Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 68: a thirst for beer.

Today was another expanse of searing hotness. Even as early as 7am, when I went running with my bros, it was hot. And by the time we hit the grass in Nielsen Park for a pre-planned picnic at around 11am, it was positively sizzling. Thank Christ for the ocean (although you had to skip across the toasted sand to get to it. Man what a day, though. As long as you could have regular refreshing swims in the pleasantly cool water, it was pretty much perfection. Sydney's good that way. Anyway, by now I have my boozy picnics down pat. Not drinking at them is a piece of cake. Or a ham sandwich, or a slice of bacon and egg pie with coleslaw, as the case may be. Today's was an enjoyable and relaxed affair. All the kids were having a whale of a time, snorkelling, building sand castles, clambering on the rocks and negotiating melting ice creams, while the adults lounged on towels and picnic blankets and chatted, swapping out the tours of duty hawk-eyeing the kids and slathering them with sunscreen. Some drank wines and beers, others didn't. Everything was A-okay. So the picnic was cool. Then at around 5 o'clock I headed to a music festival my girlfriend Kristie was working on. We were on the guest list which gave us the luxury of taking our time turning up. No pressure to get our money's worth, and most of the acts worth seeing were later anyway. What I'd forgotten was that this would be my first music festival off the piss. Well now. As I've said, it was steamy and hot (still is in fact, and none too breezy). The first thing I needed through the gates was a nice chilled beverage, so I joined the queue. And then it hit me: a burning desire for an icy cold beer. People in front of me were ordering up cans of Coopers pulled dripping from ice-filled buckets, cracking them open and glugging them down. I scanned the drinks list for my options and found Lemonade and Coke and water. BUT I DON'T WANT COKE OR LEMONADE OR WATER, I WANT NICE, FREEZING, MILDLY BITTER BEER GODDAMNIT, BEER! I even seriously considered buying a low alcohol one. But then, getting a hold on myself again, it occurred to me that low alcohol is not no alcohol, and no alcohol is the deal. So I bought a water. And resolved to smoke one of Ben's cigarettes as a gesture of rebellion. The whole experience was a little alarming, because it was the first time so far on this mission where I really truly let myself entertain the idea of consciously "slipping up". I'm glad I didn't follow through though, because once the moment had passed all was easy and fine again. I can only assume that the bandy/music environment coupled with thronging crowds of my peers having a loose, happy time in the sunshine was a powerful combo for my drink receptors. I always drink at gigs (my own and any I attend) so it's not surprising the familiar elements triggered a reaction. In any case, the battle was won. If someone could just come up with a non alcoholic drink that wasn't freakin sweet (a no alcohol beer? A dry sparkling grape juice? And no, water doesn't count.) all would be right with the world.

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