Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Issue of Alcohol

IS THERE a city in America that doesn't peddle beer and alcohol, outright or in proxy, as major tourism come-on? Beers brought money to Asheville so if city income translates to better infrastructure, basic services, and employment opportunities, good. Good? Longtime mountain residents have the answer to that one so I digress...

       I do drink. But there are times in my life when I evaded alcoholism myself—binge drinking so I could wade around my dizzying concert production madness (playing, organizing), social drinking so I could fit in media circles accessively, and “date-drinking” or “chill out drinking” because almost all of the women that I dated in the Western world nurture certain degrees of alcohol dependence (some went to AA and back etc). I got excuses and alibis, you reckon...

       Meantime, alcohol, like any other non-basic consumption, is all economics and mind-altering intoxication (that muddles and confuses reflex and response) to me. (1) No matter how beers and vodka “loosen” me up, if I don't have the means (or extra budget) to obtain them, no dice, I won't exert any effort to get one, I'd rather get two packs of ramens. (2) Unlike famous writers and artists who somehow gain creative fire with alcohol/drug excess, three beers would eventually render me unable to write/work anymore, done. (3) My limit of three beers or two shots of vodka or whiskey would easily douse my sexual enthusiasm for the day, done.
       So although I do drink, there were many instances in my 54 years on earth that I didn't drink for years. Non-functional, functional, binge drinking, power drinking—it's all about the regularity of the dependency and total amount of intoxication consumed that define alcoholism to me. So whether one could drive a car like a sober SOB after 7 beers or one could still work around the house so easily or beat deadlines at the workplace after a bottle of jagermeister or 6-pack of Highland Gaelics, that's still a problem. Something's gotta give somehow, someone's gonna succumb one way or the other. Sadly, we only act or fix ourselves after the fact.
       The people in my life that I spent/spends time the longest are those who don't drink at all. My two bestfriends back home are dogmatically non-drinkers (they are Margiis, which I was/am), the only two women that I hang out with/live with in North Carolina these days don't drink at all, the longest relationship I had (nine years) was with someone who pukes on mere smell of beer. Thing is, I spend time with them around alcohol—bars, social functions, parties, and there are always beers and wine in their house/s. Someone with a bar in his/her house for living room “coolness” and still doesn't touch one glass (unless a visitor who drinks comes one time in 3 months to chill) is someone that I do admire. We cannot blind ourselves with the over-supply of alcohol in the Free World as America. Even “healthy” stores sell beers as long as its organic and handcrafted, still booze to me.
       Tribes in northern Philippines and Japanese fisherfolk take a shot of “tapuy” and “sake” (unadulterated rice wine) at 5 AM before heading to the farm and sea. Alcohol. They can function, they can't function. It's how they deal with their everyday lives that do matter in the end. Only, when shit happens—when arguments don't stop, when kids complain, when cops flag us down, when deadlines aren't met, when the next person beside us complain of our foul breathe and overzealousness and/or rudeness, when budget is slimmed down due to beers and wines—yes when shit happens, we start saying, yes indeed this drinking gotta stop or mellow down somehow. Dig? Okay, let's have a drink to that one.

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