again with grand ideas of learning to appreciate sobriety, with the hope that it will temper our tendency to embrace excess. Because for every drunken genius that can't handle the burden of his own cursed insight, there is the hungry lush in the gutter that not only has to face that same world - he has to face it alone.
A man called Jimmy Breslin said, “when you stop drinking, you have to deal with this marvelous personality that started you drinking in the first place.” Ain't that the fuckin' truth. My goal, by Easter weekend, is to have determined that I drink because I'm rad, not cause I'm sad. Glad; not bad. Wearing plaid; not mad.
(Sucks I can't reward, and then punish myself with a martini for ending the blog like that.)