I thought I read on the internet somewhere that only the English drink alone, which is I guess the ten-ties way of saying “a man down the pub told me…”. I can’t find reference to it now, though I have tried at least reading the synopsis of the top five google hits for the phrase, which counts as in depth research these days for me.
Drinking alone is quite a nasty habit I picked up many moons ago, though at the time it was useful and a precursor to adventure. Getting oiled up before going out was a cost- and time-saving exercise when followed by a night of riprorious revelry with other people. The pre-lube stiffeners made for an easier entry to the hectic world of the pub, with less social awkwardness and a great more swagger.
With two kids in the house, and not really being comfortable being inebriated to any degree in front of my toddlers, the “drinking at home with no prospect of going out or seeing other people” started. Sometimes I’d drink my Fin Du Monde as my oldest drank her milk, which certainly made watching Dora The Explorer more entertaining. There would be no leaving the house – it’s hard when you’ve got sleeping kids – possibly even illegal – so I would sit alone with my booze watching British comedy shows and eating furiously.
A few years into this solo-swigging night-owl-dom, I got a Texan drinking buddy. I think he’s Texan at any rate – not that you could tell from his slow-rolling drawl – he’s mute. More from his name – Beaufort (which despite his silence I know is pronounced Bee – ew – foot). And the fact that I grew him in Texas. He’s the eleven pounds of fat that lives beneath the skin under my shirt front, and who makes a handy rest for a beer bottle when I’m sprawled on the floor with my head propped up to allow the pouring of its contents down my gullet to join Beaufort on the other side of my skin.
So now I have two imaginary friends – Gym Buddy who eggs me on in a low-cholesterol way while at the gym, and Beaufort who preaches comfort and the “enjoy now, pay later” lifestyle. I haven’t touched the booze since throwing up at 3am in the morning after Father’s Day (I still blame the burger on the way home from Dallas) which by my reckoning is two weeks ago (give or take). Perhaps I am ready to re-immerse myself in the “drinking with other people” that often gets labelled as “social drinking”. The moniker doesn’t take into account the motive for my alco-gurglings though, so it might not really apply.