The Best Guest

I love to entertain and do so frequently. Welcoming friends and family into my home and laying out a spread gives me a total rush, and over the years I’ve gotten pretty good at it. Now it doesn’t come without effort or expense, but it’s where my husband and I choose to spend our ‘entertainment’ dollars. We really don’t go out to dinner much, nor do we frequent any pubs or bars, preferring instead to stay in with friends so we are very selective about those with whom we like to spend our time, effort, and money.

We have one set of friends who stand out above the rest because they are the BEST guests. They eat everything I serve, never complain, have yet to advise of any food allergies or preferences and rarely leave me with left overs. Now THAT’s what I call good house guests!

I love to experiment with new recipes and often refer to them as my ‘guinea pigs’, and I keep waiting for criticism, an expression of likes or dislikes, but nothing comes. They eat everything with relish, shower me with accolades and welcome all invitations. We should all have such gracious houseguests.

I suppose much of their behaviour is a matter of courtesy and manners. I was raised to eat what was served without questioning or criticizing (now this advice also came with the threat that if I complained there’d be NO food) and never ever was I to say I disliked any particular food, which meant choke it down no matter what (hence my violent hatred of liver…vile, foul stuff….I’d rather chew my shoe)

I’ve come to realize too, that part of being a good houseguest is showing appreciation. People (like me)  take time and energy to plan a menu, set a table, create an atmosphere, and seeing my guests enjoy my efforts with appreciation is the ultimate reward.

Fortunately I’ve never been made to feel undervalued by a guest….(guess I know how to pick my friends) and I hope I never do, so until such time, I will continue to open my heart and my home to good friends. And should the day dawn that I inadvertently host an ungrateful guest…..mmmmmm, I was going to say it’d be the only time, but no. I’d invite them back just once more…..for boiled sneaker, or worse….liver.

Where’d the water go?

For the past 20 years that we’ve lived in Atlantic Canada I’ve struggled to find a cottage rental that is on a fresh water lake. Growing up in Ontario, where there’s nothing but fresh water lakes, it’s a comfortable swimming hole for me (I love to frolic)  and I love salt water to swim in, don’t misunderstand me, but I also like a body of water that stays where I left it.

About 3 years ago I finally found a rental that I thought would suit. It was on the ocean, so salt water was a given, and that’s fine, but the pictures showed a beach that looked perfect. The photos even showed young families frolicking by the seashore, so I booked it.

My daughter and her 2 young children came up to stay and we wasted no time getting our beach adventure underway. The shoreline was across a narrow country road and through a field of tall grass but it was a short walk so we packed up our picnic and donned our inflatable toys and started through the grass. When we emerged onto the shoreline we were shocked to see the beach was gone. The lovely lapping shoreline was about 200 feet away and the ground in between was mud. Ahha,,,,,, so I didn’t factor in tides.

We walked along the muddy under-beach for a bit but as it was too wet to sit on our towels and too muddy to play we soon trudged back to the cottage. I found a sprinkler in the shed and we turned that on for the children to play in, and while they seemed no less content, I felt short changed (where’d the water go?) And how’d they get that picture in the advertisement, night cameras? Who frolics in mud?

I noticed a poster on the wall in one of the main living areas that listed tide levels and schedules and realized, only for the first time, it was going to require some strategizing to coordinate our ‘frolic’ time with nature. (I hate a holiday that’s work)

Interestingly I found over the next 2 weeks that tides really don’t care about frolic time – they do their own thing. And because the timing for our beach adventures had to work around nap times, we really didn’t see much ‘beach’, accept from a distance, so while we ended up having a wonderful vacation (it’s all about the people) it wasn’t the seaside holiday I had envisioned…..so my search continued. (and I had my work cut out for me) They don’t call Nova Scotia “Canada’s Ocean Playground’ for nothing, because despite the fact that there are fresh water lakes inland, they are largely uninhabited and those that are built up are carefully guarded.

