Solitary, Hard Labor and a Cold Beer

La Cerveza Mas Fina

I’m not much of a beer drinker – never was – not even when The Ex and I were home-brewing. I do enjoy a beer now and again and I particularly enjoy a nice bock. If I’m in the mood, Guinness is good. When in London, I fell in love with dogbolter.

Tonight, it’s Corona Extra. The label tells me it is la cerveza mas fina. Perhaps. Personally, I think Negra Modelo es la cerveza mas fina. But I’m not going to quibble when Corona is the only beer in the house.

There’s nothing like hard labor to bring on the desire for a beer.

Normally, wine is my drug of choice. And tonight, while painting and planning the celebratory beer, I puzzled over why it is that collapsing in a chair, grungy and exhausted after hard labor, my first thought is to grab a beer and not a nice malbec. It’s a testament to my normal slothdom that the only beer in the house is two bottles of Corona left by a dear friend following my birthday bacchanal. I don’t collapse grungy and exhausted from hard labor nearly enough.

People don’t crawl out from underneath a car after an oil change and grab a pinot grigio. Nope. Beer is for manual labor. [If I tell the story about taking apart the carburetor, washing it in Joy dishwashing liquid and reassembling it while sipping a fine merlot, I will contradict myself so that story will have to wait.] Cleaning out the gutters doesn’t provoke a German white or a cheeky sauvignon blanc. Nor does housecleaning, dog bathing, raking, or car washing. Beer is to manual labor what champagne is to New Year’s Eve.

While embroiled in the bowels of home maintenance, the evening has also been one of comfortable solitude.

Just about this time of year, five years ago, I became the only human living in this house. Having always been one who required more than the average amounts of alone time, the specter of living alone was a friendly ghost. I craved solitude. And quiet. Dear God, I needed quiet. My life was noisy and frenzied and stressful. Solitude sounded like a wonderful thing.

I have a decent stereo system, but I don’t believe in music as background noise. If I’m going to listen to music, I’m going to sit and intently listen to music. I do, however, tend to listen to music while attending to mindless tasks – tasks like painting. Tonight, though, I wanted the quiet. I painted and listened, intently, to the quiet. I heard the roller’s slight squeak as the paint spread over the wall and I heard the squeak of the floorboards. They were nice sounds.

Even after 5 years, I enjoy the quiet and I enjoy the solitude. My life is still noisy and frenzied and stressful, but the house is as calm and quiet as I choose to make it. Right now the house is quiet and the tapping of the computer keys sounds especially loud. There’s a train off in the distance and its faint noise highlights the quiet. It’s nice. I’m a fan of quiet (and trains).

The beer is about gone and I should go to bed – I’m tired, but I’m loathe to go. I’m enjoying my thoughts and the quiet as well as feeling virtuous that I’ve finally applied a fair amount of paint to the study walls. There’s something to be said for solitary, hard labor and a cold beer.