Of all the things I could have inherited from my father (and let’s be honest, he didn’t have terribly many positive attributes to offer), I seem to have been blessed with these two things:-
1) Crippling Apathy: Don’t get me wrong, I have been in gainful employment for my entire adult life (and presumably always will be ). But I don’t have to like it.
2) An Intolerance to Alcohol: Some may not see this as a negative thing, but let me explain during the course of this blog why it really is…
In British society, at least, drinking is a very important part of our lives. Pub culture is alive and well over here – and nobody does the atmosphere of a pub better than us. Much is made of the individual who can ‘party’ the hardest and drink his or her compatriots under the table. And I can see why this would be appealing. Alcohol quashes your inhibitions; one becomes less reserved and more vocal. Those limitations that shyness put on a person become less of a problem.
But if you’re an angry-drunk, well then alcohol loses its high esteem because nobody likes an aggressive or maudlin soak. No, the optimal effect is one of ‘hilarity’; your inner joker is released. That’s the gold-standard, of course and here’s where my issue lies. Like I say, I have a very poor tolerance to alcohol. For my father, that could only be a good thing being that he has an addictive personally (gambling on the horses, smoking, over-eating), so if he could drink, he would do it to excess. I myself am far more likely to throw up than I am to reach my maximum potential of ‘party-animal’. But you see, drinking is a very important establishment in my society, so I have had to very slowly and carefully build up that tolerance (like a spy would with poison over a long period of time to withstand its deadly effects). And this hard-earned tolerance has been thwarted a couple of times by pregnancy and breast-feeding (goddamn it!).
The alcoholic beverage I hate the most is wine. Or more correctly, wine hates me. Which is a shame because wine tends to be the drink of choice in my circles. You attend any works night out or a meal with friends and the shout will go up, ‘shall we order a bottle of red or white to share?’. Erm…no, can we not..? One or two glasses of wine are very likely to make me chunder (and you know how much I hate vomiting) long, long before I can reach the desired pinnacle – being inebriated. And let’s face it, it’s very hard to split a food bill if you haven’t partaken of the wine.
My safest bet when it comes to an alcoholic beverage is vodka, lime and soda. I still have to maintain a careful eye on how much I drink of it, but it’s my go-to drink to survive a boozy night out. The difficulties start when you go to a house-party and ‘bring a bottle’. Oh how very simple it must be to grab a bottle from the supermarket shelf and show up with your well-chosen bottle of red or white in hand! Me? I have to rock-up with three separate bottles if I want the required ingredients to my ‘safe drink’. I must look like a complete tool with my supermarket plastic bag full of bottles clinking away – just to make one kind of drink! There’s just nothing sheek about it, unfortunately. And it really separates me from the crowd because my drink is harder to share. It is far easier to offer your bottle of wine around to others, whilst I must stand in a corner of the kitchen (looking much like a mad scientist) measuring out specific quantities of liquid from each bottle just to put together my concoction and offer somebody one glass of booze! I really ought to wear a lab coat and goggles.
And even the safe drink isn’t safe in some people’s hands. In our local pub, the publican will physically disallow you to order a single shot of vodka in your vodka, lime and soda. He insists that, ‘a double is only 30 pence more!’ and is positively aggressive if you stick to your guns and order the single shot that you require! I tell you, the world is against the careful-drinker.
If you told me that I actually had a very severe allergy to alcohol and could never touch a drop again, I wouldn’t be terribly upset. In some ways it would probably be a relief to have a bonafide excuse not to drink – the pressure to be a bit of a sot is tough sometimes.
I must reiterate that I can drink and I do so perhaps once a month on a night out (never at home – I can do what I like at home). But there is a fine line between nicely merry and, ‘oh my God, please let this vomiting end!’. I have to know exactly what glass is the last glass I can have and not allow peir-pressure to encourage me to have one more. Just like most people, I really like being drunk, but I have the disadvantage of always being aware of where I have to draw the line. Drinking does cut through my shyness and decreases my inhibitions. I am definitely funnier and more confident. But I don’t think I need it, and I could probably put on a show without it. Overall, my relationship with alcohol is probably a healthy one (albeit socially debilitating – I do envy those that can put it away). And whatever affliction it is that ends up killing me, it won’t be alcohol-induced liver cirrhosis. And as aforementioned in an earlier post, I won’t be dying of anorexia either.