It’s taken me the better part of 20 years to find a cottage rental that’s on a fresh water lake and I can hardly wait because this time I know when I go to the beach each day, it’ll be exactly where I left it, and that’s how it should be…..stupid tides.

Sports

I’m not a big sports fan (course you’d never know it by my monthly cable bill) but because my husband is we subscribe to a number of sports channels, so I get my fill of sports, like it or not, and some are easier to take than others.

Golf, tennis; these are gentlemen’s/gentlewomen’s sports and certain ‘behaviours’ are expected. Protocols require that the spectators remain quiet while play is on. You never make noise when a golfer is in his backswing, and during a tennis rally the only sound heard is the grunt of the players as they whack the ball. Seems like these are the sports for the more refined in society?

Football, hockey, soccer, baseball, on the other hand, are the sports for the masses, Crowds are loud and unruly any time, all the time, and players spit and scratch themselves without a care about how it looks or who’s watching.

I watch some sports half-heartedly largely because I can’t keep up with what’s going on. Football never seems to have more than a minute of play  before they all pile up on top of each other and a whistle blows. How they accumulate the eventual score is a mystery to me but I suspect it might have something to do with how many guys end up in the pile and who’s on top.

Hockey is hard to follow only because the puck moves to fast, and just when I think I’ve got it in my sights it disappears across the ice, but that’s ok cause fans can be distracted by the players who’ve thrown off their gloves and are pounding the living daylights out of each other (apparently that’s part of the sport?) and the crowd goes wild.

And baseball is just boring. Too much time is spent watching the guys in the field (those are the ones scratching themselves) and when play is interrupted again, for God knows why, cameras move to the dugout where we can watch the benched players chew their cud and spit,,,,pretty.

Basketball, volleyball, badminton; these are sports that require cooperation. Teamwork is vital and violence is not tolerated the way it is in hockey, but these sports too are somewhat monotonous. Too much back and forth.

Now I know I am in the minority with such opinions because fans and sponsors pay ridiculous sums of money to watch these players and that’s where I take real issue. The money paid out to these sports superstars is staggering,,,,,and embarrassing. A top notch scientist researching life saving cures that directly impact humanity will clear a couple of hundred thousand a year, but some uneducated kid from Nowhere Indiana shows a flair for baseball and he’s offered $50 million dollar contracts and hero worship. What are we thinking?

Sometimes it’s not just a walk in the park

I’m an avid walker. In fact, I walk every day and hike once a week, weather permitting. For the most part I walk alone but every now and then I find a friend willing to keep up with me (apparently I walk too fast)

This past Friday was forecast to be lovely and spring like so my husband caught me by surprise when he suggested we do a walk together. (He walks regularly with his golf buddies but rarely walks with me because he prefers a slower pace) He suggested we walk the golf course – it’s a pretty setting, quiet….good idea….or so I thought.

As we were preparing to go he advised we’d be going in his car instead of mine, which we rarely do when we go out together. (He drives a honkin’ big ole Buick, the kind you see in southern states that are usually driven by 80 + men wearing Tilley hats and orthopedic sandals. It drives like a big clumsy animal and I have lovingly dubbed it ‘The Geezermobile”) I asked why and he replied, “My clubs are in it and I thought I’d hit a few balls as we walk and you can fetch them”   Ahha,,,,ok,,,,,, no. (If you want someone to fetch balls get a cocker spaniel) Sensing I was not enamoured of his suggestion he pulled my car out and we headed off to his golf club for our walk. Once there we parked and started out on one of the cart paths. There were still patches of snow on the course but the strong sun was rapidly melting it. (Now that should’ve tipped me off)

Eventually he suggested we go off the path and walk on the grass because ‘it was sunnier on the greens’. I thought nothing of it. By the time we hit the middle of the fairway it was noticeably soggy and it wasn’t long before my sneakers were flooded. Great. These are new sneakers and my custom, prescription orthotics aren’t supposed to get wet – but it was too late.  I suggest that perhaps this wasn’t such a great idea so he navigates us to a cart path again but not before I slip on the wet grass and land flat on my ass in several inches of water. (Are we having fun yet?)

