I don’t drink alcohol.
Anyone who knows me will testify that I’m a terrible drinker. I barely drink at all, and when I do, I nurse a beer forever. I don’t know why I don’t drink. It’s not like I made a decision not to drink. And I do have a beer or glass of wine from time to time with friends. But I don’t consider myself a drinker. In fact, my beer of choice has turned into Stella Artois because people don’t make fun of me for ordering something like a Coors Light. I never know what to order, because I don’t order enough to know better.
But this weekend people who knew exactly what they liked to drink surrounded me.
My daughter and her boyfriend cracked open two bottles of 15-year-old scotch to taste the subtle differences between a blend and a single malt. They were in heaven. The special glassware, the perfect amount of ice and the exact timing of when to drink their choice were timed to perfection. Of course, they poured me a glass. And when I tried it I thought I would choke. It smelled like lighter fluid and it tasted like an empty ashtray. (I’m guessing, since I never actually tasted an ashtray.) But there they were, my 20-somethings enjoying their scotch like Don Draper from Mad Men. It was actually fun to watch. And funny to think that I would actually every be able to finish a glass.
At the same time, my wife was uncorking a nice bottle of 2000 French Bordeaux. Now, while I’m not much of a wine drinker, a least I can handle a glass of wine. And the smell of a 2000 Bordeaux is special. I love to smell the oak and the subtle aromas that come from every bottle. But after a few sips, I’m done with wine, too. I don’t think I’ve finished a glass of wine in 5 years. My wife and I have this little ‘drinking tango’ that we’ve perfected over the years. We both pour a glass, we both start to drink and when she’s finished her glass, she then finishes mine. She’s happy. I’m happy. In fact, there are times when I switch glasses with her without her asking. It looks like I’ve finished a glass, when I’ve barely had a few sips. It’s a win-win for everyone.
And now that brings me to beer. I don’t know why, but I can drink beer all day and all night and never get any kind of buzz. All I get is bloated and full. I think it was my years working on beer at two different agencies. I worked on everything from local Baltimore beers to the King of Beers, Budweiser. I was exclusively a Bud man when I was getting a free case every month for working on the brand. I realize that I don’t really drink much beer now. Sometimes when I do open a bottle, people notice.
Somehow I don’t get the same enjoyment from drinking. Perhaps I’ve become confortable not drinking. Perhaps I’m a control freak and don’t like the subtle loss of control that drinking brings. Perhaps I just prefer iced tea. Or perhaps there’s a guardian angel watching over me telling me to use judgment because I’m not a drinker.
Or perhaps I just don’t like to drink.