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Saturday, July 21, 2018

Giving up Alcohol: Why You Won’t Be Fun Anymore

“I told your sister you’ve given up alcohol and you know what she said?” my mother giggled, as she stood in the IGA aisle where I’d run into her. “She said that you won’t be fun anymore.”

Two thoughts ran through my head; firstly, why is my mother telling me this and secondly, why on Earth is my sister making inflammatory remarks to my mother, which she must know will be repeated ad nauseam at every given opportunity?

Sure enough, a week later, my mother brought it up again.

“Your sister said you won’t be fun anymore now that you don’t drink,” she chortled, as she sat on my couch nursing a glass of red.

I wondered how I should respond.

It’s not easy giving up the booze. It’s been seven weeks’ abstinence now and I’d been hoping my loved ones would support me.

The truth is, when you decide to do something like this, you have to do it for yourself. 

As someone old and wise once said, you're born alone and sober and you must die alone and sober. 

Yes, I made that up.

Anyway, what my sister is saying is true. 

I’m not fun anymore.

When I go to lunch and I drink ginger ale, my speech doesn’t ever begin to slur and I no longer sound like a sloppy, aging lush and we all know how bloody uninspiring and tedious that can be.

When people come over for happy hour and I’m drinking apple juice, I don’t start loudly pontificating about my political views or become gushy and extravagant over inane rubbish like I used to. I don’t sprout bullshit about crap nobody really cares about. Basically, I’m dull and sober and shouldn’t be invited anywhere.

When drinking non-alcoholic beverages, my eyes don’t go bloodshot and droopy, my nose fails to swell and my bloated face doesn’t flush so red that I look like W.C. Field’s long lost granddaughter. In fact, without booze I still look mind-numbingly normal.

I don’t even LOOK fun without alcohol.

After two glasses of apple juice, I don’t begin to walk with a slight, Johnny Depp-like sway and I don’t begin to stop counting my apple juices because my brain is numbed by ethanol and then proceed to wake up the next morning with a cloudy, pounding head. 

I'm here to tell you, mornings are particularly tedious with a lucid brain. It’s especially unexciting when you remember everything you said the previous night and you have no blackout memory to agonise over. There are no more hours happily spent wondering where that weird bruise came from. Where's the fun and mystery of life in that?

Ginger ale doesn’t make me think my jokes are amusing so I’m even exponentially boring and dreary to myself these days.

In short, I’m just not fun anymore in any possible way.

Only people who drink are fun.

You can’t be fun if you don’t drink.

Cheers to that... /raises a glass of apple juice.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

The Evil Travel Fairies

North Queensland weather!

There are three reasons I don’t travel.

I have too many beloved animals to leave to their own devices, I like my mundane, comforting routine and most importantly, I dread the evil travel fairies who love to throw spanners into the works in order to ruin plans and thus any possible enjoyment.

Naturally, when I planned my recent holiday up north to see four of my five kids, I anticipated the usual torment of plans unravelling in stressful and disturbing circumstances… and I was, of course, correct.

I set my alarm to wake up at 5:00am so I’d have plenty of time to catch the train to the airport and, as expected, my phone decided to randomly expire overnight.

Because I had foreseen this bastard act of fate, I’d requested Scotto set his alarm as a backup.

Hardy ha ha, evil travel fairies.

The 6:04 am train I’d meticulously planned to catch from Nerang station failed to turn up.

As Scotto and I bleakly perched on the train seat, shivering in the pre-dawn wind, I enquired about the train’s absenteeism to the grumpy, uniformed man who appeared to be in charge.

“That train doesn’t run on Saturdays,” he muttered as he walked past me on his way to do his morning poo. I’m guessing that was where he was headed anyway. He had a particular determination on his face that people get when they need to squeeze out a morning poo before the next train arrives.

“You might like to tell them to review the website then,” I called out shrilly through chattering teeth. “It definitely said the 6:04 ran on Saturday.”

“You might like to go and…,” his voice boomed back.

I didn’t catch the rest of what he said. It floated away on the Arctic draught whistling through the station.

“Bloody, constipated fat controller,” I whined to Scotto.

The next train was a twenty minute wait which meant I only just arrived at the airport in time for my flight.

Panicked and agitated, I annoyed two young men who were standing near me when I couldn’t get my luggage tags out of the machine.

