I remember the first time I had a beer alone. I was working at a men’s magazine – my first job in publishing – and we were in Pagudpud beach shooting the magazine’s first calendar. The night before, I zonked out in bed after dinner, exhausted to my bones from the day-long shoot. The rest of the team, I learned from a member of the resort staff the next day, stayed on, stayed up, and plowed through two cases of beer. Without waking me. So obviously, when I woke up bright and early the next day, everyone else was still snoring. When the resort staff snitch told me what they were up to the night before, I felt so disappointed because I missed out on a night of drinking. So I grabbed a beer from the cooler and had an alcoholic breakfast on the beach while watching the sun rise. At that moment, I felt oddly free. Like an eagle soaring over everything.
I also remember the first time I got drunk enough to throw up. It was my birthday and the guys at the magazine took me out to 70s Bistro on Anonas to celebrate. To the music of The Jerks, I downed my Lolita Carbonara dinner with bottle after bottle of San Mig Lite. I didn’t feel drunk then. I just remember feeling very happy and jumpy. But when I got home, my first stop was the bathroom. Until now, because they provided the soundtrack to my first intoxication, The Jerks hold a special place in my heart. They have no idea who I am, but whenever I hear them play, I feel especially happy.
As I type this, I feel a tingling going down my spine, turning my legs into jelly. My eyelids have become heavy, partly, I guess, because of the late hour, but mostly, I’m sure, because of the half-full bottle of San Mig Lite standing beside my laptop. It still tastes wonderfully enticing, like walking barefoot on freshly cut bermuda grass. It burns down my throat then sends coolness all the way through to the tips of my fingers and toes. But beyond that, I love how it slows down time, how it slows me down and makes me grin like a fool at the screen. The bubbles tickle my lip every time I take a gulp and I have to drink faster because it’s summer now and the bottle will warm faster. No one likes to drink warm beer.
I set the bottle down and marvel at the fact that I have quiet time to enjoy my beer. I think it’s better to have a beer with live music playing somewhere nearby, but what I have now is cool, too. Years ago, I would have turned this into an angst-filled, John-Hughes-infused melodrama fest. But I’ve discovered that the great thing about growing older is that life is more comfortable. Angst gets left at the door and isn’t missed anymore.
So tonight, I drink for the sole purpose of celebrating life (and some quiet time). Cheers!