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A MAN & ALCOHOL: A drinking journey


One evening, when COVID-19 had started to growl and show teeth, I sat to drink with older men. It was a starry night, a golden moon floated in the distant. The men were in their forties and early fifties. Chaps who’ve been in the game, made their shekels and now in pursuit of relaxation.


Bottles of whiskey were cracked open. We toasted to life and swallowed the devil’s piss. We had converged in a garden, sheltered in this lush compound, slightly cold night wind whistled against our coats. The men, contented, filled the night with stories and roaring laughter.


I was the youngest in that entourage. I was in the backlines, in the shadows. I laughed when they started laughing. I drank when the bottle was passed my way. They weren’t my peers. I knew my position in the pecking order. If I had a great story, that wasn’t the place to narrate it. If I had a joke, that wasn’t my crowd. I was there on invitation; my host thinks that I am a “promising” young man. I don’t know what that means. But because I am a promising young man, thus I sat at the table of men.  Men who I presume that in their faded youth, had been “promising” young men.


That word, “promising” haunts me. I think of it when in matatus. I think of it before I sleep. Whenever I stare myself at the mirror, I always ask myself, “is this how a “promising” young man looks like? That word has thrown me off tangent. It’s a cancer. I’ve avoided looking it up in the dictionary. I don’t want to know what it means. If you ever run into a person, please don’t tell them that they’re promising. It raises suspicions.

 

The night wore on. The men, inebriated like tropical fish, bluttered wild stories. Alcohol blurs boundaries. They fetched narratives from their pasts and spilt them like beans before everyone. Normal nights, I would have soaked up the stories. In a way, I felt separated from the tales. I was oil, the stories were water. There was a problem.


I wasn’t enjoying the whiskey.


This worried me. I’ve always been a whiskey guy. When I was initiated into the drinking world, whiskey was my mistress. I’ve loved whiskey, I’ve spent money on it. Some of the most memorable events of my life have happened while under the influence. But here I was, shying away from something which my whole drinking narrative had been shaped upon. Hitherto, I’d avoided anything else. Beers, I found them too frothy and unappealing. I wanted nothing to do beers. Actually, people who drank beers, I didn’t think I could hold a serious conversation with them.

 

The whiskey was good, something from Scotland, but whenever I brought the glass to my lips, I just couldn’t go further. My body kept saying no.


It hit me that my relationship with the bottle was on a knife’s edge. Everything good comes to an end. My union with hard liquor was on the rocks (he he). We were done. In the weeks that followed, I had no urge to drink. I would watch people drink and not get thirsty.


Something was changing. I was changing.


That’s typical me. Familiarity gets on my nerves, I get bored. I ran away seeking a new high. I was done with hard liquor.

 

*


On my birthday, YOUNG LION , I’d set up a lone picnic. Just me, in the expanse of a field, curled up on a lesso, pondering about life. I’d bought a can of cider, drinking it, I thought to myself, “This isn’t bad at all.” When I shared photos of my experience, I got a lot of shit from men. Chaps said to me that it was unmanly to drink cider. That I’d betrayed the spirit of manhood and was a disappointment to my ancestors. According to them, men should only drink booze with alcohol ratings of 39% and above.


I found that to be bullshit. 


A man shouldn’t be defined by what he drinks. A real man decides the best drink for himself and enjoys it without apology. Nobody should tell you that this what you should drink and how you should drink it. It’s all marketing propaganda. Explore, drink everything you can, then decide what works for you.


For a while, I enjoyed whiskey, we broke up.


I found love in Cider. She’s sweet, she doesn’t judge me. She doesn’t try to be cool, she’s already cool. When other drinks sneer at her, she ignores them. She understands my language of love. I see us having a long relationship.  

 

*

A secret. When drinking with older men, don’t pretend to be that SDA choir guy who doesn’t know what booze is. Drink! They will respect you for it, not the drinking, but living your truth.

 

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