Wednesday, 30 March 2016

The Taste of Beer



Tonight I covered the Junior Krav Maga that I help out with for the second time. This happens rarely and tonight it happened because the instructor was away on a personal matter. I had a great time teaching 5 super keen kids aged 10 to 11 and they appeared to enjoy themselves too.

On the way home, feeling elated and useful and valued and clever and loads of other adjectives around the world of "a good day", I stopped off in Morrisons supermarket. At around 6pm every day they reduce their fresh food, cheese and cookies. At 7pm they do it again and at 8pm is the big one, where the lovely yellow stickers are printed out by a morose looking deli counter assistant that have the lovely information "19p" on them.

I was there in time for the 7pm culling and staggered up to the self service tills with chow mein, yogurts, meatballs and a whole host of stuff that I probably wouldn't have bought normally, including Minions cookies. After flirting with the shaggable Indian female staff member who was supervising that area I made my way home, had a quick shower and warmed up the chow mein in the microwave. Cracking open a bottle of Becks from the fridge I noticed that, for the first time in a long time, the beer tasted a little 'different'.

It tasted fresh and refreshing. It was the tastebud equivalent of having a surround sound system in my mouth. I enjoyed the flavours and the sensation of the bubbles and for a while I actually savoured the bottle, not downing it in gulps but in leisurely swigs. I finished and didn't automatically reach for another one. I continued watching series 2, episode 2 of 'Better Call Saul' and just enjoyed feeling peaceful and content.

It's occurred to me that up to this point I had, for a VERY long time, not been tasting the beer but simply shoving it down my throat in order for what I thought it would do for me. I never liked the taste as I never tried to taste it. I would gulp down bottle or can or pint glass of Guinness or Stella or Becks and maybe move on to red wine. I never drank for the enjoyment of what was in the glass, merely to try and get drunk. Being able to actually enjoy the experience of drinking a beer as opposed to what I thought would happen 20 minutes later...was something unusual to me.

My life for the last few years has been a case of Not Tasting The Beer. I would rarely drink but when I did I would be unable to stop at one or two and have to have at least four. Enough to quieten the echoing voices of despair and unrequited love and anger and any other of shit that I hadn't processed properly. It was like having constipation of the soul.

I would go to work and be thinking about when I would finish. I would go to Krav classes (both training and helping) and wonder when something more fun would happen. I would watch a TV show or movie and pause it to play Candy Crush Soda Saga on my phone. Even when I masturbated, I would switch between fantasies in my imagination as I thought sticking with just one would give me a less messy, less fulfilling orgasm.

Being able to actually "be in the moment" has been hard. I don't expect sympathy, I know this was my issue alone but now, for the first time in a long time I feel able to enjoy my life without thinking about what else I could be doing, or more crucially, of what rewards my current behaviour might later bring me.

Last weekend I drove to London to see a friend. I used to hate long car journeys but on this occasion I actually noticed the countryside on the M40 and the architecture once I got to the congested paradise that is London.

The beer tasted good tonight because for once I was actually drinking for the pleasure of the beer itself and not for any other reason.

Conversely the beer tasted a bit pissy in days gone by, simply because I was subconsciously aware that it would lead to anxiety, paranoia, headaches and waking up face down in an alleyway to find I'd texted a friend to tell her "I sitll love you (sic)".

Life is more than anticipation (or to put it another way, the 10 months between each season of Game of Thrones). Now I can have one or two beers and just enjoy that very mild buzz of pleasure as the alcohol tickles my brain. I don't feel the need to throw myself with drunken abandon into the oblivion of a guilt free utopia.



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