Well, that’s week one of no booze over and done with! Yes, just like loads of other foolish people at this time of year, I’ve decided to dry out for a bit, just to see what it’s like (and to save money- some places still don’t overcharge for lime and soda).
Apart from saving the pennies, and maybe shrinking the beer belly a bit, it’s interesting to see what happens when there is no booze to act as social lubricant, stress-reliever, pulling facilitator, and even meditation aid; I once (just once) found myself having a shot of vodka to assist my night-time routine, which probably set me back on the path to enlightenment by a few incarnations.
And actually, it’s not as bad as all that; it just means you stay in instead of being down the pub or private view (free beer! sometimes!) and finally face doing the stuff that consistently falls off the end of your to-do list on the grounds of pointlessness, boringness or timelessness- in the bad sense.
Oh and did you know there is never really ‘no time’? It just comes down to choices and priorities, and I don’t mean that in a finger-waggling life-coach sort of way, but just as a fact to be borne in mind next time you or someone else uses it as an excuse to be a fake friend/ messy housemate/ unproductive artist/ not go to South London etc etc.
So anyway…I’ve painted my nails and toenails at the same time, gave the shower the scrub of its life, sorted out my hard-drives, cleaned footprints off a bench-box someone at our party mistook for podium and nailed up an annoying IKEA storage contraption that another party guest (well, probably the same one) had yanked off, spraying my clothes across the floor where they stayed for a few weeks. Yeah, it’s been a non-stop fun fountain around here! It almost makes me want to do my tax return, though for now I’ll go with the excuse that it’s ‘too early’ (that’s what the last week of January is for, as all freelancers know).
At least I can comfort myself with the knowledge that unlike other people, some of whom are undertaking a sponsored ‘dryathlon’ for charity (cringey neologism alert! and why does everything have to be for charity, can’t people do things just ‘cos?) I am not going til the end of the month. Not only because I don’t believe in abstinence as a general rule- it usually makes you crave the forbidden fruit even more- but because my birthday falls smack in the middle of January, before suicidal Monday and after two weeks of detox doldrums.
I used to think my birthday’s timing was crap, but experience has shown that it provides people, and me, the perfect excuse to unlpug the financial, diet and alcohol detox fantasies and get back to beer/ crisp guzzling. Although I’ll be going easy on the booze this year; bad scheduling means I have to work the next day, and not just on the laptop in my PJs.
So, no hard feelings if you had a planned to shower me with champagne on the day, but I’m afraid it will be a sensible night by necessity for me- proof I may be acting my age, perhaps? (I’ll be 33, since you ask- I hate it when women won’t divulge their age, like it’s some evil incantation that causes hotness and job opportunities to mysteriously evaporate the instant it’s uttered…so I repeat, 33, GOD DAMN IT!).
Which is not to say I will be staggering around drunk stuffing my face with donuts post-birthday, however. I try my best to live by the ancient Greek maxim my father is fond of: ‘πάν μέτρον άριστον (pan metron ariston)- translation ‘all in good measure/ moderation’ or ‘everything must have a limit’. Greek debt jokes aside, this is far harder and more useful than it sounds, since usually if something is good (biscuits), we can’t get enough of it, and if something is not so good (pulling congealed hairs out of the shower drain), we want it to end. Balancing them out is tricky.
And as for booze, the British Liver Trust agrees; they actually recommend you drink steadily but moderately throughout the year, taking a few days off every week for your liver to recover, rather than doing the ‘medically futile and potentially harmful’ (thanks, Guardian) A&E December/ dry January combo. Or ‘Janopause’, in Daily Mail parlance…FFS. So there you have it- go ahead and drink and be merry but don’t forget to do the sodding tax return on your days off. See, I told you it was harder than it sounds.