I don’t drink alcohol that often, or that much. I’m a featherweight when it comes to the stuff. When I imbibe, it’s usually at some large social engagement, like the after-parties at the conventions, or like last night, during the Tahoe trip with all of my coworkers. I used to be deathly afraid that if I drank at all, I’d become an alcoholic like my Dad. I think there’s still an afterthought of the fear in the back of my head.
I don’t like most alcoholic drinks. There are a few that I’ve tried to acquire a taste for. I work with some beer connoisseurs, so I occasionally try to find a beer that I can enjoy. Over the years, I’ve found that I actually like Guinness, Shiner bock, and Blue Moon or other similar wheat beers. I can’t really tell you how hops impact the flavor or texture of a beer, and I don’t really know much about how it is brewed or the full history. I know a little bit, though, and I’ve found some things I like, so if I’m with some friends that are into beer, I can participate and enjoy their enthusiasm.
Melissa and I have tried to acquire a taste for wines, and that’s been more challenging than the beer. We’ve had some while out with friends that has been amazing, but we can never quite remember the names, and when we try to duplicate those experiences at home, we wind up with beverages that are disgusting. We’ve dumped a substantial amount of wine down the sink. Also, I tend to get a headache the next day after drinking wine. I don’t get that headache with other beverages.
The third thing that I’m slowly trying to acquire some better taste for and knowledge of is Scotch. I have two friends that are enthusiastic about Scotch. During WorldCon in San Antonio this year, Michael shared with me some that he said was very good, and had huge sentimental value to him. I didn’t have much, and I can’t say that I hated it, but I also can’t say that I really liked it, either. I liked the smell of it, and the sensations on my tongue were very interesting and varied. There was a lot going on, drinking it. I just don’t know if I can classify the experience as wholly enjoyable.
When I’ve imbibed too freely, as I did last night in Tahoe, I relax. I smile more, I laugh easily, and I’m not afraid to make jokes or talk to people. As Dael put it once, I don’t really change when I’m tipsy, there’s just more of me present to enjoy. I do like that aspect of the experience. People have told me that I’m fun when I’m drunk, and I believe them.
A few nights ago, I thought I’d try to harness the power of alcohol to unlock my creativity in writing. I wasn’t thinking of Hemingway, or the evils of alcohol at the time. My intention wasn’t to get drunk. Melissa had brought home a bottle of Gentleman Jack to try it, and I had a few shots of that in the hopes of “loosening my tongue,” as it were. It didn’t work out. I didn’t start off in any mood to write, and loosening my inhibitions only served to enable me in procrastinating further.
I think I’ll just stick to water when it comes to writing. Or, maybe someday, if I relax enough to drink coffee again, I’ll drink that.