“Can you show me how to put these on the suitcase?” I asked a third young man as I stood in the baggage queue.

The bearded hipster examined me pitifully and showed me how the A is supposed to stick to the B when you peel the back off the tags. I’m fairly certain he thought I was retarded but I didn’t care.

I did eventually board the plane which was filled with smelly, middle-aged men heading up for the V8s. But I had a lovely time with my children up north, eating, sight seeing and going to the movies.

On our last evening together, we went to dinner and just as I was about to hop into my stuffed mushrooms, a text came through from Virgin to say my return flight had been cancelled for the next day. The flight they’d swapped me to departed six hours later than the original.

This was exceedingly disappointing. What was I going to do for six hours when all my children would be back at work and I’d had to check out of the motel? The idea of sitting at the airport for six hours was not appealing.

I rang the airline to see if I could get on an earlier flight.

“Do you have a reference number?” asked the man on the other line.

“No,” I replied.

“Do you have the date you booked the flight?” he continued.


“Do you have a bank statement that you can look at?” he persisted.

“No,” I whimpered. “Not on me. It's all at home on my laptop.”

“If you have no details I’m afraid I can’t help you,” he said sadly.

Finally, my daughter Lulu, snatched the phone out of my hand, put it on loud speaker and searched through the emails on my phone for the details. 

"If it's on your laptop it's on your phone, mother," she sighed.

I had all the information in my phone but I didn’t realise I could look through my phone at the same time without hanging up on him. And we all know that the chances of getting back on the line to the same person in the whole of South East Asia are remote even if you catch his name.

I managed to get on an earlier flight which was filled with smelly, middle-aged men heading down for the State of Origin. I spent the whole plane journey building excitement about seeing my animals again. I couldn't wait for the wriggling ecstatic bodies jumping all over me. I hoped Pablo the Chihuahua wouldn't wee all over me like he usually did when he was overly enthusiastic.

The Chihuahua ran straight past me when I opened the front door and chased the cat down the driveway. I get a better greeting when I arrive home after being at the shop for fifteen minutes. 

That's the last holiday I'll be taking for a while. I need time to recover from the stress.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

The Battle with the Booze

I’m sprawled on the couch with a headache, bloodshot eyes, a flushed face and rising nausea.

Although I look and feel as though I’ve just woken up with the ultimate hangover from hell, I haven’t imbibed in alcohol for 33 days and this is what I get for my angelic abstinence… a cold.

Oh well.

It’s better than a petrified liver, I suppose.

I went for coffee with three of my neighbours this morning. Mrs Bunny (my endearing and crazy neighbour), pulled out an apple and began munching on it while we sipped our cappuccinos. I’ve never seen anyone fish out an apple from their handbag in a coffee shop before and it amused me greatly.

I don’t know what sort of apple it was but it was very small and according to Mrs Bunny they come in packets of four which cost $5 each. This seems very expensive to me for apples but she insists they are extra tasty.

Apples are unquestionably my least favourite fruit.

They’re boring and common.

When I was a kid and complained to my mother that I was hungry she would always say, “There are plenty of apples in the fridge, little Pinky.”

Apples quickly became symbolic of parental neglect.

Sparkling apple juice, however, has established itself, in my mind, as nectar from the gods.

Chilled, effervescent and served in a jaunty wine glass, it has replaced the evil poison I used to intoxicate myself with on a daily basis.

It’s allegedly full of vitamin C and helps to ward off colds too, even though that’s clearly bullshit.

After a month off the booze, I can announce I’ve lost no weight, my skin is still not glowing in any measure and I haven’t saved any money because I’m spending it all on sparkling apple juice.

Also, I can’t watch scary movies anymore because I’ve discovered I was living under the fog of false bravado delivered through copious quantities of wine. Scary movies actually really terrify me when I’m cold stone sober; I mean, "can't go to the toilet by myself" terrified.

However, on the bright side, since my giving it up I am no longer afraid I will wake up with yellow, jaundiced eyes. I’m not worried about getting tipsy and accidentally sitting on the cat and I don’t have to wake up in the morning dribbling in fear as to what I might have posted on Facebook. 

Hansel in camouflage 

I think I might aim for the six week mark now this month is done and dusted.

Wish me luck guys!
Also... do you agree apples are boring?