I have to write. After work. I will not go to happy hour. I will head straight home, crack open my laptop, and I will write. I will ignore the late afternoon nervous tick of emails inquiring about today’s “HH.” I will respond to the influx of “what are you guys up to tonight?” texts with an apologetic emoticon face, and a confident “have to write.” Shocked and pleading follow-ups thwarted by my assertions that This Needs to Happen; requisite jokes about the irony of The Alcohol Enthusiast turning down invites to booze, followed by “shhh don’t tell anyone,” winky emoticon face, “oh if they only knew.”
But not drinking is not my secret because that has never happened. When the HH emails and the party-time texts come through the enthusiasm-trembles start pulsing, the anxious inner-pace begins. Then the desks around me turn ghost town, and visions turn to vodka, and visions become karaoke and peep shows and 4am.
It’s hard to write The Alcohol Enthusiast when you’re an alcohol enthusiast.
Write drunk you say. Go home and crack a bottle of bourbon with your laptop. Swig and think and type. Phrases will flow like booze to your brain. You’re writing about drinking—what better inspiration?
Alcohol enthusiasm is not just about alcohol. My definition goes beyond 80 proof or over-ingestion. It is about what happens before, during, and just as much after that fourth or tenth or fourteenth shot. It’s about the pre-after-work or Sunday-morning-after trembles as much as it’s about the bottle itself. It’s grabbing a stranger for the sung-too-high chorus of “Don’t Stop Believing” belted off a dive bar jukebox, and too many cigarettes smoked in the street outside, and too much money spent, and too much confessed to too many strangers. It’s the hazy gray laughter that dissipates in the early morning, the fight over nothing.
It’s the sun peering in at too-bright 24-hour diners, and finishing off the SoCo that you bought the last time you were drunk because it’s the only kind of booze you have left in your house. It’s the someone else’s bed you’ll never remember falling into but that you’re coming to in. It’s the next-day noon: doing battle with arid, sticky, hungover in a stuffy room tight-lipped against reality, with reality TV marathons and ginger ale and Chinese take-out.
It’s hard to write The Alcohol Enthusiast when your weekends are drunken. It’s hard to write The Alcohol Enthusiast when your weekend-ends are hungover. And it’s hard to call yourself an alcohol enthusiast unless you’re out firing off emotions in a thousand hazy, sweaty directions, writhing and screaming and running towards dawn and beyond. And waking up the next day wondering why the fuck you didn’t just go home at a normal time.