We walk in silence (by my choice) staying to the paths where possible but occasionally we had to tromp through snow. Why not…..what’s a little snow in my drenched sneakers?  At one point he advises we were half way (thank God, the end is in sight!) but I still manage to fall on slippery grass, not once, but twice more, and by now I’m soaked from the waist down (If he laughs I’ll have to kill him)  and the last fall was in a patch of grass that was muddy. Nice. (How come he hasn’t slipped?)

By the time our car is in sight we’re walking a good 20 feet apart because I just want to get my soggy ass home and in to a hot shower. I put a grocery bag on the front seat to protect the upholstery then cover that with his jacket and sit on it, mud and all. (OK, ok, petty I know but at this point my pride was as bruised as my ass)

Now I get that it really wasn’t his fault, not all of it, but he should’ve known the grass would be soggy and perhaps advised me to wear  boots instead of sneakers. Or maybe not suggested going off the paved cart path at all? And I’m not impressed that I am I the only one to fall here. (OK, my ego hurts more than my rear) At the end of the day it was not the relaxing walk I had envisioned…… …..had I not landed on my ass in mud three times maybe it would’ve been.

So,,,, note to self. Walk on your own – it’s safer (avoid wet grass) cleaner, and nobody is there to witness anything. And if I do walk with my husband again, I’ll have to remember my hip waders. Until then I’m stickin’ to the paved roads.

Can you hear me now?

Sometimes it seems as though I can’t be heard which is impossible because I’m not exactly soft spoken.  In fact recently I noticed I wasn’t the only one not being heard – most of my female friends admit to being somewhat inaudible. A woman’s voice, it appears, is easy to ignore, more so a mother’s voice. Why is the male voice so revered? When a woman hollers nobody listens but when a man raises his voice everybody scrambles.

I can ask my husband about his day and will listen intently. When he reciprocates the courtesy I’m not 6 words in when I see his eyes glaze over and I know he’s tuned me out. (course it doesn’t help that he’s scanning the tv listings as he listens…..)

I remember when I was a young girl my mothers ‘lectures’, as we called them, tended to be repetitive so yes, I tuned her out. My father, on the other hand, commanded attention, because he so rarely disciplined us. When he spoke sternly to us, we froze.

As children we learn to recognize who the heavy is and in most cases it’s the mother. (as a demographic we mothers are so screwed) Fathers are always the hero. They step in with discipline only at the eleventh hour when all a mothers attempts have failed and he sees that things are spiraling out of control. And even then he only intervenes because the kafuffle is delaying his dinner or interrupting his tv viewing.

My mother used to yell a lot then throw her slipper at us. It was one of those flimsy satiny slippers so it never hurt. On the contrary after she flung it at us and left the room we’d burst out laughing because the attempt was so lame.

Like my mother, I was something of a screamer (preferring to keep my slippers on my feet). It was the only weapon I had – I wasn’t in to spankings, and for the most part screaming worked. My kids maintain even today that my screaming is still ‘scary’  (who said fear is bad?) This is in memory of course because I stopped screaming when they all grew up and moved out (or they stopped listening). Now I’m as mild as a kitten…..ah, but I digress!

My issue here is that we women are still largely ignored. We are seen as the ‘nag’, the one who repeats herself, over analyzes situations, worries too much, asks too many questions (am I missing anything here?)

And yet interestingly enough when the kids are grown and living on their own they frequently call home to check in, get advice, complain about their partners, rant about the job,,,,,,and who is the recipient of this dumping? Dear old mom of course! And suddenly all the ‘nagging’ has become sound advice and welcome information (especially when they have kids of their own) And dear old dad is relegated to being……the nice guy, again. And the kids feel for him because now that they’re gone there’s no buffer for him from mom. Poor baby. Sound familiar?

