Photos and Words of Patrick Calder

I live in Washington, DC with 1 cat named Pixel, 6 cameras, 3 computers, 158 movies, 286 books, and 1 bowling pin. I own the Design Foundry and pretend to be a graphic designer by day.

Please keep in mind that this post is more than 3 years old. Opinions change. Tastes change. Everything changes. I may still agree with or like this, or I may not. But everything is kept up here for archival purposes.

Have a drink / September 5, 2008

I had a few drinks last weekend.
If you’ve been keeping up with our little story here, then you know that this is the first time I’ve ever drank alcohol.
A while ago, I came to a personal realization that it was silly to consciously not drink. While I wasn’t adamantly against it, I was waiting for … something. But that, in my opinion, was just silly. I know there’s no logical argument against drinking. It felt like something that really should just be another thing to try, another experience to have. No more or less important than anything else in life.
Once I decided that, my only real concern was how to go about it. Didn’t want to drink alone. (Not that I could… would have no clue what to try. No frame of reference.) But while I love all my friends, some of them no doubt would have made a big deal out of it. In some cases, that would have been disruptive, and overall, I just didn’t want it.
So the opportunity came up last weekend in Atlanta, with a friend I trust. That first night, I just had a beer, (Newcastle Brown). REALLY not the best thing I’ve ever had. Reminded me of when I tried to drink prune juice. Or as I described it to someone last night: It tasted exactly like beer smells. And when was the last time you realized the other guy in the elevator had been drinking — based on their smell — and had that be a good thing? Finished the whole thing, though. I knew beer would be an acquired taste. But gawd. 🙂
No real effect. Wasn’t really expecting one, especially at my size. But still … paranoia runs strong at a moment like that. Taking that first sip is … weird. It was like there was physical resistance to overcome… it was so ingrained as something not to do.
But all was well.
One or two nights later, when we were up on the Sundial with a group of people, I ordered a Apple Caramel martini, which is what most everyone was drinking. Special for the night, I think. I wasn’t actively hiding it from anyone, but since I was on the outer edge of the group and given the way the bar was set up, I don’t think most people noticed. I’d told my original friend I had to have at least one drink before the weekend was over, that didn’t leave me wanting to wash out my mouth. And it was actually pretty good. Different still. Strong, harsh. But good.
And again… no real effect.
Later that night, a couple of us were sitting around one of the hotel rooms. They’d opened a bottle of red wine. And I stole a sip from a friend’s cup.
The… nastiest… shit… I’ve… EVER… tasted.
My first response was that it tasted like my friend’s feet. And that was before the aftertaste hit, which was worse. Tried another sip a few minutes later. Not getting any better.
*shiver*
Since then, there hasn’t been anything else. I’ve been mostly at home alone, and I don’t feel like drinking by myself. Talked to a couple people about it, and they’ve been pretty open with recommendations. Though, I have a hard time remembering any of it, since — again — I have no frame of reference.
Like I said, there’s been no noticeable, provable effect from any of the drinks so far. My head felt a little fuzzy, but then I’d been up partying for days. And I felt like I was able to talk a little more easily with friends, but that could easily have been relief, or just psychosomatic symptoms.
It was interesting, overall. And fun, as far as the social interaction it’s generated. I want to continue experimenting. But I have no awful cravings. One drink didn’t kill me, mom.
This isn’t exactly general knowledge yet. So how stupid is it writing about it on a blog? Well… my family are probably the biggest readers, and they have to learn sometime. Won’t probably see them for months, so this way is as good as any. And my old friends are bound to think I’m goofy, or just not care, really. The newer friends… I don’t think most of them read this. And if by some miracle they do… it’s not a secret anymore. And it’s too late to make a big deal about the first time. I’m sure the discussions will come. But at least now they can be a little more diffused.
Special thanks to the friend who listened to me ramble about it on-and-off for a few months, who understood, and who laughed at me while I had that first drink.

Just for my reference, some of those discussions and recommendations:

Friend One

Friend 1: Try Guinness or a Hefeweisen next time.
Me: why?
Friend 1: Or Murphy’s Chocolate Stout– that one actually tastes like chocolate milk.
Friend 1: Why which?
Me: was just wondering why those were preferrable
Friend 1: Oh, I think they’re less bitter.
Friend 1: Hefeweisens are light, and usually garnished with orange.
Friend 1: Stouts are smooth and less bite-y.
Friend 1: Keep in mind I tend to *prefer* bitter drinks, so I’m going to have some trouble thinking about them the same way you might.
Friend 1: Anything involving tonic, for example, is high on my list but probably low on yours.
Me: well…
Me: right now, I don’t have much of a list
Me: 🙂
Me: i can see getting used to the beers
Me: the wine may take longer
Friend 1: opt for white wine, srsly.
Me: and the girlydrinks don’t seem to be a problem
Me: okay
Friend 1: Girlydrinks can be problematic for new drinkers, keep in mind, because the taste masks the alcohol content a lot of the time.
Friend 1: Beer is sort of nice to cut your teeth on because the amount of it you can get in your stomach at one time is a limiting factor.
Me: paranoid as I am? 🙂 I’ll keep it in mind, but…
Friend 1: Heh. Drink #2 takes the edge off the paranoia.
Friend 1: Drink #3 kills off hangups
Friend 1: Drink #4 just wants to make friends with drinks #5 and 6.

Friend 2

Friend 2: Wine’s an acquired taste. Red wine is, in my opinion, better with a meal that includes red meat, potatoes, etc.
Friend 2: If it was a dark beer, it might’ve been a porter. They’ve got a bitter edge… wait. a bitter edge, shouldn’t you have taken to it more easily? HA.
Friend 2: I like lagers best, they’ve got brighter flavors usually. Porters are tasty, though; Black Butte from Oregon is quite good, got a little bit of a sweet undercurrent. The only stout I’ve tried is Guinness and I like it well enough.
Friend 2: And like I said: don’t mix your alcohols.
Friend 2: Avoid too much sugary crap, too.
Me: hehe… why… besides looking like a ‘girl’?
Friend 2: excess sugary drinks tend to lead to hangovers
Friend 2: dehydration is, I think, the leading cause for a hangover, but not going crazy with the sugar is a good way to avoid it, too.
Friend 2: If you *are* curious about wines, Gary V.’s got a pretty good thing going with winelibrarytv.com — he’s kind of a nut, but he’s pretty passionate about wine and getting people to find what they like by trying lots of stuff. so the takeaway lesson is: try lots of things.
Friend 2: ALSO. they’re kind of cheesy and lowbrow, but the Arbor Mist wine things? (glorified wine coolers) they have this Blackberry Merlot one. tastes like CANDY! so tasty.
Friend 2: they’re sort of the Hershey’s chocolate bar to a fine wine’s Godiva, if you catch my drift.
Friend 2: Corona’s good, Dos Equis is also good (esp. with mexican food, woot!)
Friend 2: if you’re going to try tequila — I know you have chat histories turned on, so I’m not worried about going too fast here — stay. the. fuck. away. from Cuervo Especial.
Friend 2: I’ve had 2 hangovers in my lifetime and the first one was a result of that swill. oh it’s nasty.
Friend 2: Cazadores: also good. « steeerong.

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