I Drink Alone

Nathan Gismot, November 19, 2014

“I drink alone...I prefer to be by myself.” -- George Thorogood

Some people can’t stand being alone; I am not one of those people. I tend toward introversion, and while I like being around others, I need time to myself.

It might sound paradoxical, but one of my favorite introverted pastimes is to spend time alone — without being joined by any acquaintance — among crowds of people I don’t know. To me, it’s liberating to be able to simply be there without having to draw out my thoughts or make conversation with someone else. Put another way, I often find that I lose something of myself when I spend a lot of time interacting with other people. Being alone, whether at home or in public, affords me the chance to be myself — and, insodoing, recharge.

This is all quite fortunate, because, due to a class my Lady is currently taking and her hectic work schedule, I’ve been spending quite a bit of time by myself over the past several weekends. I miss her, to be sure [cue sitcom audience track, “aaawwwwww”], but I’ve had some cool little adventures in solitude along the way; and some of them have involved drinking excellent beers.

Take, for example, my attempt at watching the classic Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Western, “A Fistful of Dollars.” As a rule, my Lady doesn’t care much for old movies, whereas I — a child of the 80s raised on the Marx Brothers and Looney Tunes and Abbott and Costello — like their bygone sensibilities. At any rate, I realized one solitary evening that I hadn't ever seen any of the old Eastwood classics. The occasion seemed to warrant something special, so I went out to the best liquor store in town, perused its wares, and brought home a fistful of Pivo Pils to accompany my viewing. Suffice to say, the beers were great; but I didn’t make it more than 20 minutes into the movie before turning it off: For whatever reason, I couldn’t abide the dubbed voice-overs of the Italian actors playing Mexican riff-raff. That's alright: I adjusted my expectectations and rented the newest "Godzilla" flick.

On a different weekend, I found myself presented with one of those quintessential crisp-air, blue-sky Fall days. My dog was restless (not a euphemism), so I put her on a leash, tightened up my Tevas, and brought us both down to New Belgium Brewery. The tasting room was especially lively that day, and I felt completely at home as I sipped on my Ted’s Beer (a berlinner weisse) and benignly granted access to my dog to the canine-friendly patrons who periodically stopped by to exclaim, “a corgi!!”

Last weekend was similar in that I again decided to indulge my jones for public solitude. My Lady was able to take a dinner break from her homework, so I picked her up from the library and we had a nice meal. I dropped her off afterward and thought to myself, “you should go and spend a little time at the Mayor of Old Town.” Folks, the Mayor of Old Town has 100 beers on tap. It’s the Taj Majal of beer for Northern Colorado. They serve a dizzying variety of beers (rotating taps, naturally) from coast to coast and all points in between. And, invariably, it’s completely packed on weekends: perfect. And so it was! I found a bar stool at the 50 yard line and proceeded to enjoy three solid beers in the following order:

Lawyers, Guns, & Money: big-time fun to order. I started laughing in the middle of it, as a matter of fact. As I drank it, I started reading through and editing my previous post here about palate effects, and became sufficiently absorbed into the process as to unlock my public solitude achievement: The bartender interrupted me to ask (with apparent levity) what I was doing mouthing strange and silent words into my Samsung — I had been unwittingly reading my post “aloud” to myself to scrutinize its dubious cadence. Under different circumstances I might have rushed to some excuse for my weird behavior, but not on that night — no. On that night of Blissful Public Introversion, I made no excuses whatsoever, and declared, “I write about beer for BeerGraphs. Are you familiar with BeerGraphs? You should read BeerGraphs.” The bartender nodded, repeated the name, literally took a note, and gave me a knowing smile.

And that brings me to tonight, which is inauspicious compared to the others, perhaps, but satisfying to me nonetheless: I’m alone in my living room. Some of you might think that’s sad, and that my choice of beer for the evening — Loser by Elysian Brewing — is some kind of subconscious self-commentary on my current state of being. I assure you that couldn’t be farther from the truth. With apologies to Sigmund Freud, sometimes a beer is just a beer; besides, the solitude is relaxing.

Nate’s on Twitter and Untapp’d @nategismot.