What are we doing wrong that we are not being heard? Or, what are men doing right, that they are? A friend I knew was a ‘slipper thrower’ like my mother, and she maintained that whipping that slipper at your target of anger regardless of who you hit was good, because even if it missed the guilty party, the recipient was likely to commit an offense sooner or later anyway. Now there’s foresight!

I think fathers push their children and encourage risk taking which can be a good thing when it comes to ambition and confidence. They are also more likely to tease their child building character and a sense of humour. Mothers by contrast are nurturing and more protective, preferring to minimize any risk taking because they don’t want their child to suffer. (And that’s a bad thing?)

Today my children ‘hear’ me, sort of. At least they appear to. And they seek out conversation and advice from me because they’ve come to realize all that nagging had some value after all. And that’s a good thing cause my next strategy was to strap a brick to my slipper before I throw it at you – can you hear me now?

The Great Divide

I’ve made no secret of the fact that my husband and I are often at odds with each other but I am not alarmed because I note that men in general, everywhere, are at odds with most women (except the gay ones – they totally understand us, all of us!)  We seem to hit the same peaks at different times. Men are at their sexual peak in their late teens and early twenties, women don’t peak until their thirties (I think this is where God is messing with us)  

Women are hot, men are always cold. Women love to shop, men don’t  (I suspect they could be missing  a vital chromosome here) We think with our hearts, they think with……ok, we all know what they think with but let’s pretend it’s.….their ‘brains’.  Could men and women be any further apart? It’s a wonder we get along at all. So what is the attraction? Could it really be that opposites really do gravitate to each other? (Or are we just gluttons for punishment?)

I used to stress over trying to find things in common with my husband. I thought that’s what a good marriage was supposed to be about, lots of ‘together’  time. When we dated he couldn’t get enough of me, romantic evenings, dinner, long walks, and endless talking, about nothing and everything. He was enamored of me and couldn’t get enough ‘together’ time.

When we were married he couldn’t wait to get away, anywhere, golf with the boys, hockey practice, working late, even pretending to clean out the garage (like he’d recognize anything in there) Anything to get away from a tired wife and three screaming kids. No more did we walk for the sake of walking, dinner, usually leftovers, was purely functional, and when we talked it was about the kids or money, because both caused us typical stress. (this is the point when a lot of marriages break up) Times were tough but we survived, and I’m not sure if we did because we actually knew how to move past this stage or if we were just oblivious and reluctant to explore other options.

But then the kids grew up and moved out and suddenly he was ‘interested’ again. I wasn’t so tired anymore. I had time to dress a little nicer, plan more exotic meals, I ventured out more, met people, tried new things,,,,,and he came to realize that over the years I had become more interesting to be with. I was now comfortable in my own skin; confident, and I was ok with my own company …..and it no longer mattered if he wanted to spend time with me because I was ok with being with me. And this is when he started to make the effort to rejuvenate those early days before we married.

Suddenly a romantic dinner was ‘on the menu’ (ok, I cooked everything but he did the dishes) and he managed to muster up the energy to hike with me periodically (ok, he complained incessantly but when I told him he could bring his 9 iron he seemed to brighten up a little) It’s all about compromise (And women seem to be the ones to make it) I came to realize that we had come full circle,,,,and survived. Relationships aren’t easy. Compromise isn’t easy, especially when you’re stressed with mortgages, children, jobs, and aging parents. Life… isn’t easy.

