Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Drinking at Home

There's been something missing from the whole urban-suburban-transition, and that's been drinking. Now we're not talking about blackout-retch-through-your-nose-suffer-immobilizing- hangover-drinking. Rather we're talking about the sociable-and-civilized-sit-around-the-living- room-and-nurse-a-cocktail-pre-dinner-followed-by-wine-at-dinner-and-some-sort-of-post-prandial-libation-to-top-it-all-off-drinking. It's a lacuna with multiple sources.

First, the first-string drinking buddy is on the "unable to perform" list for 40 weeks -- though she is expected to return in time for New Years.

Second, the 'burbs seem quite a bit less social than the city -- perhaps it's the distances between people and the fact that any drinking must be followed by driving.

Third, everybody has kids, and kids and alcohol are not a great combo.

In our relatively alcohol-limited suburban existence we have formulated a thesis about drinking and place: our sense of place is largely determined by where we drink. It is through drinking that we place a claim on a space and make it our own. Note the phenomenon of the local -- it's a pub identified by the possessive, "our" ("Our local"), that tends to be in a neighborhood, or other place of importance.

When we drink somewhere we come to a know a place, its inhabitants and customs. Drinking in a house serves the same purpose -- just in a more intimate way. Perhaps this says something negative about our drinking habits, but truly it is around the rituals associated with drinking that we lay claim to a place, establish customs, know the inhabitants and become more familiar with the place. By way of example, if you are a drinker then you go out for drinks when you come to a new town, or have a drink when you visit someone's home in order to break down those barriers that separate us from new places, situations and people.

Drinking has been largely absent from our transition and as a result where we live does not feel like home. The other night, while enjoying a truly glorious, late summer night, we got crazy and drank wine together -- despite the 40 week proscription -- and sat on the porch and talked about things, both consequential and inconsequential. In that session of talking, and drinking, did feelings of true ownership, and true comfort begin to emerge. We finally began to feel at home. The transition from our formerly convivial, tipple-happy home in Brooklyn to a relatively, and involuntarily, dry house outside of Boston became less alien with a bottle of South African Sauvignon Blanc.

No comments: