Salubrious Saturday: “S.O.B.,” Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

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Your fearless heroine had a, shall we say, “wet” December.  The gauntlet that shoots one from Thanksgiving to New Years turned into a slip-n-slide of festive parties.  The moon rose on events and the sun rose on headaches.  It was a lot of fun.  Until it stopped being fun and started being kind of stupid.  There came a moment, around December 31st, when I woke up just felt generally unpleasant, like a washcloth that had been used too many times before being cleaned out.  So Mr. Yankette and I decided that we would have a “dry” January.  This means I haven’t had a single one of these drinks at all this month:

I also haven’t had any of these, which are of course in the liquor shelf in our kitchen:

  • Tanqueray 10
  • Green Hat
  • Green Hook
  • Oban Little Bay
  • Aultmore 12
  • Espolon
  • Santa Teresa
  • John Myer rye
  • Becherovka
  • Tito’s

I’m not here to preach the gospel of dryness.  Of course I feel great.  Obviously I feel great.  I am as clean and unblemished as a brand new window pane.  I’m squeaky and practically translucent.  And, this feeling is certainly nice enough to skip over what people who attempt this generally do after their dry month, which is plunge head first into a booze pool in February.  I’ll go back to my pre-holiday moderation, no problem.

But.  As a working professional in a busy, high-maintenance city, where networking happens around happy hours and drinks lubricate the awkward few minutes of conversation,  I hadn’t fully grasped the extent to which drinking punctuates daily life.  It’s the lingua franca of collegial complaints (“what a terrible meeting – is 11am too early to drink?”), and the liquid that forms the social cement (“We should get drinks sometime!”).  Substitute almost anything else in that sentence and you sound batty: “We should play tennis sometime!”  “We should paint landscapes sometime!”  “We should take a walk sometime!”  (That last one sounds suspiciously like a date.)     What to do?

Well the obvious answer, the best answer, is, order ginger ale at the bar when you meet your friends.  It’s not rocket science.  But that won’t protect you from good-natured ribbing, which is a curious phenomenon.  There is something of a wall between my friends and me that I didn’t notice until this month, and it’s entirely unexpected.  Friends feel very slightly awkward drinking around me.  They ask if I mind (I don’t).  They ask why I’m doing it (I say I felt gross and needed a break).  They consider this.  Time lumbers on.  It’s weird.  So I can’t deny that, once February comes around, I’ll feel a little more connected.

I also can’t deny that, while watching the GOP debate last night, I didn’t long for a dirty martini (or a hammer to the head, whichever is fastest).  A fun new parlor game is considering what my first drink will be on February 1st.  But a habit can turn into an identity, if left unchecked, and I’d much rather be more deliberative about drinking.  So my New Year’s Resolution is to only drink exquisitely delicious things, and to take my time about it, and savor it.  Chin-chin, y’all.

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