Monday, 29 December 2008

There's no ale in supermarket, but there is in an aisle

After finishing work today, we went to Aldi to get in a bit of cheap food. (Well, cheap depending what you're looking for, as I've never known a place so closely resemble both Harrods and Help The Aged from aisle to aisle.) I'm guessing they rely on alcohol for a lot of their sales because the final stretch as you desperately veer your trolley of German sausage and proudly British potatoes around the course is like walking up to the pearly gates of alco-paradise: light shimmers from bottles of rose, reflects into glimmering yellow cider, and dies in the earthly browns of two litres of ale.

This moment had crossed my mind when I first made the decision to stop because, I think, it's a pretty obvious moment which I'm sure I've heard others speak about before. It's the kind of thing a 9pm ITV drama would have Nick Berry doing: winning a battle by staying in on a torturously dull Saturday night (watching a 9pm ITV drama) only to suddenly find himself in the sherry aisle during his family's Sunday shop, smashing a bottle over his head to feel the sweet licquor drip from strands of hair into his mouth as he systematically bludgeons six out of ten customers in fruit and veg.

My natural disposition is to take this little tale down a path of tears over wine, sobs at ales gone by and desperate hugs from a tramp heavily laden with industrial cider. However, I must disappoint myself, as the experience was if anything just other-worldly - I was partially conscious of her far behind me and glad for that, then conscious of the shockingly nasty stuff they sell in there, and then, well, it was all behind me and down to that insane scramble to somehow empty your trolley and have it at the other end to fill again, all while in a queue of 12 car thieves.

This is a good thing, and gives me some insight into my views of that kind of drinking - drinking at home, basically, either for that evening or just to "have something in". I felt a reminder that I rarely just buy something to have around the house, as I've said for years that drinking on my own simply ends up depressing me and it doesn't help me "chill out with a film" as that's something I don't want to do anyway, so it's always been a last resort, desperate solution to a night of solitary boredom. I feel that when I have no reason to buy drink from a shop, it doesn't enter my head. As I walked down that aisle there was no urge to buy anything.

There is a caveat to this, though. I didn't want to buy anything because I wasn't drinking any time soon. I know from the past that when buying something for a party, say, that I really hate running out and either having to go out for more or borrow drinks - so I always over-estimate to be safe. This, more often than not, ends with everything being drunk anyway, which usually isn't good. I don't know what the answer to this is. Drinking when it's freely available in front of you is totally different to the phenomenon of paying per drink, and I think might be one of those things that will be addressed by, hopefully, an eventual change in that compulsion I feel to drink if there's no immediate reason not to.

All in all, though, a good day.

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