Friday, 12 December 2014

Sober is the new Drunk

This may just be the smuggest post I have ever written.

I write this, sipping hot builders tea (obligatory bag still in cup) lying in bed, feeling damn fresh. It is unusual in the frantic festive season for me to feel this way. Normally I'm throwing water down my neck, my head pounding, a foggy mist of confusion settling across my brow; my stomach folding into knots as I hastily try and patch together the events of the night before: did I REALLY say that? Oh god, was I holding court? Did I throw shapes alone on the dance floor or drag the intern on to the floor by his tie? Is that vomit in my hair? Where is my other shoe? Fuck, is my phone in the taxi - panic panic - oh no, it is here - in my knicker drawer, where I carefully thought to place it at 2am.... etc. etc.

*Shudders at the memory*

You see all that alcohol - it does no good. Now you feel wonderful at the time, all buzzy and beyonce like. But then what begins as a mellow good feeling lurches into the blurry territory of 'must get as much down my neck as is humanly possible' (or the old 'one more for the road, one for the ditch') and before you know it, you have rocketed into tragic sad woman land. I have been there. MANY TIMES. I could write the book on drunken exploits. If only I could remember what happened.

But now I get to watch everyone else make twats of themselves: lumber around, drinks spilling everywhere trying to strike up conversations with strangers; getting smoochy with the office letch; raucously laughing that little bit too hard at their boss's jokes; dancing 'sexily' in a way that suggests they are about to have a seizure; boring folk rigid with another tale about how fabulous they are; unleashing bitterness at the cards life has dealt them; revealing their usually well-concealed jealousy at their best friend's career etc etc etc.

I haven't given up the booze completely. Dear god no. I am a mother - how would I cope without my little helper? More, that I am PACING myself through the Xmas marathon. Monday's comedy with Louise Omielan wouldn't have been as completely amazing as it was, had I been too hammered to fully appreciate her sharp observations. A Mums' Xmas gathering would have been a stage for me to humiliate myself with 'over sharing' had I not stuck to prosecco all evening. (Come to think of it, maybe telling my story of kissing a 17 year old who worked in a cookie store when I was 27** wasn't advisable.  But it could have been SO much worse...

I wouldn't have been able to recall all the lovely catch up convos I had with old colleagues at a leaving do, had I not been on the diet coke all night. If I get trollied on Sunday I won't remember all the fabulous jumpers Andrea will be sporting as he loses in the X FACK-TOR final... So sticking to the not-so-hard stuff actually enhances your evening's experience. For one thing, you can remember everything the next day - and you don't have to watch the episode of The Missing again, because ironically you missed most of it having consumed the guts of a bottle of red wine. (Also, you won't look at your phone and remember you found you had James Nesbitt's phone number from 11 years ago and decided to call it to check it was still a number - and then text him telling him how fabulous his performance was - only for him to ring you back wondering who the feck is calling him at 11:20pm on a school night... How you had to remind him of the time you and he got trashed until 4am and he escorted you home in a cab... Not looking like a stalker much at all. No).

It is cheaper, wiser and healthier to abstain. Ok, it is duller. I will grant you that. Alcohol is a social lubricant, making it easier to recall all the Facebook status updates you have read from the person standing in front of you - and you trawl through them, using them as conversation openers. It also helps if you are still there 20 minutes later, all update material used, tumbleweeds rolling past - because being pissed, you just don't see them. Sober, it all becomes like an episode of The Office.

The morning after is a whole new ball game. A clear head means work can be done; you happily guzzle down your nutri-bulleted shake bursting with spinach and flaxseeds without gagging at the first mouthful. You aren't standing in Waitrose, like someone on day release, blankly staring at the food aisles, thinking 'what did I come here for?' You aren't asking buddies/colleagues to fill in the blanks and then crawling under your desk to hide from the shame of their revelations. You aren't crafting apology emails and ordering flowers for your spouse who had to help you through the front door as you 'couldn't find' your key that was in your HAND, who then helped you undress, and eventually slept in the spare room as your alcohol fumes nearly knocked him out.

Nope, the slate is clean, your head is clear, a whole new day dawns without a well of regret opening up before you. Ahhh. Feels good. I may keep this up longer. Become horrifically smug and sanctimonious. Hold on, I think I'm there already. Must dash, my nutri-bullet is calling me.

(**HE TOLD ME HE WAS 20!!!!).


Gerry Alexis said...

Good grief, did you witness the shenanigans at my hockey club's Christmas drinks last Saturday? Think I'm going 'off the booze' for a bit...

Loving the posts as always

Laurie said...

"unleashing bitterness at the cards life has dealt them;..."

Ha! I remember that well. So charming. I can't moderate at all--I'm all in or not at all, to the detriment of every human being in my path when the former happens--so I have to figure out how to entertain myself 24/7 sober these days. It ain't easy, but whoa the productivity! I think people do wonder where this capable person came from. ;) I love the stuff. It's such a shame it turns me into such a moron with a hundred different points to prove. ;)