Now that we’re retired we’ve finally found our groove.  I live for the rare opportunities to be alone; when he takes a shower, bathroom breaks, and the not as frequent as I’d like ‘lunch with the boys’. He doesn’t walk with me (can’t keep up) and I’m ok with that because it only matters that he wants to. (Oddly enough he struggles to get off the couch without a lot of groaning but boy tell him you booked a tee time for 5am and he leaps out of bed like Superman at 4am to polish his clubs) He has ‘rediscovered’ his libido (thanks to a host of vitamins and medications) but it no longer matters cause thanks to menopause, I’ve lost mine, so we just watch tv…..and we’re ok with that too. I still love to shop, he’s just learned to complain about it less (Finally, compromise! Was that so hard?) And I am no longer hot, YAY! Sadly he now is, or rather he craves it, and we fight over the thermostat because I refuse to live in a nursing home environment (aka, petri dish)

We are so very different and the divide has never seemed greater because over the span of a lifetime we both grew in different directions, as all relationships do. The only difference is in how you accept it or rather ‘if’ you accept it. People grow and change. Relationships are work and it’s hard. Marriage, is murder.  And if you can survive any one of the above you will have fulfilled your destiny ( And potentially spared the life of an unwitting male….. because the alternative is to kill him)

The air you breathe

Funny how scents can affect us. They conjure up memories, good or bad, tempt our palate, and distinguish us from others. I remember when I was a child my father smelled lightly of nicotine (he smoked then) and Old Spice aftershave. It was familiar and comfortable and very much ‘him’.

Nowadays most establishments ban use of any scents; perfumes, aftershave, because too many in society are ‘sensitive’ to them. Actually, it’s not the scents they can’t handle, it’s the polluted air we live in daily that compromises respiration. Scents don’t cause it, they just aggravate an already damaged respiratory condition caused by existing bad air quality, which is too bad because there are some lovely fragrances in life to enjoy.

There’s nothing like that damp, mossy smell that heralds the arrival of spring, or the clean crisp, cool air that comes with the fall and winter. And nothing wets the appetite like the slow roasted turkey that permeates the whole house – you can almost taste it in the air.

Not all scents are pleasing; car exhaust, garbage, paint, but most can tolerate these in small doses. Sadly for some these scents spark issues. My husband is asthmatic and very sensitive to strong scents, the kind I’m oblivious to, so I don’t always understand his reaction. I put on nail polish and he asks “did you put on perfume?” (Cause my perfume smells like nail polish? Here let me dab a little nail polish remover behind my ears,,,I’m feeling frisky)  

He also struggled to breathe for the 15 years we had a dog. He was supposed to be a hypoallergenic breed (if there even is such a thing) but my husband struggled just the same. Interestingly, the dog stayed by him whenever he was home even though it was the kids and I that walked, fed and played with him (the dog, not my husband) My husband was the only person who couldn’t handle the dogs presence and it seemed like the dog purposely trailed him. (my husband kept threatening to euthanize him…..maybe he understood and applied his own revenge?)

I guess it’s easy to take the air we breathe for granted. It’s free (until someone figures out how to harness it for sale) and invisible, so why think about it…..until it’s gone. I wonder if we’ll see the day we have to buy air? It’s not so farfetched. Who ever thought we’d be buying drinking water?  71% of the world is water yet most of our freshwater resources are either unreachable or too polluted, leaving less than 1% (about 0.003% of all the water on Earth) available for human use. It’s only a matter of time.

Romance is in the air?

Valentine’s Day is here and romance is in the air. Or is it? Not if you pay attention to the animals.

A few nights ago as I was settling in to sleep I heard a commotion outside. I went to the window, opening it to hear better, and saw a pack of coyotes at the end of my driveway. I knew they were in the area, we hear them at night, but rarely have I seen them so this was unusual. There was a lot of growling followed by occasional yelping and I sensed a fight was about to ensue. I called to my husband to come see but he was dozing off and disinterested. The growling and yelping went on for several minutes, followed by sounds of aggressive attack and it was very unsettling.

I know wild animals are part of nature but to witness any form of violence, even in the animal kingdom, sickens me. They were about 100 feet away from me and there’s a large bush in front so I couldn’t focus on what was happening (I wear glasses for distance) but given the sounds I heard I fully expected to find a bloodied animal carcass at the end of my driveway the next morning. Eventually they took the fight into the woods and the next morning I was surprised to see no evidence of the fight at all.

