within minutes of landing in montreal last month, it became instantly clear that i am, without a shadow of a doubt, 100% canadian. i can’t even tell you why. it’s just a feeling of belonging.
and since my return to london, where it’s clear that i am not british, i’ve been pondering what sets me apart here. the accent? naturally. the fact that i say pants instead of trousers? a dead giveaway. my dislike of bovril? why in god’s name anyone would want to ingest fluid beef is beyond me. but one of the biggest differences is… the drinking. whilst all societies drink, i am here to tell you, dear friends, they doth not all drink the same.
you all know of my deep love for whiskey. it’s no secret. and though i may enjoy a glass of scotch (i love scotch, yum yum yum) on a tuesday night and though i quite fancy a glass of wine with dinner most evenings, i have no interest in getting pissed. the english, however, they love their drink to the point of besottedness. the last time i threw up saturday night’s beer and spent sunday in bed eating cold pizza from the box, horrified that i’d fallen off the chair i was dancing on the night before… was in the year 1997.
let me get off the high horse i’m sitting on for a moment and point out that this is not a judgment, merely an observation of our differences. and perhaps it’s more of a cross sectional view of my own private experience. but lord knows i’ve tried for the past 2 years to party like the brits and the truth is, i simply haven’t the stamina for binge drinking and recreational others. i’m neither cut out for it nor remotely interested. i never really was.
recently, my colleague nick tried to fix some code and things went wrong and he said: and then my hair caught on fire and i was a sad face. that pretty much sums up the past two years of me trying to be like everyone else here and realising that i am the only one in the group who has no desire to get shit faced. it can be pretty isolating, i’m not going to lie to you. it can leave you feeling like the old, boring woman who wouldn’t know a good time if it came and knocked her over the head with a forty-ounce bottle of vodka and a big ass bag of cocaine.
but the thing is this… i am no longer a spring chicken and i don’t feel the need to relive my spring chicken years. sex, drugs and rock n roll? been there. the truth is, i am now entering the autumn of my life. if my life were a season (and the cycle of life, by its very nature, is seasonal) then nearing 40 is the equivalent of turning the page of the calendar to august. i’m ripening, so to speak, and i am ok with that. i’m happy to enter this stage, to live a different, slower pace of life.
i used to equate simple with boring. i used to judge simple as being a way of life you lived if you were afraid of living. now, i want a simple life. i want a quiet life. a garden. a dog. a few good friends, not an entourage. a bottle of wine and a good meal, not getting pissed until the wee hours of the morning. a good book.
and so, i’ve decided to go sober for the month of october. and not just from booze. but from the frenzy.
1. not given to excessive indulgence in drink or any other activity
2. quiet in demeanor
3. devoid of frivolity, excess, exaggeration
i’ve decided to honour this next stage of my life and my need for quiet time. to be sober, awake in my own life, aware of my own self.