For a brief moment, I had considered doing Dry January. That is, no alcoholic beverages for one month. As a beer brewer, I'm disinclined to eschew the imbibing of effervescent liquids, especially in January, the second darkest month on the calendar in terms of actual sun, but much darker than December, since we've already done all the gathering and exchanging of gifts and hugs and COVID.
Then I heard about Damp January. This is where you cut down on drinking but don't stop entirely. I encountered some friends early in January at an art opening, several of whom proclaimed that they were doing Dry January. These people quickly opted for Damp January once we left the gallery and found ourselves in a pub. Other friends joined, and based on the several beers they ordered that evening, I would estimate that their January was business-as-usual at minimum, which is to say rather a Soggy January indeed. Soggy January lies somewhere between Moist January (just above Damp), and Drenched January, where you don't drink any beer at all, but instead replace the beer with an equal liquid measure of gin.
Just above Dry January on the continuum would be Humid January, where a thimbleful of session ale is consumed every few days just to keep the tastebuds from withering, and above that is Clammy January, for those people who believe that a small half-snifter of red wine is a necessary evil, consumed in order to extend one's life. (I don't want to drink this Rioja Reserva, but according to research…)
Meanwhile, proponents of Arid January think people who do Dry January aren't taking it far enough and refuse even the occasional mocktail. Parched January afficionados drink only water. Devotees of Dessicated January would prefer to die than let any moisture into their bodies.
I decided that January was an excellent time to brew 10 gallons of beer, currently being converted from sugary goo into actual drinkable beverages. Looking forward to February.
We in New England suddenly find ourselves in the midst of a rare and shocking cold snap. This may be the warmest winter in recorded history, but don't tell that to this weekend. This weekend is getting in the faces of other weekends and tweeting out "How ya like me now?!" It's strutting and preening and signing autographs because today we're going to see some of the lowest temperatures in something like a hundred thousand years!
What's that? Sorry, my fact-checkers say we were still in an ice age 25,000 years ago.
Whatever. Stop arguing with me. The fact is we've got some bitter air here in New England, bitterer than the international bitterness units (IBUs) in my New England IPA. As someone who worries about just how bad climate change is going to be, I am curious if this is the last time we'll see negative temperature values in Boston
I decide to step outside into the wind-swept night to see what the bitter cold felt like against my supple skin. Would it feel like I had landed on another planet? My daughter joined me outside for about 30 seconds, and both of us nonchalantly declared that it was no big deal. Then went back into our warm house. In truth, we weren't in the wind.
Then, at 1 in the morning, with the wind blowing and the thermometer reading -8 degrees F, I step outside to find a rabbit chilling in the backyard, literally, not seeking the warmth of one of those rabbit holes we all keep talking about going down at work. Maybe this one was relegated to the sofa for the night, rabbit-wise.
This morning the rabbit is gone, presumably not frozen to death, and maybe chased back into a hole by one of our several neighborhood coyotes. Based on how it felt last night, the coyotes did that rabbit a favor.
Bostonians claim to be incredibly hardy when it comes to winter weather, but the truth is that the massive blizzard we were treated to this past weekend was a rare event in these parts. Yes, we get nor'easters ever few years, and this was a classic one, with wet air from the south merging with cold air in the north to create the huge counterclockwise swirl of wind and snow that dumped two feet on us. But for coastal Massachusetts, winter weather tends toward the drizzly more than the snowy, and the cold more than the frigid, without the lake effect barrage of squalls that harass Syracuse, NY every year, nor the negative temperature values that you see in Little Canada, MN.
I'm OK with snowstorms because I like to ski afterward, but the irony of this and many other winter nor'easters is that precious little snow falls in the mountains where chairlifts tend to be located. Instead, it falls on our driveways and sidewalks, where it needs to be removed, causing a great deal of strain on the backs, necks, arms, and legs of me and my fellow Beantown citizens. Some people choose to leave the freshly fallen snow right there on the walk, hoping that the sun will melt it away, but that scheme can backfire when the snow melts just a little, then freezes overnight. Now the two feet of innocent, fluffy snow is transformed into evil patches of ice. The only people who benefit from that are personal injury lawyers.
My family did our snow removal via shovel, both the push variety, which acts like a plow, and the bent-handled sort, where you pick up large masses of snow and toss it onto your neighbor's driveway. Shoveling is better for the environment than a snowblower since no fossil fuels are burned in the process, but after a few hours my back screams for mercy and I'm tempted to go to the Home Depot to see what's left. I admit that we did get assistance from a neighbor with a screaming two-stroke gas-burner, who creating a narrow alley on the sidewalk for dogs to leave yellow stains in the pristine snow and letter carriers to deliver much needed fast-food flyers.
I was appreciative, of course, and handed over my small can of gasoline for when he ran out of fuel, as well a couple of quarts of homebrew from my keg fridge for when it was time to head back inside and put his feet up. The pandemic is still present and we don't do a lot of entertaining these days, so someone has to help me drink the beer.
I’m aware from the chatta on many of the social media channels I tune into that the American people want a list of my priorities in case I were ever to become President of the United States. Also, how much time would I take off from the job for leisure activities or hobbies?
Would I get into macrame, for example? Or perhaps be a kegler?
Look, it’s really not safe for me to be bowling in my spare time. First, it’s indoors, so not great COVID-wise. Second, think of the security cost. They’d have to shut down the whole facility to protect me from my enemies.
And anyway, can you imagine if there is international crisis brewing and I’m spending time rolling balls down alleys?
Here is where I confess that, nevertheless, I’m inclined to continue brewing beer in my spare time. Because although American needs to get back to work, America needs a beer worse. So, in effect, I’m leading America by example: working hard, and drinking the beer I’ve spent time brewing right there in the White House.
In addition, I plan to create a social media app called “Chatta.” Stay tuned on that one.
J'Biden Era Haikuage
People's Arms. That's right!
200 million shots
In 100 days
We are good people
But we still have far to go
Repair. Restore. Heal.
There's nothing new here
The Affordable Care Act
We're restoring it
Democracy is fragile
The world is watching
Strategy is based
On Science, not politics
Truth, not denial
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