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Sometimes, social anxiety soothing is necessary.

20 Dec Hello! I'm on the left! The Washington Monument is to the right, not pictured.

Last night, We Were Pirates played a show at the W Hotel’s POV Lounge. It was a different kind of show than usual, in a different (classy! except for when people get stabbed I guess) venue, and I don’t really get nervous about shows, but I was pretty anxious last night before we went on. Then some more friends arrived and I realized I needed a drink. I wasn’t really drinking because we wanted to be sure to have a stellar performance, but it was at this point that I also realized that needing a drink does not: a) automatically make you an alcoholic, or b) always have to end in sloppy drunkenness.

So (I did that thing where you start a sentence with “So,” which is apparently all over social media and such) I sidled up to the bar with my friends and tried to figure out what to drink. My drink special choices were $5.50 Miller Genuine Drafts (not a bad beer – I’ll always have a soft spot for it because it’s the first beer I drank at a college party where I was like, “Oh, wait, I have stepped over a line. Beer is not awful. I could actually decide to drink this and enjoy it.”) and $8 “Cherry Manhattans” which… yeah. I had a sip of someone’s and it was like those chocolate cherries filled with medicinal liqueur. Although someone else bought me one after the show and it strangely was not as foul. And then I realized we had a band tab, and I could get whatever I wanted for free, so I asked the magic words:

“What do you have for scotch?”

That, my friends, is when at the end of a long list of sundries, I parroted, “Yes. Lagavulin.” Because I know some people who like that stuff. I also know myself well enough to know that I needed two rocks in it. And upon my first sip or two, all anxiety vanished, and then we played a ridiculously good show. I took occasional sips between songs, which was amazing and not like chugging beer or guzzling a Jack and ginger with a straw, which is what I’m ashamed to admit I usually do¬†between songs. Repeat mantra: Needing a drink does not always have to end in sloppy drunkenness. Drinking is okay. Sometimes it’s more than okay; it’s necessary. And I am totally okay with that.

Rating:
Deliciousness: **** (add or subtract one star depending on whether you, you know, actually LIKE scotch)
Social Anxiety Soothing: *****
Table Dancing Probability: 50% (Depends on the venue. At the POV Lounge, the people watching is so good, there’s no need for you to actually dance. And no, I don’t mean there were fancy famous people there like we’ve all been led to believe. I mean there were lots of drunk people sloppily making out and bumping and grinding on the dance floor and climbing onto the windowsills and making silly poses with the Washington Monument. So you just leave the table dancing to that crowd, why don’tcha.)

Not drinking is okay.

23 Aug

That would probably be rule #1 of Booze Therapy, if we had rules like Fight Club. You can talk about Booze Therapy all you want, though…talking is important.

Anyway, the new man I mentioned in my last post doesn’t drink. I, on the other hand, occasionally contribute to a blog called “Booze Therapy,” for chrissakes. So you know what’s great about that? It doesn’t matter.¬† I do drink a bit less than I used to, but I don’t necessarily drink less often. Part of this is because my man doesn’t drink. But certainly, part of it is because I’m so much happier now that my life is different, I don’t think it’s necessary to engage with alcohol as more than an epicure.

Not drinking is okay. In fact, I think Kate and Christie are cooking up a post about their recent cross-country road trip, during which no booze was consumed at all.

ouzo

Never pictured it quite like this…

However, I did promise a post about ouzo. That’s a picture of the ouzo I drank on Santorini. I think my love affair with Greece started with a brief love affair with a Greek boy, back in my formative years. He used to write poetry about his idyllic summers in the Cyclades, and I hung onto every word like a bee on honey. (Yes, Internet. I have a type, and that type is “sensitive artists.” So sue me.)

Here’s a little something I wrote a couple years ago about that particular little (fruitless as usual) high school crush:

Then there was the Greek statue, the tall, lean muscled man-boy who looked as though he rubbed his skin with olives every day. Her wildest fantasies were his memories, cliff-dives and ouzo and making love for the first time on a black sand beach, speeding through all the necessary touches because he was afraid that the girl’s father might discover them. He had a particular knack for admiring her from afar, and he took care to make sure that she noticed it. She would not have gotten tired of the furtive glances, the words of his favorite love poems recited cautiously in her presence.

Right. So…I mentioned ouzo in this rumination because he talked about drinking it (even though we were all just high school kids then), and for some reason, I pictured drinking it out of something like an obsidian sake set. Actually, that was the exact thing I pictured, even though I’d never even seen a sake set back then (although I did know what sake was because I liked anime).

Flash forward 15 or 16 years, and I suddenly find myself on Santorini, staring out over the sparkling blue expanse of the Aegean, where I have just gone swimming with my boyfriend, two nurses from Boston University, and countless European tourists who either didn’t care that the path to the swimming area between the cliffs was marked “DO NOT ENTER, DANGEROUS FALLING ROCKS” or perhaps just didn’t know because the warning wasn’t printed in their language. I am living the life I dreamed of at that particular moment of youthful folly and holy crap this restaurant has ouzo and I’ll be damned if I don’t order some.

Imagine my surprise when it came to the table and looked like that, all creamy white and in a little glass with ice! Of course, by this point in my life, I’m familiar with absinthe and other such beverages, so when I taste it, I’m no longer surprised at the presentation. The weather is a balmy 78 degrees or so, with a warm, salted breeze coming in off the water. Although I expect things flavored with anise to be heavy because they are intense, this is light and refreshing. I don’t know why I never pictured ouzo with ice in a glass, but now I know I will never picture it any other way again.

I think back on the time in my life when everything was a delightful mystery, and while I have some nostalgia for that, I also relish the pleasure that only knowledge can bring. If I were being really heavy about this, I’d say something pithy about the fruit of knowledge, but this is a drinking blog. And not just any drinking blog–it’s a drinking blog where not drinking is okay. So…do what you want! Enjoy life.