Retoxify Me

Sobriety has been fun, but it’s not for me. There’s less than 48 hours ’til my arbitrary self-imposed abstinence regimen comes to an end and I allow myself to enjoy a drink. Or two.

I was thinking of starting with a Campari and soda before dinner, then maybe a glass of pinot noir with the meal, and perhaps some amaretto as a digestif. Then it would be time for some serious drinking, perhaps a Sazerac or two, a Manhattan, an old-fashioned? I know from past experience that breaking such a fast can be tricky.

So I am taking any and all suggestions. What would you have if you were coming off a 36 1/2 day anti-bender?

P.S. Here is a mix of my favorite drinking songs, to get you in the mood… for drinking.

A Nite on the Town

Last night I went to a party for a friend’s 40th birthday. There was a giant screen in the yard upon which were projected videos from the early days of MTV. It was also a karaoke system. I’ve always been skeptical of karaoke as a concept, but come to think of it I don’t think I’ve ever really seen full-blown karaoke action until last night. It was actually a lot of fun — to watch. I didn’t give it a try myself, though I might have if I’d stuck around longer.

As it was, I headed out to the Circle Bar to see Bloomington’s own Early Day Miners. Great show. Afterwards I helped the band load their equipment up to their hotel nearby. We ended up back at the Circle Bar where a guy from Detroit named Lester struck up a conversation with me. We had an interesting talk, but it kind of bummed me out when he asked me for money. Was the whole conversation just a hustle? I probably should have gone home then, as it was around 2:00 AM, but instead I accompanied the band uptown to St. Joe’s in search of a good mojito. They do mix ’em good there. Afterward we stopped at The Saint for a last round, and I got home around 5:30.

Despite downing quite a few drinks over the course of the evening, I wasn’t too hungover today, but I took it easy nonetheless, napping and doing the crossword and really not worrying about anything, which was a nice change of pace.

Xy, on the other hand, has plenty to worry about because Monday is the first day of school. I took Friday off to help get her classroom set up.

As long as I’m catching up on recent events, I should mention that Friday was also the last day for my boss at work. By now I expect he’s well on his way up to the Great White North. He will be missed.

On Thursday we presented him with a gift of a pair of steel-toed Wolverine work boots, which he’ll surely need for the vast acreage he’s purchased up there.

On Wednesday he and I went out for lunch at Coop’s Place and then checked out the new exhibit at the Historic New Orleans Collection, which is titled “City of Hope.” Fascinating stuff, and I highly recommend it. It doesn’t leave one feeling very hopeful, however. The exhibit provides historical context for the Katrina disaster. After taking it all in, I couldn’t help but wonder. We seem stuck in the third world here — could it be because we’re always recovering from disaster?

Good & Bad Friday

Nice to have a holiday. I have Maundy Thursday and Good Friday off — an advantage of working at a Catholic institution. It has given me the opportunity to reflect on how close to “normal” our lives have become, despite the devastation that surrounds us.

We planned to meet some friends at the recently reopened Finn McCool’s for some drinks, to break my booze-fast and make it a Good Friday indeed.

But as we got ready to ride our bikes over there, we discovered that Xy’s bike was missing.

Stolen, apparently!

Xy was mad as hell, and of course our thoughts harkened back to that guy sniffing around our back yard.

Ah well. Perhaps our homeowner’s policy will cover it. In any event, we made it to Finn McCool’s and I broke my fast with a Guiness, a whiskey and coke, a gin and tonic, a whiskey sour and a tequila sunrise. And, upon our return home, a fine bourbon cut with mineral water.

All very nice, but I’d rather have Xy’s bike back.

Self-Induced Sickness

They say people are drinking more in New Orleans these days, and I believe it. I’ve certainly been doing my part. I’ve been drinking plenty. I justify this by telling myself I’m stressed out, and that a drink or three will help me relax and temporarily alleviate the anxieties associated with living in a disaster zone.

I wouldn’t say it’s become a problem — at least not yet. But I’ve been keeping an eye on it. I always feel the need to check myself periodically, so I was planning to give up alcohol for Lent, like I did last year. Just after Mardi Gras, which is just around the corner. It’s hard to give up drinking just before Mardi Gras, after all.

But last night I was a little shocked to realize that I put away almost half a fifth of Wild Turkey 101. And a glass of wine, too. Just in one evening.

The good news is today I’ve got a creeping hangover. Not so bad when I first rolled out of bed, but getting worse throughout the morning. Headache and nausea. I actually had to go home from work for a few hours and sleep it off. A couple hours napping, then I was feeling almost normal, and back in the office right after lunch.

I call the hangover good news, because if I didn’t have a hangover after drinking that much bourbon, it would mean I have built up even more of a tolerance. And increased tolerance is one of the measures of addiction. Furthermore, the hangover also puts me on notice: I can’t wait until after Mardi Gras to check myself. I need to back it off now. And the hangover actually makes that easier, because right now the thought of alcohol is somewhat revolting.

But it’s quite embarrassing that this interfered with my ability to perform my job. I feel foolish and ashamed. I should probably keep this information to myself. Certainly I shouldn’t post it to my blog. After all, my boss reads my blog. I sure wouldn’t want him to read this confession. That wouldn’t do. Wouldn’t do at all.

Beer Break Fast

No, I didn’t have beer for breakfast this morning. But last Friday, I broke my beer fast. I haven’t really had any alcoholic beverages since Mardi Gras; I gave ’em up for Lent and just kept going past Easter. So Friday was my first drink in about two months. I had a couple beers with dinner at Katie’s. It was a beautiful evening for sitting outside on the patio, but the beer didn’t really do much for me, except make me feel bloated and somewhat stupid.

Well, I thought, maybe it’s the brand. Abita Amber, the local brew by default. It’s on tap almost everywhere in New Orleans, and frankly it’s just not a great beer. Maybe I needed a better beer. Maybe I need a higher alcohol content. I know that sounds counter-intuitive.

So Wednesday night I had a Pilsner Urquell and a Fransiskaner Weissbeir at the Brewhouse on Carrollton with some oysters.

Normally we go to Tyler’s for oysters. But the oysters at Tyler’s have been bland and dirty lately; the flavor may be due to seasonal variation, but blame the dirt on the shucker. The oysters at the Brewhouse were only slightly more flavorful, and not as cold as I’d have liked, but at least they were relatively clean. But I digress.

The beer was better. It didn’t leave me feeling bloated or stupid. And I enjoyed the flavor. But I didn’t really cop a buzz. And although beer commercials never talk about it, that’s surely one of the main reasons to drink beer.

Mind you, I used to drink a beer religiously as soon as I got home from work, and would get a very reliable buzz. Now, not so. Has my body chemistry changed? Have I unlearned how to drink? Can I reacquire the buzz if I apply myself? And would it be worth it?

I have noticed that I no longer get a low-energy feeling in the afternoons, as I used to. I can’t say for certain, but I have a theory that this is related to not drinking.

So one of these days — maybe tonight — I’m gonna try a mixed drink, maybe a bourbon and Coke or a gin and tonic or a whiskey sour or a Sazerac, and see how that hits me.