Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Day 17 - Street-Wise

Absolutely unbelievable! I'm more than halfway done this cleanse! 

I know I often say this when I'm on a cleanse, but I totally mean it: this has been one of the easiest cleanses so far. They all seem to get easier as time goes by. I really feel my body enjoying the break. I feel healing taking place. I feel rest taking place. Plus my skin looks waaaay better. ;) 

I mentioned 'swifties' last time I wrote, that civilized UK tradition of popping into a pub for a 'quick one.' ;) Gotta love a swifty. However, there was some swifty controversy (pronounced con-TRA-vah-see) while we were in London.  

We were walking through Soho our last Saturday afternoon and passed this ancient pub we had visited the week before, Nellie Dean's. It had been a Friday night and the place was SO packed, dozens and dozens of people had spilled onto the sidewalk outside. In fact, Soho was absolute mayhem that way. Spring Break times a million. Every single one of the dozens of pubs had big groups of people outside, laughing and drinking and flirting, oblivious to everything but their mates and their pints. 

At any rate, as we were passing the pub again that afternoon, the hubs said: "How about a swifty?" And I'm like: "Absolutely, old chap!! High ho! Just to keep our energy up, of course! Onward!

I should mention that you don't always get table service at pubs in the UK, you often have to go to the bar to order. So to save me from looking like the old lush I am - and so that the hubs could illustrate his British-style gallantry - he always went to the bar to grab his beer and my wine. 

But as we walked into Nellie's for the second time, the bar was right by the door. There were plenty of tables available, so no worry hurrying to nab one. Instead we both walked up to the bar. When the bartender asked us what we wanted, the hubs stepped aside. Gallantry can verge on sexism if the boy orders when the girl's right there, right? 

"Pinot Grigio please!" I chirped. The bartender did the usual then, further illustrating the incredible civility of English life: "Would you like large or small, miss?" (Well, he probably called me 'mam' but for the purposes of the story, I'll say 'miss.') 

Hmmm. Large or small glass of wine. Hmmmm ... decisions, decisions. Wrong!! Are you kidding? I think you can probably count the number of times I've ordered a 'small' glass of wine when given the choice, so naturally, I said "Large, please!" I think I might have even clapped my hands in excitement. Keep in mind that a 'swifty' is usually a small glass of wine and a half-pint for the hubs. Also keep in mind that we'd already had one swifty that day (if not two) and we hadn't even had lunch yet. 

*aside: Hey! Don't judge! You take Ms. Functional on holiday to the pub capital of the world just before her cleanse starts and there's bound to be some serious indulging, okay? That's what London/pubs/cleanses are for! 

So we took our drinks and sat down at a pretty table by the window.  Even the most rundown pubs in London have fresh flowers around. It doesn't matter how old/new/grungy/chic a pub is, there are fresh flowers on the tables or bar - sometimes both - and Nellie's was no different with a little bud vase on the table. Also very civilized. 

But as we settled in for our drink, I could tell the hubs had something stuck in his craw.

"Sup?"I ask him, sort of thing.

"I can't believe you ordered a large wine," he said. "This is just supposed to be a swifty. We haven't even had lunch. I don't want you to get too drunk or tired and have to go home." 

Gulp. That's me gulping my wine, btw. Not gulping in fear.

There was a day when I would gulp in fear/anger/resentment when somebody commented on my drinking - especially the hubs. In fact, according to the experts, being offended when someone brings up your drinking is a red flag that you've got a problem. And in the old days - whoa - good luck to anyone who had something to say about how much I was drinking because they would have a serious fight on their hands. 

But those days are honestly over for me. I talk about my drinking and I let other people talk about my drinking. However, it's been years - many years - since my husband has had to say anything about my drinking at all. Very different from before I started cleansing when just about every occasion (and even just hanging around at home) was prefaced by: "Be careful how much you drink" or "Don't drink too much" or "Should you really be having another already?" kind of thing. 

At any rate, there it was. I was getting some mild chagrin for my big glass of wine. I looked down at my glass - still half full (gleaming pale gold in the sunshine). The hubs was already almost finished his own half-pint, but I knew if I gulped the rest of my wine quickly I probably would be feeling it. Especially on an empty tummy. 

On the other hand ... I really hated the idea of leaving half a glass of perfectly good wine behind.

The hubs intuited my dilemma and a little lightbulb popped on above his head. "I've got an idea," he said and got up from the table and went to the bar. He came back with a plastic glass. Because in London they have a solution for the dilemma of leaving a half-finished drink behind. 

It's called drinking on the street!! Or 'in' the street as they say over there. 

From Wikipedia: Drinking in public is legal in England and Wales – you may carry a drink from a public house down the street (though it is preferred that you request a plastic glass to avoid danger of breakage and because the taking of the glass could be considered an offence of Theft as only the drink has been purchased), and you may purchase alcohol at an off-licence and immediately begin drinking it outside. Separately, you may drink on aeroplanes and on National Rail trains, either purchasing alcohol or consuming your own.

Seriously? "Um, excuse me, Mr. British Immigration Officer? Canadian woman wants Visa! Asap please!! Will work for wine!"

So with a big Cheshire cat grin on my face, I poured my vino into the little plastic glass and nursed it for the next half hour while we kept wandering around Soho. It helped keep a smile on my face and my energy up - without letting me get too drunk chugging it down in the pub. 

Btw, I wasn't the only one drinking in pubic. It was like one huge outdoor festival in Carnaby Street. Thousands and thousands of people out in the streets, block after block, drinking, talking, laughing, sitting on sidewalks and in parks, singing, playing guitar. You could hardly move!! The police were everywhere, but we didn't see any fights or angry drunk guys or anything. Everyone was just having so much fun. Very civilized! 

Of course, partying in public may explain why alcohol abuse costs the National Health Service more than 6 billion pounds a year. Which is why Ms. Functional really has to get that UK visa application in - pronto. I've got some livers to save! 

11 days left to go!