One week sober and caffeine free – the mundanity (is that even a word?) is killing me.
Alain De Botton described the life of an international business man as consisting of multiple familiar take-offs and landings piloted by caffeine and alcohol. A cup of morning coffee in the hotel room to generate fake enthusiasm for the TPS report in Shaki-zaqatala, then a glass of evening wine in Dushanbe to deaden the gnawing voice at the back of his left ear that whispers that his efforts to increase production of aluminium foil in the region are futile. The voice sometimes gets louder and louder until it takes two bottles of Bodegas Resalte de Peñafiel to drown out its insistent nagging that his life is meaningless and no-one will remember his name a few decades after his passing.
Maybe De Botton’s business man should read Sum: Forty Tales From the Afterlives, in which one afterlife has people shuttled into a waiting room, there to sit until their name is mentioned no more. The business man would then get a merciful and relatively early release due to his own delightfully trivial existence, and be able to pass into the next stage of non-existence where he could feel smug that he wasn’t stuck in the waiting room with Pol Pot and Davy Crockett.
Sinead O’Connor sang Prince’s song “Nothing compares to you”, which my first real girlfriend declared was about giving up smoking and being able to go to non-smoking “fancy” restaurants now (this was a few decades ago – “Do you want smoking or non-smoking?” was a valid hostess question). I find it a really annoying song, partly due to associations with the first person who by definition replaced my imaginary girlfriends. Though somehow I’m drawn to it today. If I wasn’t sat in Cherrywood Coffeeshop, I’d probably play it for you right now.
In a life of constant contradiction, I really don’t like doing things repeatedly. Except everything seems so much more exciting under some kind of influence. Drunken laundry and caffeinated toilet cleaning seem far more exciting than their mindful counterparts. The possibilities and combinations are greater. Drunken and caffeinated laundry springs to mind.
Last year I had the pleasure to co-broker (work with and yet against) a real estate agent who was described to me as typically drunk by 10am, and who smelled of booze shortly after breakfast. I was at once horrified and intrigued. It seemed a fantastic game – see how drunk you can get and still negotiate like a poker champ. It was not for me though – too much driving involved, and I really don’t like drunk driving.
Still, sober means that I’m less susceptible to certain peaks and troughs, and spend more time appreciating the view and the less bumpy ride.