I was relaxing with a cup of tea the other day and watching Air Crash Investigations when a couple of things occurred to me.
The first is that Air Crash Investigations is not a very relaxing programme. The second is that tea is not a very good evening drink, at least not for me. It’s not because it’s not a good drink, nor because of its caffeine content. It’s because it’s not special.
Different drinks have different places in a daily routine. Take my own: Tea is what I drink in my breaks between writing, as a reward for having worked hard, and a spur to work some more; orange juice, is some kind of laughable nod at a healthy diet; and water is that thing I have when I need to put liquid in my body so I don’t die.
Along the same lines, since I stopped drinking I’ve found it really important to have a special drink. If you have a special drink, you drink that drink when it’s playtime, but conversely, you know it’s playtime because you’re drinking that special drink.I believe they call that classical conditioning. So when you crack one open, it gives you that little tingle of excitement. Yes, I know how sad that sounds.
The drink could be sparkling water, or it could be ginger beer – the Scrappy-Doo of soft drinks. But for a drink to be special, there has to be something different about it, and bubbles can help in that.
You need to keep that drink pretty much sacrosanct for this to work, so one idea might be to simply never drink anything fizzy outside of playtime. Unless your job involves belching, in which case (a) go for it and (b) are there any vacancies in your department?
Non-alcoholic beer or wine are also pretty good, as long as you know you can drink them without being lured back into alcohol’s domain. On a separate but related note, why do supermarkets always require authorisation why you buy non-alcoholic beer through the self-service aisle? Is it considered a gateway drug? An adult theme? Or is it because they think non-drinkers might miss being challenged about their age?
Personally, I’d find it hard to treat alcohol-free beer as something other than special anyway: I used some to wash down some headache tablets the other day and it didn’t feel right at all.
And given the known psychological effects of drinking such products – even of 0.0% content – you could make a strong case for avoiding it when doing anything from which alcohol is precluded. Like operating machinery. Or flying airplanes .
“This is your captain speaking – cheers! *burp*”
Like I said, keep it special.