Saturday, October 27, 2007

today : adults only

The other day I was listening to Elgar's Cello Concerto and drinking a tot of malt. Now I am not a habitual drinker. I can go for months without touching alcohol at all. In fact, there are plenty of alcoholic drinks that I don't even like. Wine for instance. Sometimes it is wonderful, but much of the time I can take or leave it. Unlike many who don't drink I possess no moral stance against alcohol, nor am I in a twelve step programme. I just don't care for it much.

Actually there is a reason why I forswear drinking. If you have mobility issues, then reliance on a car is paramount. Couple that with the sheer amount of painkillers I tend to take, then alcohol doesn't go well in the mix. Rather than being a social lubricant, it becomes restrictive. This, I must admit has led to many a night when I have watched the evening get away from me. Even in a lightly toasted (why doesn't use the word 'tight' anymore to describe intoxication. It seems to have died out in the seventies?) state, a room full of people move psychologically and socially into a place the non-drinker finds hard to access.

Anyway, I digressed away from what I was really thinking about. That is : when did I become an adult?

If you saw me you would think this obvious, as I am clearly a middle aged man. Yet adulthood isn't really about looks. It's more about attitude. It's a concept. A friend of mine who is only slightly younger than I recently bought a house and complained about the sheer responsibility of getting broken bits of it fixed. The roof and the floor were just going to sit there in a state of brokenness until they took on the task of sorting it out. No more calling the landlord.

Which brings me back to single malt whisky. I do like a nip now and again, and keep a decent bottle or two in the house. Whisky is a defiantly adult drink and drinking it is an adult experience. You almost never see young people drinking whiskey. I imagine that appreciation of malt requires a maturity of palate. Let's face it, whiskey is pretty awful in many ways. It's bitter, very strong and has little sweetness to soften the taste. It is, all in all, a rather jagged experience.

Now I'm sure there are millions of people who have written rapturously about whiskey. I'm not going to attempt anything like that. But suffice to say that jaggedness, the sheer borderline unpleasantness, is where the pleasure lies. Whiskey drinking isn't easy. It's complex and challenging. Whiskey is one of those drinks that almost defies you to like it.

Somewhere down the line this became appealing to me. When was that?

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