I don’t drink. Alcohol, that is. I have in the past, and I do on rare occasions to ensure that I’m still not missing anything. I’m not a teetotaler (whose etymology, to my surprise, has nothing to do with tea) or a prohibitionist. In fact, I encourage others to drink at every opportunity. Often it makes me more interesting to them. I’m pretty anhedonic, and I just never developed a taste for the stuff.
As other (occasional or regular) non-drinkers know, there comes a point in the evening when everyone else is well-soused, and you are stone-cold sober. They’re all making wonderful sense to (and expressing deep love for) each other, but the intellectual rigour of earlier discussions has passed. One begins to feel like a foreigner in his own town–not speaking the language of his liquored friends and family.
The latest example of this was at my father’s recent retirement party. The following photo shows Julie, myself and my brother Kevin before dinner:
And then here’s a similar shot, several hours and glasses of wine later:
You’ll note that my expression has not changed. It’s enough to drive one to drink.