Tuesday 20 August 2002

Make that a soda

Mark Pilgrim visualizes having too many drinks at his wedding reception:

This is how it goes, until a full-body numbness mixes in with the adrenaline and the lack of sleep and the awful awful music that I specifically asked the DJ not to play and the general oh-my-God-ness of actually being in the middle of my own wedding, and at this moment I suddenly realize that I’m feeling a little bit tipsy. It is this moment that you must understand, this moment that you do not understand, because you have lived this moment in your own way but never in the way that I have lived this moment, the way that I always live this moment. This is the moment that sets us apart, you and me, husband and wife, alcoholic and not. This is the moment where you switch to soda, but I do not.

When I read Mark’s post, my immediate response was: “Whoa, how are the wedding guests going to handle the “non-alcoholic bar”? But what I was really thinking was: “Whoa, how would I handle a non-alcoholic bar?”

I’d handle it fine, by flicking the switch in my head from “drinking” to “not drinking.” The problem is, though, that the switch can be somewhat stiff and difficult to flick at times.

Truthfully, it shouldn’t be a matter of “handling it.” Because “handling it” implies that “it” needs to be “handled.” It equals alcohol, and handling equals making sure everything stays under control. Which inevitably means rules: don’t drink before the sun has set, don’t drink on weeknights, don’t drink alone, don’t mix your drinks, don’t drink more than two beers and one glass of wine (or one beer and two glasses of wine), drink only low-alcohol beer, stop drinking when your face feels numb… the inexhaustible strategies of the addictive personality. Simpler not to drink at all. But that’s a big ask—when you like the taste, and the comfortable numbness, and the physical act of sipping your drink (I imagine that smoking offers similar pleasures and more).

But, at the wedding reception, I’d drink soda (lemon, lime, & bitters, actually), I’d watch and listen (and be far more present than if I’d had a drink or three), I’d talk and laugh and dance, and I’d be grateful to a host who respected his new wife and himself, and who—in demanding the best of his guests—had offered us all a remarkable gift.

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We had an open bar with beer and wine, no liquor. I really like beer. I managed to get through a glass and a half through the whole reception. You are not on your own schedule. You are at the mercy of your guests who don't care if you get a drink ;-)

Somebody is always there to tell you where to go next. It's time for this, it's time for that...pictures, food, cake, dancing, tossing of things.

Of course, maybe I'm just to easy to boss around...

Posted by Patrick Berry on 20 August 2002 (Comment Permalink)

Jonathon, did I ever tell you that you're a pretty classy person? Well, if not, let it be said now.

Posted by Burningbird on 21 August 2002 (Comment Permalink)

[Removed (spam)]

Posted by figt on 11 October 2003 (Comment Permalink)

This discussion is now closed. My thanks to everyone who contributed.

© Copyright 2007 Jonathon Delacour