Routine

250ml Sicilian Nero d’Avola.

Like I mentioned, I had a drinking routine.

I would come home from work, make and photograph a Savoy Cocktail.

Attempt to get it blogged.

My wife would then get home from her work, and we would have a beer together.

After which, we would go out for dinner.

One of our favorite local pizza places is always busy and we’ve been going since it opened. As there is always a wait, the establishment let’s you hang out in a nearby bar and then they come and fetch you when your table is ready. We’d usually have another beer and play some pinball.

Well, they take the excuse to leave work and get a shot of Fernet, Jaeger, or Tequila at the bar, then tell you your table is ready. It’s a cozy arrangement.

So, by the time we’re finally in the restaurant and our salad arrives, we’re feeling pretty toasty. Of course, we then order a bottle of wine to split while we enjoy our dinner.

In January, I was trying not to drink, and so my wife just got wine by the glass. “Oh that is very healthy of you,” was the comment from the waiter.

Lately, we’ve taken to not drinking before dinner and then just ordering a carafe of wine to split with dinner, instead of a bottle. The waitress was downright Sarcastic with her comment about Carafes vs Bottles the last time we were in.

And it’s not even that they are grumpy that we are spending less, as often they would just charge us for two glasses, and serve us a whole bottle.

It’s like we’re letting them down. And, of course, they are now charging us full price for a carafe of wine.

No Drinking Alone

Seems like a no-brainer, eh?

However, my method for the entire Savoy Project was to get home from work and get a drink made, photographed, and blogged before my wife got home from work.

Early on, especially when I would attempt more than one drink in a night, (hey, I don’t like to waste,) this was a disaster.

As relationship mistakes go, unbalanced levels of inebriating substances being consumed has to be right up there in the top 10.

Being mostly in the bag before your significant other gets home from work is kind of a disaster.

Heck, the opposite is even challenging, one partner trying to stay sober, while the other doesn’t quite feel as urgent a need for sobriety.

Well, anyway, the new rule is, no drinking alone, and it is a good one.

Tightrope Walking

From a Shakestir.com interview with Mr. Erik Adkins:

“It’s a tightrope. I always think there are two types of bartenders: those who have quit drinking, and those who are on their way to quitting drinking. There are a lot of bartenders I know who have quit drinking, because you can’t manage it. If you drink at work and you drink when you’re not at work, then you’re just a drunk.

“In my 20s, you’d say, “Only drink after the sun goes down,” but during winter, that’s a problem. Now, I have a glass of wine with dinner, I may split a beer with another bartender, but you’ve got to have those boundaries.

“There was a bartender I once worked with, he’d only drink at work — when he was at home and on his days off, he wouldn’t drink. Most of us do the opposite. It’s hard, because then you get home and you want to unwind, and that’s at least two drinks — or three — and if you’re not careful, you’re gonna wake up and be tired. I have a set wake-up time, so if I decide to stay up late, I pay the price, and that reminds me the next time it wasn’t worth it.

“When you’re in your 20s, you don’t have to worry about it. In your 30s, it doesn’t hit you physically as much, but in your 40s, between eating restaurant food for staff meals and consuming alcohol, there are some serious lifestyle issues with your health. My doctors laugh and say it’s an occupational hazard, like it’s forgiven because of my job, but it still has that effect on your triglycerides and your blood sugar and all that stuff.

“You’ve got to set your lifestyle for what you’re going to be doing in your 50s and 60s.”

An Inappropriate Relationship

From an interview on ShakeStir.com with Mr. Dale DeGroff:

“I did have a period when I was a heavy drinker, but I don’t know a single bartender who’s out there working as an older man who still drinks heavily.

“A doctor said to me about 10 years ago, “You’ve got problems—they’re not serious, but your liver is stressed. You can keep drinking the way you are for another 10 years and then you’ll probably die; or, you can stop drinking for a while, and if you leave your liver alone and let it recuperate, you can probably go back to moderate drinking.” And that’s what I did.

“There comes a point—your body will tell you—that you either do what I did, or you take the tradeoff and die when you’re 65. I had a customer at the Hotel Bel-Air in L.A., who got exactly the same ultimatum I did at the same age. He’d sit at the bar and talk about it, and for a year he tried to stop drinking; eventually he said, “Oh, f*ck it,” and several years later, he died. He made the other choice, and he was happy—drinking was too much a part of his life, and his life wasn’t pleasant without it.

“Every bartender who’s a heavy drinker will have to make this decision when it’s time.”

Drunks & Drinkers

I admire people who drink without, (apparently,) getting drunk.

As a skinny, lightweight, drinker, the edge of drunk and too-drunk has always been a knife’s edge for me.

Not only that, but there are just some people who approach drinking differently than others.

A lot of people drink as part of a social interaction: go out to the bar, hang out with friends, drink some pints, chat, play darts, etc.

Have several drinks over the course of hours, pacing themselves, without apparent danger of disturbing the rules of the social contract or becoming out of sorts.

On the other hand, some people like to be drunk.

I’m one of those people, the ones who sometimes like to get a little too drunk.

Different people go different ways, when a little too drunk.

Most of the time, I am OK. Pleasant enough, smiling, if quiet, and somewhat mischievous. Fine.

On the other hand, sometimes drinking a little too much, is a descent into the yawning chasm of self-pity, insecurity, and anger which sits at the center of my being.

Again, as a skinny person, it is a knife’s edge, one drink this way or that, between pleasantly too-drunk, and unpleasantly too drunk.

And sometimes, it just seems to be mood, or my perception of the situation in which I find myself.

“Evil Erik,” my wife calls these bad trips. Mostly I just tend to leave, walk away from the situation in which I can clearly, drunkenly, see I am not wanted, or interested in participating with.

Some people believe that drinking, or other drugs, can make you a different person.

For the most part, I disagree.

I believe that whatever aspects you show when altered, are there with you, to a larger or smaller degree, all the time, perhaps sublimated under your restraint and respect for the rules of the social situations in which you are participating.

As a sober participant in social interactions, I can usually perceive that walking away from the people I am talking to, or ignoring their words, (words, so many words,) is something I should not do. I sublimate my fear, anger, and insecurity beneath my respect for the social contract.

However, this is something I had to teach myself to do, and have to sometimes consciously make an effort at. Let’s just say I have my Asberger tendencies.

When I was younger and I was bored with my friends, or felt like they weren’t interested me, I would simply walk away. Go inside the house and read, even if it was in the middle of a game or conversation.

I guess drinking too much turns me back into an 8 year old brat.

Ease of Use

When I was younger, I used to make Cassette mixes to impress girls I thought were cool.

This meant sitting next to my stereo, picking individual songs off of vinyl albums, playing them, and recording them to cassette in real time.

A cassette was/is 60 or 90 minutes long.

Aside from the planning effort, written longhand, this meant an effort of, say, a minimum of a couple three hours just to make a single mix tape.

Now, I feel like I am lucky to find the time to rip a few CDs to MP3.

Where did the time go?