Later in the day I was hiking with a friend and mentioned the scene outside my window and she immediately advised that the coyotes were in fact, mating. ( Sweet mother of Mary, really? Actually, I should’ve recognized the signs….my husband and I engage in a similar ritual, growling, yelping, you know foreplay, every third Thursday of the months that start with ‘J’) Apparently February is mating season for coyotes, who knew?

I later googled coyote mating rituals and sure enough, the aggression I overheard is quite natural. I’m guessing the growling is the male and the yelping is the female? ((talk about rough sex) That fact aside I could never have imagined that the coyote mating ritual was so violent (ok, maybe violent is the wrong word but what I heard was anything but consentual) On the other hand I suppose if they have to wait for the one month in the year to get lucky they’re probably pretty randy by the time it does come.

And what happens if February comes and she’s not ‘in the mood?’ Can they defer the ‘appointment’ or is the opportunity lost until next year? (Although judging by the growling I heard I’m betting she doesn’t have much of a choice)

I guess it just startled me because I naively assumed animals would have some tenderness in their mating ritual, like humans do. You see images of deer nuzzling together, or lobsters claw in claw walking along the ocean floor. Do they toss all the niceties aside when it’s whoopie time….wham bam, thank you Mam? (I’m guessing too that the whole concept of Valentines Day is lost on the animal kingdom?) No sweet-talk, no flowers and candy, just get down to the business of procreation, belch, and move on.   I guess for animals the mating ritual is purely functional, or maybe they enjoy the aggression (some like it rough)

Witnessing nature in this way was an eye-opener for me. Not every being is warm and fuzzy. In fact, the females in the animal world are sadly deprived of romance and helpless to change it. (On the other hand, they also only have to put out once a year… you could put up with anything once a year) And in hindsight the male coyotes get off pretty easy because despite their ‘rough play’, they pretty much walk away unscathed after the deed is done. There are some animals that kill the male after mating, mmmmmm, all-in-all, not necessarily a bad idea…… (is that to ensure they don’t fool around with another?)

Whatever your ritual for love, I hope you have fun, and romance, and shower that love on another. And if you must growl and yelp, keep it to a minimum,,,,,and for heaven’s sake, don’t do it on my driveway.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Too Many Words

I really enjoy reading, especially in retirement, and more so with Covid (got a lot of time on my hands) I’m always surprised to see the volume of books published and completely perplexed at how many really bad books are out there. Story lines are weak and predictable, and too often themes are repetitive. God help me if I read one more book on the 2nd world war! After all those who lived through it recount their experiences, and the volumes and volumes of articles and books written about it, surely we have to have exhausted that topic? Apparently not, so my search for something new and interesting continues, and while I don’t love the repetition of storylines (there’s a lot of copy-cats out there) I would take that over a ‘wordy’ piece of work any day.

The most recent book I read is a good example of just that. The author goes on, and on, and on with a lot of unnecessary descriptions. This particular book is set in the English countryside, in an old manor house that is surrounded by extensive gardens. The main character loves the Azaleas  that line the property and relishes their scent when in bloom. I get it…..but clearly the author believes she needs to reinforce the vision, repeatedly for the reader because she spent two and a half pages describing their scent. I  couldn’t believe it. I literally had to go back and count it out.

Now what is her motivation here? Is it to educate the reader?………cause you’d have to be pretty stupid not to get the gist of it in a couple of short lines. They’re pretty flowers that smell nice, and since they lend nothing to the plot of the story why give them centre stage? By the time I got through those two and a half pages I’d forgotten the story line and had to skim over the previous pages to find my place. (not a book I’ll recommend)

Another pet peeve of mine are the authors who use big words unnecessarily. They use a lot of vague expressions, often incorporating little known big words. Well I have one for them – Grandiloquence“. It means “big talk” also known as “longwindedness.” If I have to reference a dictionary while reading an interest book you can bet I won’t read more than one of that authors works,,,,and I may not even finish the first. Get real, get a sense for your audience,,,,and get over yourself. You wanna preach vocabulary, become an English teacher.  Don’t write an interest novel intended for the general public and understand that too many words can often cloud a story’s true meaning, or bore your reader to death, neither of which bodes well for promoting you as an author. Get to the point,,,,because there’s a lot to be said for simplicity.

