So I’ve been asked a few times this week by a couple of friends about my decision to explore the world of alcoholic drinks.
“I’ve always wanted to experience a blackout, a hangover or maybe—just maybe—a chance to wake up next to some random person, half naked. Oh man, the thrill. Exciting!”
Anyone that really knows me appreciates this. Everyone else smiles politely and regrets asking. But then asks again, with the addition of “No, seriously… so why do this now?”
Well, I went 35 years never having tasted a drop of alcohol… wait. Hold on.
I should probably say something more like ‘I’m 35 and have never tasted a drop of alcohol.’ Its more accurate. I mean, it’s not as if I’d be drinking at 12. I’m not a tween Disney star with a cool-parent-manager or from the Deep South.
So anyway, any way you want to phrase it, I am the typically the odd man out. Since my late teens I’ve been in hundreds—maybe thousands?—of situations where people are drinking by design or in general and the question of why I don’t drink comes up and (drum roll please) insert an awkward conversation followed by lots of questions and the obligatory faux apology for asking.
So, let me explain. I’ve never drank alcohol, never tasted it. Never really cared to and therefore never tried. So, one can imagine—as I’m sure you are right now—that something so extreme, so specific, so completely insane must warrant a very clear and detailed explanation.
“Oh, because of your religion?” No, that’s not a factor for my denomination or faith.
“Oh no, were your parents alcoholics?” Nope. In fact there was very little alcohol in my home, if any, while growing up. Well, Scope and cooking sherry… but I digress.
“Oh, um, so what’s the problem? You just need to try a drink. Let’s get you a beer. Come’on, it’s on me.”
Look, it’s pretty simple, but at the same time, I suppose considered kind of a complicated reason: I never did and then I just never did.
Oh sure, in the beginning I was worried about the control factor. As a teen, I was already pretty mouthy and very opinionated, funny, goofy. I didn’t feel like I needed to add to that dynamic anymore than nature did all on its own. I didn’t like the idea of being out of control, and time and time again I could see that alcohol—and drugs for that matter—would frequently put my friends in that very situation. So in the early days I avoided it. And then after some time, it just never came up and I never drank and then over time I was the guy that didn’t drink and didn’t care and didn’t want to, so… now I’m 35.
“So, why do this now?”
Again it’s a pretty simple answer. Since moving to DC and just a bit before my 35th birthday last September, I started to become interested in the idea of trying a few drinks. I don’t even remember when it started specially, but for the first time I was becoming interested.
Sometimes it was to celebrate a special event or sometimes because of how the drinks actually looked or smelled, but often because it sounded delicious. For example, often a good friend or my husband had a favorite drink and for the first time I can ever remember, I wanted to share in that experience. Then over time, certain wines, beers and the occasional mixed drink started to peak my interest.
And, honestly, I was looking for a new writing challenge.
Then shortly before my 35th birthday, I wanted to experience something new, something to explore and perhaps write about and share with an audience. And meth—so I hear—is a hell of a drug and erodes the part of your brain that happens to store creative writing, so that was out. So, alcohol was the choice.
[Insert heartfelt explanation of how I’ve also never done drugs and that the meth reference is a joke.]
And for now, that’s the simple truth.
I’ve thought about it, I’m excited about it and I’m doing it. And bonus for you! You get to read about it every drink, every step of the way. But no worries, I put some structure (control) around it: 1 drink of each drink chosen, 3 drinks a week tops for a year starting on 1.1.2012.
So, in the meantime between now and the turn of the year, I’m more than happy to answer any questions or suggestions you might have via the blog, twitter or Facebook leading up to the kick-off. Otherwise, if you’ll excuse me, I have some research to do, a few holidays to celebrate, and a liver to enjoy while it’s still speaking to me.