You don’t want to be the guy who is drinking alone at 11 PM. The world will assume that you’ve got something to drown and by the third gin, you start to believe them. Even the bartender looks askance when she pours you the fourth. She’s not judging, but you can sense a motherly air of concern when she asks, “You alright?”
Yes. I think so, yes.
Nighttime is the hour of socialising with colleagues and raucous commingling. The time when lonely people hunt for love under the cover of booze and darkness
Daytime drinking, however, is an entirely different animal altogether, as far removed from nighttime boozing as, well, night is from day. There is no madding crowd, no press of sweaty bodies and no shitty beats; just the distant music of mid-morning traffic, punctuated by the gentle thump of glass meeting coaster.
The feeling is a little hard to describe if you’ve never sneaked out for a cold one just before lunchtime. The first word that pops into my head is Zen. Perhaps it’s the sunlight slowly creeping into darkened corners, or the half-present bartender who is slacking off on her phone. But everything seems slower and calmer in the morning silence of an empty bar.
I don’t want to use the cliche ‘romantic’, but that’s what it feels like after a morning drink.
One pint removes you from the daily hustle. After two pints, you are mellowed out enough to people-watch with the amused detachment of a person watching fish in an aquarium.
Everyone’s tics and movements suddenly seem fluid and strangely eloquent now that you are separated from them by an inch of blood alcohol.Present but paradoxically distant, you will notice things that normally pass you by: the way certain uncles fold their hands behind their back whilst waiting, or a well-dressed woman who hollows her cheeks to suck on a cigarette.
In the afternoon’s friendly sunshine, an hour stretches into 4, and tomorrow starts to feel like an eternity away. With no one goading you to keep pace and no last train threatening pricey entrapment, you can savour every sip, holding on forever to that light buzz, the golden zone between stone-cold sobriety and excitable stupid drunk.
In a time-scarce world where every minute is a resource, it’s the ultimate luxury; a self-indulgence that few can afford. Anyone can slam a bottle of Dom Perignon on the table, but few of us can spare an afternoon away from the office to bask in sunshine and Corona.
According to convention, daylight must be used ‘productively’. Choose exercise. Choose career. Choose healthy eating and a balanced diet. Choose self-improvement. In fact, choose anything but alcohol.
If you really, really must drink, make sure it’s a small glass of red wine because those antioxidants will make you live longer and look classier.
A casual G&T over lunch is like blowing smoke in the face of these neuroticisms disguised as social niceties; a quiet one-man dissent against the orthodoxies that dictate how we live our lives. It’s hardly Viva la Revolucion, of course, but it does signify an attitude—one that says, ‘I don’t give a damn about your fast-paced work environment or how I value-add to the company. This is about what I want.’
Sorry not sorry.
Returning to your desk after 3 drinks is not a great feeling. The Germans probably have a word for it but the closest analogy I have is the feeling of emptiness you experience after coming home from a good holiday.
Getting back to the office and staring at the rows of people glued to their screens produces very much the same feeling, but with one crucial difference. With liquor still running through your veins, you want to drag your colleagues from their dull, dreary schedules because wouldn’t it be nice if everyone could taste the languid joy of daytime drinking? You really want to jump on the tables and scream: “Let’s all head to the bar, who’s with me!”
Like opening the door to your empty house, sighing dramatically, and dumping everything on the floor before asking yourself, “Is this real life?”, you realise: Yes. Unfortunately it is.
This is never a good idea. Even if you work for a rather liberal employer like RICE, the best you can hope for is a ‘lolwot’. In a more corporate environment, you might get a lecture from HR about the importance of ‘professionalism’ and ‘time-management’.
So with hopes deflated, you get back to the job, but with a stupid grin on your face. The colours quickly fade to grey as the emails flood in, but there are worse feelings than coming down from a high.
You are content, but already dreaming of another near-empty bar where you can watch the dust motes circle in a column of light as golden as your lager.