Sunday, April 18, 2010

Saturday Purge, and Trouble with a Former Penal Colony

Saturday, still thinking about the last 24 years of my life, and this new change, I decide to make some alterations to my life beyond diet.

Although it sounds simple, it was enormous undertaking – I began to purge my clothes. Partly for the new size I wear, but mostly because I have too many clothes that I have not worn in years and years whether they fit or not.

After a giant bowl of oatmeal, raisins, and flaxseeds (by the way, I have not noticed feelings of sluggishness since increasing my seeds intake), I got to work on my shirt rack.

I filled a garbage bag of shirts alone that I will take to the Archdiocese to drop off. I still have 43 dress shirts. For those in the UK, dress shirts mean shirts you would wear with a tie, or to work. I made the mistake of saying dress shirts around some Londoners who teased me since, I suppose, “dress shirts” in England are like tuxedo shirts – fancy dress. Whatever you want to call them, I’ve got 43 of them – is that an absurd number of shirts for a man?

Saturday night I met a great friend down at the chic lounge at the recently opened SOHO Trump Hotel. I joined her, another former co-worker, and a few others. They had a significant head-start on me and were many bottles of wine deep in the evening. Being that I am not running this race, I settled in for some seltzer and joined the conversation. My friend sent me a text warning me that the group was pretty sauced, but as I have stated many times before, I can hang out easily with people who are drinking, or even eating steak. In fact it is almost insulting that I could not handle temptation right under my nose – it’s been 5 ½ months of swatting away temptation like King Kong downing bi-planes from the Empire State Building.

The women at the table, and one guy who just flew in from Australia that day, immediately started in on me. Basically, they were so sure of themselves, and their energy force of fun that I would quickly succumb and join them in drinking. “Oh, please, c’mon on, order a drink,” was quickly replaced with “We don’t trust people who don’t drink!” Now these were all mature, successful people, and a teetotaler was not welcome at first. Soon enough my gregariousness watered down their insistence that I drink with them. However, the Aussie was looking at me with that drunken, sleep-deprived cock-eyed look that said simply, “I don’t like you.” His mumbled insults about me not drinking were grating my nerves. Not only was my manhood challenged by a foreigner on my own turf, it was done over an activity, drinking, that I used to excel at. In fact, I am quite certain that in my prime I could out drink the entire front row of the starting Australian rugby team (Sorry, Mom, but my country needs me). But what was most annoying was that I am not some dilettante invading this table and turning my nose up to these people marching through bottles of Chardonnay. I explained myself more than once that I would love to join them but I am a mere 2 weeks from completing a six month quest. It didn’t stop. I was in the mood for something hot, so I asked the waitress to bring me some hot tea in a glass. I purposefully did not order a tea cup and all the accoutrements. I just wanted some hot tea in a water glass. When it came out the mumbling Aussie exclaimed, “Who the hell drinks tea at this hour?” Well, I snapped. I apologized for not drinking my tea at the appointed time of 4 PM, but last I checked the last time a foreigner questioned us on how we consume tea it ended up at the bottom of Boston Harbor! So I said, “Look, in three weeks time when I return from Ireland, Mr. Aussie, I challenge you to a drink up! You and me will have a drinking contest, and I will even let you bring a buddy, and I will take both of you on, and we'll see who is left standing!”

It was explained to me for the 800th time that he is Australian, like they cornered the market on drinking prowess. Well, this is New York, pal, where drinking is an art form, and I have spent the better part of 10 years mastering this hobby, and, coincidently, often with good pals from Down Under -- friends of mine from Sydney who are well aware that I am no shrinking violet and respect this new lifestyle of mine.

Now, I know this seems shockingly infantile on my part, but damn it, I hate when people cannot understand the endeavor I have chosen and are unable to just respect what I am doing, and shut your mouth. No matter how cool you think you are, no matter how much fun your group is, I am not going to deviate from this self-appointed challenge no matter how often you goad me. Deal with it! I am not an energy-suck, I am not bringing the table down, and I am not being judgmental about how other people live their lives. If anything I am envious of your rotating bottle service. My gregariousness added to the group, not subtracted from it, so if they can't stand the fact that I not hoisting my sail to achieve my three sheets to the wind, tough.

I have been taking lots of good natured ribbing since November 1, I expected it, hell, I wanted it! This lifestyle change for me, going 100% vegan for 6 months, and adding no drinking to boot, was bound to disrupt the universe in which I live, and I expected it. I enjoy the jokes, and good natured insults, but when it turns to contempt, and from a stranger no less, well, I get a little pissed off.

Other than that it was a fun Saturday night.


Anonymous said...

I am posting anonymously as I am clearly responsible for this misguided tour and I feel bad! Although it made for an interesting column today and you were able to even derive a catchy title, which was impressive.

Nevertheless, you have had an army of enthusiastic supporters so don't let one drunken sot ruin the bunch. You handled him perfectly. He actually informed me (with a smile- no BS) today, "your friend seems like a really nice guy."

So, while I am sorry he rubbed you the wrong way, you managed it perfectly and came out looking like the better guy in the end He had a ranging hangover today and possibly some embarrassing flashes of "what did I say last night"??

See, there. You've grown!

Terrence said...

Thanks sweetie.

garden said...

Steve Dixon had the best all purpose comeback to any and all insults. Simply look the aggressor square in the eyes, and reply with disdain,``You`re so cool.`` No one has a comeback for that.

Naina said...

OK, I am a Mom first, next an RN.
This bet you have made could be disastrous!

You have cleaned up your body. Just as too much sugar, salt, and fat get to you now. You will not handle alcohol the same way either.
It takes time to build up tolerance to drugs. Being a nurse I worry, in an effort to win this battle you will seriously hurt yourself. People die from Alcohol poisoning.

Sorry for being a drag. But, I am worried. If you insist on this, at least talk with Dr. Fuhrman first. Your life is more important, than proving yourself to some drunk.

Way to go on cleaning out the clothes!

Terrence said...

Thanks Naina - but not to worry, there will be no actual contest! It was just macho posturing to put the guy in his place! Sorry it came across that way to take it so literally, but thank you for looking out for my health!