If there’s one thing this exercise has taught me, it’s to appreciate a really good writer, because there are so few of them. Dazzle me with your imagination, not your excessive knowledge of excessive words. Spin me a tale that will captivate me as a reader but don’t make me think too hard because I read for pleasure. (If I want technical knowledge I’ll read the encyclopedia) And for heavens’ sake don’t take me for stupid, i.e. assume that your reader understands that an Azalea smells good, in under 3000 words.

A toast

I heard on the radio today that our provincial liquor board is encouraging a ‘dry’ February for charity and that sparked, for me at least, a number of questions. Now I’m not so naïve that I don’t see the obvious. When Covid shut down most businesses our liquor stores were lined up out the door, and let’s face it, liquor stores never seem to suffer. They do not need to put merchandise on sale, nor do they really need to advertise. People drink, period. And when the going gets tough, they drink more. We drink to remember, we drink to forget, we drink to celebrate, we drink to grieve…when don’t we drink?

The question this move does bring to mind however, is why they are promoting a dry month when it will fully impact their bottom line. Clearly not a ‘business’ decision, at least not one designed to make money. So what’s the motivation here? Is it government pressure, or pressure from the conscience of society (a modern day temperance movement?)  It made me think. Are we drinking too much?

Society is stressed, no question, has been for decades. And for many, the outlet for stress is through alcohol. Compound general stress with a global pandemic and you have a seriously troubled people. So how do we cope?

Booze.

Alcohol is readily available and it’s cheap (compared to most drugs) and, it’s widely accepted in most social circles. A drink can mellow you, take the edge off a bad day, temper a bad mood, relax you, and for many it makes them more social, more outgoing. That’s a pretty tempting list of attributes in favour of drinking. The challenge with that is, when have you gone too far? Are those few drinks every day really helping our psyche or is it just blocking out reality? Is drinking a couple of drinks every day too much?

The isolation of Covid means we can’t go anywhere, so no need for a designated driver and therefore no need to watch what you drink. And since we can’t have a social life we are all resorting to staying at home, cooking a nice meal, and enjoying a drink,,,,,or two……or more. Could Covid be creating (or bringing to light?) a society of functioning (or not functioning) alcoholics? It’s so easy to lose sight of your limits.

Now I’m not saying everyone should abstain for the duration of Covid but I do think we need to be aware of the pitfalls of regular drinking. An aperitif before dinner, a glass of wine with dinner, a brandy after dinner, and since you can’t go anywhere or see anyone, make it two. It easy to see how it all starts to add up. Once Covid has been cleared and society resumes its’ previous pace, will we return to our former habits? I doubt it, because the die has been cast and habits are hard to break.

I suppose we all have our vices, and I’m not going to defend those who consistently go too far, because we don’t need a world of raging drunks. But nor will I defend those who fight for a society of Teetolatism because there are many who enjoy the benefits of alcohol in moderation, and for the want of a few, they should not be punished. There’s nothing like a glass of wine with a lovely meal or a cocktail with friends. I suppose liquor, like any other temptation, serves its’ purpose. The strong will manage responsibly and overcome, and the weak will simply succumb. For many the real question in this initiative is can we go dry, even temporarily? It may be surprising to see how dependent we’ve already become so all the more reason to make the effort, if only to prove that we can.

I’ll be very interested in any stats around this ‘dry’ February initiative (course why they picked February is beyond me….a more bleak and dreary month you couldn’t find. In fact, February will drive you to drink!)