“What bar do you usually go to?” I looked at the man in astonishment, trying to figure out where he was coming from in his world not mine. British and Canadian, the two words crossed my mind as I assessed the company I was keeping. Right, I realized: Pub Life. I am supposed to have a pub, local, and hang out there after office hours to let down my hair and talk to my neighbors.
Ever since I left Gouda, and my marriage, I’ve basically stopped drinking booze. I realize I used to drink more than, than what? I have never considered myself a big drinker, but then two years ago I was drinking amounts that surprised myself. I was thinking these days that I seemed to have easily returned to my “when I was around 25 habits,” which means just about nothing in terms of alcohol. When recently out with my acquaintances from Gouda, stranded in Amsterdam because of the strongest summer storm since 1901 this past weekend, I considered the menu and was swayed by old habits. I asked for a jenever. Sipping it I sat there thinking I didn’t need to drink a jenever. I ordered soda water on the next round.
“You’re different.” People say to me.
I’ve also dropped some weight. It’s hard to see on me what with the abundant curves. “You’re dressing different.” A friend who hadn’t seen me in a year remarked a few days ago. Not really I just finally got to see what’s in my wardrobe as I now have a closet to hang all my clothes up in, as opposed to the heaps and droppings back in Gouda where I had little closet space for my clothes. In a way I have found myself in terms of coordinating sweaters and skirts.
Most days after my office hours, I practice singing at home, eat a quick dinner and then go to yoga, which I have now deduced is my local pub serving outrageously priced smoothies, yakking on about making sure we drink enough water after class. Remember to hydrate! At yoga, I am, per the norm, one of the oldest inhabitants in the studio. I am definitely the one with the tire around my waist in a room full of young pre mortgage people with practically no body fat. “Let’s get you headed in the right direction,” my doctor said handing me two slips of paper. Big breath now, two more giant moves coming up after the general giant change of direction in my life. I made the calls, and made the appointments. The next day, I woke and realized I was not micro managing my problems anymore, I was in the director’s seat. I quickly noticed that a few of my eating habits disappeared; that Haribo Handful, for instance, had dissipated.
It’s been a week or three. I still have cravings for sugary things. Occasionally I give in, and my body isn’t too pleased although my brain tells me I should be “HAPPY!” because I got my piece of chocolate or snack bar or pudding or shot of gin or chewy cherry bonbon. Frankly I’m not, I can just feel my molecules reacting to the sugar and sometimes I perceive hints of nausea.
Reading a scientific article on consciousness, I gathered that science is busy figuring out the formula to explain why consciousness, that weightless and essentially valueless moment, strikes us long after the physical experience that ultimately leads to some sort of perception has occurred. Although I can appreciate this effort of the scientific community, I wonder why exactly this search for “Pinpoint the Formula” is important or beneficial to society. Will this speed up sobriety, meaning any type of sobriety? In future will we punch in the formula to an inbuilt body thermometer/regulatory machine embedded in our wrists and immediately come to a true state of deductive nirvana? Avoid pitfalls wedded to the lethargic belief that we are happy in the moment? Speed, perhaps, is the thought, we need to speed up all our mortal imperfections to have a happy life. I am not so sure. We all like to think we are happy, whatever the situation at hand is saying to us. We might even dupe ourselves with a formula.