Thursday, March 08, 2012

Break from detox for birthday drinks at Sticky Mike's Frog Bar and other excuses

Bar staff serving up shots, Sticky Mike's Frog Bar, Brighton, 2012. Photo by Eliot Gill
My weekend off was largely understandable. From Thursday night to Monday evening, I was officially off the detox. My birthday drinks, farewell to Nadege and that handbag auction were all good reasons to drink and be merry. See that photo above; it accounts for a lot.

This week: I spent Tuesday this week back on the detox, followed by a Wednesday where I wasn't because it was writers group and the rule of writers group is that you drink unsensible amounts, talk serious writer's shop, then stay up late going from bar to bar, drinking even more.  We had our inaugural meeting at The Eagle upstairs function room - only to discover it was closing down in a few days. "They told me they didn't have any more red wine," said Tara. "I asked, how can you not have any red wine?"she replied. "The bar staff said they're shutting down so they're serving literally whatever they have left."

I stared at the red walls in the upstairs, and noticed how mirrors and decoration had already been removed. It felt like a ghostly room. I felt sad. So many memories from when I first moved to Brighton, going to parties up here full of people I didn't know at the time, but would get to know.  More recent memories too: Mark Walkers leaving do from SCIP only a few weeks before. I know closures aren't a permanent thing, but it felt like a sign of the times, that the downturn in the world around us might actually make it a final farewell for The Eagle. Shame. Food was topnotch these days. 

To my credit, I stopped drinking long before everyone else last night, when we left the Great Eastern; at The Green Door Store, I sat without a drink while everyone else easily sunk two more down. We ran into a North African musician I had on two years ago at my night, and his mate. One of my friends knew the mate. I taught everyone how to snap and do the California handshake. Jazz was playing next door, and suddenly a man I once went out on a blind date with early last year was standing in front of me, talking in my face. Not in an unpleasant way. He was there and then he was gone, and I'm not sure what I said.

Two of my friends decided to make an impulsive decision to stay on, while I called it a night. Scraped coins to get a taxi take me up the hill. When I got home, I sawed off two slices of my mate's loaf and stuck them in the toaster. The ungodly wheat.

My detox/nondetox this week has also been accompanied by a killer cold. It's literally gone for my throat. Symptom of the detox working - or susceptible victim to the nasty bug that's been doing the rounds at work? Who can say.

Today, I was doing all the right things again - vitamins, milk thistle, no caffein, etc, apart from not having lunch packed and buying a paella from Tesco. Yeah, the detox says no rice, but I can live with that.  Actually nothing about this pre-made food is part of the detox, but I didn't feel like I was going to do myself any favours eating another weird mixture of a palm sized bag of sugar peas zapped in the microwave tossed with lukewarm prawns for a second lunch this week. I picked the bits of potato and red pepper as a small nod to the detox and the 'things I'm not supposed to eat'. Two days of sucking on cough drops probably isn't hitting that detox YES button, but having a cold that makes you feel like you're wandering around in a fog isn't worry suffering over detox perfection for. 

Tonight, I sat in the Grand Central pub to kill some time before my massage. I felt heartened by a story the bartender told me. He once detoxed for a month and a half. "It was the worst timing when I did mine. Everyone was having events."

"And what did you do? Did you have little breaks to drink?"

He shrugged. "I just drank lots of soda water - and juice. It's not easy, even at the best of times, unless you're completely by yourself all of the time, then it's easy."

Then he took a half step backwards, nearly knocking over a row of red wine bottles behind him, and laughed.

The moral of the story is that I should probably stop making excuses for my detox detour and just get on with it. Maybe I should skip the beer and cider festival this Saturday? I'll let the cold decide. 

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