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Oregon coast

May 3rd, 2001

A beautiful day. Warm, sunny. We get any more of these and I'm sure we'll have a rolling blackout. I'd say OK, since my own apartment is located on a blackout protected block, but it wouldn't just be a matter of emptying out the building and slipping into a cool booth at Pacific Coast Brewery for a cold one. I assume they too would be blacked out, unless they have an air polluting generator hidden somewhere up on the roof. Micro breweries? Can they exist without power? Does the beer go bad so they have to have a backup generator? Might. What am I saying? A rolling blackout and I'm going home, have my Scotch and water under my new self instituted health program and take a nap. Let's be honest. My afternoon drinking days are over unless it turns out without power the beer will go bad and they have to sell it on the sidewalk for a nickel a glass. (Man, free beer on the street: I must really be tired.)

One sign of this aging business is my one drink a day self imposed health plan. I'm kidding, but Christian I'm not. When I was in the wine business in the early eighties we followed some of the studies on alcohol consumption and cholesterol. The classic question arose when you examined the French. The French consume a diet that should kill all of them off before they turn forty, yet strokes are not a big factor in their mortality rate. The question: Was it the fact they drank red wine? Was red wine doing something that allowed them to eat their high fat, high cholesterol diet? There have been more studies since, but the result isn't the red wine or the white wine, it's the alcohol itself. No alcohol is bad. Too much alcohol is bad, but a drink a day cuts your risk of stroke by something like 40%. Forty percent is a lot. Doctors don't like to recommend this to patients, because patients find it difficult to stop at one. Many drinks lead to problems we are too familiar with.

The reason I say this is a sign of ageing is I really do have to force myself sometimes to take a drink. Yes, I had a beer now and then, but not every day. When I was younger and in the middle of writing a book, I attended the San Francisco Mystery Writer's dinners every month and we'd talk about our various experiments with our writing routines. Marijuana, no problem. There was a theory that it was good for your writing if you wrote stoned long enough so that you couldn't tell the difference between the writing you did when you were stoned and your writing when you were straight. Once the two merged, there was no reason to write stoned again, but you could. Alcohol, on the other hand, was universally condemned. Couldn't do it. Sloppy ugly stuff came off the typewriter and out of the pen. Same with the hangover that followed. Nothing about it made you want to sit down and work.

One drink seems OK. I've been thinking of having my beer with lunch and keeping my evenings totally clear (headed), but so far, I'd say so good. Gives you a little buzz, but it doesn't put you off enough to skip the journal. One drink a day. Medicine.

A note for Rien: I bought a bottle of Glenmorangie, the 18 year old stuff. I figured that way I couldn't afford more than one drink a day. Insurance. Just in case the doctors are right and I'm full of shit. Again.

A house on the Oregon coast and Christian, my brother-in-law in Lake Oswego. The quote is by Fran Lebowitz.