Remember when I said we’d get back to this? Morpheus of the Endless and his human buddy Hob Gadling meeting up at a bar? If so, congrats on your amazing and prodigious memory, because it was almost three months ago that I was expressing my coveting of a watercolor storyboard depiction thereof. Still, better late than never, right?
So the reason why I put the discussion on hold back in August was because it related directly to my wife’s pregnancy, which at that point was only like six or seven weeks along and thus not an appropriate blog topic. We’re well past word-on-the-streets now, though, so I am free to point out that, unlike the unnaturally long-lived gent and his anthropomorphic embodiment of the power of stories above, my wife and I have not been doing much drinking of late. It’s not great for the baby, ergo my wife abstains, and both in support of her and in recognition of the fact that it’s no fun to drink alone, I (largely) abstain as well.
It shouldn’t strike me as all that odd anymore, it really shouldn’t, and yet it does. My wife and I have been married for almost six and a half years, and during that time she has been pregnant for a total of about twenty-two months (and counting) and nursing for another couple of years all told; more than half the time, in other words, she’s severely or completely restricted her intake of alcohol and other things that are no-no’s for expectant mothers. And even in the interims between having children, we’ve (duh) been raising children, which means very few opportunities to behave irresponsibly ourselves.
You may or may not have noticed that one of the tags I use for my posts sometimes is “vices”, a word which I apply to a wide range of behaviors and indulgences. Drinking and smoking and other mood-altering miscellany qualify, but so does gambling and other addictive behaviors. Even sleeping in late feels definitively unvirtuous enough to fall on the side of vice in my mind. But the thing is, I really don’t do any of those things any more, not habitually at any rate. To be fair, my wife did arrange for a couple of my buddies and I to go out to World of Beer for my birthday and I took full advantage of their wide selection, and just the other night on Halloween there was some ale-enjoying as well (and my wife sampled a small sip of the Oktoberfest I started with, as well, so it wasn’t entirely swilling in selfishness). But, as I think I’ve mentioned before, I have a good-sized bar in my house but it has yet to be properly unpacked and set up, three years on. This past storm-extended weekend I finally began the process of unboxing a lot of the liquor, but that was mostly so that I could cordon it all off a little more securely because the little guy’s train table was being relocated and set up nearby.
I can’t ever say it enough: I love my kids and I love being a dad, and if I hew a little closer to the line of clean living because of my darling little dependents, I’m nothing but happy about that trade-off. But … work and/or the kids wake us up early every single day. And it feels like a million years since the last time my wife and I just jetted off to Vegas for funsies. (Technically I would count the football pick’em pool as gambling, too, but dudes are we doing mediocre-to-awful in that this year, hence the lack of updates on that front, in case you were curious.)
I guess the notion of (lack of) vices is prominent in my thoughts today, I suppose, because the only big one left is eating: too much, too often, too chock full of sugar and salt and fat and all the other unhealthy yet hyperpalatable good stuff. I don’t go on benders or blow wads of cash at the tables; I hit the Taco Bell drive-thru. Some of it is due to my tendency to self-medicate with whatever endorphins deep-fried meat tickles out of my brain. It’s also entirely possible that I need X amount of satiation and when I cut back on everything else, stuffing my gullet picks up the slack. But, unsurprisingly, now that it’s a couple days after Halloween and I’ve been gobbling up candy and junk food round-the-clock for the past several days (possibly weeks?) I have reached the point where my stomach, on behalf of the rest of my body, is saying “OK, NOW, REALLY, THAT’S ENOUGH.” I feel like I need some kind of weekend-long vegetable broth cleanse or something, having insanely over-overindulged in my one remaining overindulgence.
And then of course, as usual, I come back around to the point where I realize that the luxury to even contemplate what to overdo (or not) because all basic needs are essentially already met should inspire no feelings in me other than humble gratitude. It’s just that sometimes I have to take the long winding path to end up getting my head in the space where it’s supposed to be. So, don’t mind me. At the end of the day I know I should seek moderation in all things, even grumbling about circumstantially enforced moderation.