Monday, August 25, 2008

Another maudlin exchange

I appear to be in the grip of a 'post-Olympics depression' already. Or perhaps it's my ongoing mid-life crisis reasserting itself after a couple of weeks of comparative buoyancy (and non-self-reflection)......

Late on Sunday night, after all the Closing Ceremony ballyhoo was concluded, I came up with the following bitterly philosophical insight.

Me: "I'm fed up with being poor."

Drinking Companion: "You make enough money to live well."

Me: "I make enough money to stay drunk. It's not the same thing."


Anonymous said...

I guess how one earns ones hard to come by wage is one problem. The next is how to spend it once you have the notes in your pocket.

Some people gamble, some drink, some invest badly, some buy clothes, some buy drugs, some steal more money to buy more drugs. It depends on your personal fix.

Some would say if you can drink it away then you have enough money but they forget the nature of addiction. Many people drink their wage away.

It accounts for the "I don't get hangovers" you often mention. I knew a man for many years who never had hangovers either. There is no time in a serious drinkers life for hangovers. Or to put it another way, life becomes one long hangover.

Froog said...

I was kidding about the "staying drunk" thing. I meant I have enough money to get drunk-ish whenever I feel like it..... which is a few times a week, and can cost as little as a couple of bucks each time. Hence, the fact that I spend a lot of time in bars or restaurants does not mean that I enjoy any very significant level of financial security out here. That was my point.

My "no hangover" thing isn't really about "staying drunk"; it's about mental attitude and pain threshold.... as I think I've discussed on here before. After an occasional very heavy night out I might feel just a little fucked up; but I've been really fucked up in my life, so I know it ain't all that bad: I just shrug it off, ignore it.

I am a "serious" drinker in a different way than is commonly intended by the use of the term. I'm almost 'Zen' about my drinking. I recognise that it is an important part of my life, and I genuinely enjoy it - in, I think, a very pure and non-destructive sort of way. I enjoy the places it takes me to, both geographically and in my headspace; I enjoy the people I meet through it; I enjoy the conversations we have, and the ideas it helps to birth.

I don't drink to hide from realities or inadequacies, I don't drink to try and drown my demons, I don't drink out of self-doubt or self-loathing. I'm a "serious drinker", not a "problem drinker". There are very few of us around.

Of course, it's a fine line between the two, and I may cross over it one day.... but I don't think so. I have an 'exploratory' personality, not an 'addictive' one. It's the difference between riding a rollercoaster and driving your car over the edge of a cliff.

A lot of drinkers have that 'crash & burn' impulse in them; I don't.

The British Cowboy said...

I'll back Froog up on this. He is a man who drinks more than most people I know. More than me, which is a pretty good indicator of being a heavy drinker. But I have also known problem drinkers, and he is most categorically not one of them.

I think I am in the same category as Froog - we both drink because we enjoy it, and in particular, because we enjoy the bar culture. I rarely drink at home; and if alcohol was forever removed from my life, as it has just been from a friend's, I would be sad, but I would suffer no physical harm or withdrawal. I would have to totally change my life, though, as my social life is pretty much totally built around alcohol.

Anonymous said...

I have joked with friends since my first years of college that "the best work happens at the end of the day." As that was the first period in my life that I regularly spent talking with friends drinking in the pub over the road this little line was not only amusing but often true.

Bars and drinking culture IS another form of culture. Our societies would be much the poorer without them.

However I don't buy your line "I don't drink to hide from realities." (I can't claim to know this but still. Comments are for airing opinion.)

As for crossing the "fine line", I don't suppose you have but if you did, would you know or frankly would you be in the “headspace” to care? Fine lines are usually points we see way behind us only evident because they were breached.

I guess my point is there are many intelligent enough, "functional", people in our communities (some we may know personally like my and BC's friends) who cross that line and they didn't think they had a problem. What you have beautifully written makes me want to go out and get another drink now to see the places, people and ideas in my head.

But don't underestimate the beautiful frailty of our human condition. Being a serious drinker is the only symptom not The Condition.