Sunday, October 13, 2013

Alcohol Free State

I just spent the weekend in Lawrence KS, attending the Mother Earth News Fair (their first in the Midwest), peddling Sandhill's various comestibles (sorghum, horseradish, mustard, pepper relish, tomato salsa, tomatillo salsa, barbecue sauce, and damson plum jam).

When I got into town Friday evening I had a date with my good friend, Deborah Altus, who lives in town with her husband Jerry and their son, Eli. We agreed to meet up at the Free State Brewing Company, right downtown on Massachusetts Ave. (I've been to Lawrence a number of times over the past decade and I have a soft spot in my heart and palette for good draft beer—you gotta love a place where they have 13 beers on tap, four of which are IPAs.)

While waiting for Deborah I learned something I didn't know by reading the placard on my table that offered fun facts about historic October dates in the Sunflower State: Kansas approved the repeal of the Volstead Act (by a margin of six to five) in my lifetime. Though it was 15 years after the rest of the country did so, Kansas didn't ratify the 21st amendment to the constitution until Nov 2, 1949. I was eight days old. 

While I admit to a tendency to view anything that happens near my birthday as significant, the whole thing made me laugh because here I was sitting in one of my favorite brew pubs—the perfect place to celebrate the legality of selling adult beverages in Kansas—and I was drinking ice water. 

At my counseling date with Ma'ikwe last week, our therapist asked us to abstain from drinking any alcohol while we were working with her. (It turned that she'd meant to ask us to take the pledge when we started working with her last February, but in the urgency of our situation—Ma'ikwe was prepared to end the relationship that day if the initial session didn't go well—it slipped her mind.)

Because I am in the habit of having (on average) one drink a day, this represents a non-trivial lifestyle change. Further, it wasn't clear to me how my consuming alcohol at this level affects my behavior, my thinking, or my emotional availability. Mind you, I wasn't defending having a snort right before a counseling session; rather I was confused about how a drink one day affects events the next day. According to our counselor though, alcohol still has demonstrable affects 36 hours after last consumption—even at small levels.

Taken all together, I agreed to join Ma'ikwe on the (band)wagon for the simple reason that my marriage means more to me than the drinking and it's important that I do all that I can to make the most of this opportunity to reconstitute my intimate partnership.

Thus it was that I found myself at a Kansas brewery Friday night, reading about how prohibition was repealed at that location almost on the day I was born, and yet I could only toast the occasion with a glass of water. If you look at life through the right lens, there are times when irony can be pretty hilarious.

1 comment:

Dondi said...

Oh Laird, It's been a long time, but I feel closer reading about your amazing life. Yes, the irony. I appreciate you!