I am not a man of cravings.
That is to say – I am ostensibly a life-form who doesn’t want for too much and have been, broadly speaking, been blessed with coherent-enough thinking to make arrangements for things I desire which may take time to acquire.
To my detriment, this extends to my intake of food and liquid. Much easier to satisfy than my lust for travel, I have lived an adult life of eating what I want, when I want. Essentially, I’m a product of my time, devouring products of our time.
Consequently, it was to shock, doubt and (allegedly) horror that I announced my intentions to engage in 42 days of detoxification. 6 weeks of no wheat, gluten, dairy, processed food, sugary drinks or alcohol. Basically – 1008 hours with no fun and limited choice.
Wife included, I wasn’t expected to travel too far into the detox by many.
I suppose they didn’t account for (or know) of my gritty stubbornness. I’m no scientist – but I’m also aware that my chemical make up is somewhere in the realms of 6 parts flesh and bone to 1 part stubborn. That being the case, I can confide in you, the reader, that I am 14% stubborn.
Born from this has been my success, to date, of the completion of the detox. For 5 weeks I have successfully negotiated the many potential pitfalls that have arisen. I’ve remained a social creature, though less seen in public during the early hours. Importantly – I’ve stayed loyal to the cause.
Until this weekend: read – weakend.
My wife, loyal to the extreme and a wealth of information and recipes in all things detox instantly turned enemy. She delivered me into the welcoming palms of the most pub-friendly town in the most pub-friendly country. Ballarat.
Concrete is made up of 1 part cement, 2 parts sand to 3 parts cement.
Ballarat is made up of 1 part friendly locals, 2 parts beautiful architecture to 3 parts alcohol-dispensing establishment.
We were there under noble terms. A friend had entered into the Ballarat International Foto Biennale and we wanted to be there to support her on opening night.
After realising that approximately 30% of all Ballaratian buildings were, in fact, pubs – my blood pressure began to rise.
We parked our beloved vehicle 3 streets (6 pubs) from the gallery opening (the last of those pubs a sports bar with a screen for every booth!).
It doesn’t take an alcoholic to pick up when a venue is selling cheap booze. I became agitated.
Having not eaten in hours, I also grew hungry. Granted, that’s a pretty standard order of events for most people.
Afterwards, we ventured to a nearby pizzeria.
My heart sank. I was defeated. Valiant – but ultimately not good enough. Just like North Melbourne.
The aforementioned schedule meant I was beyond hungry. Not to mention tired and emotionally weakened. 1 week short of my goal – it was lost.
This was the exact establishment I was born to frequent. Wooden interior, dimly lit, woodfire pizza, friendly staff and locally brewed boutique beer.
Frustrated, exasperated and disheartened upon the realisation that the glorious menu in front of me contained only one suitable item, I yielded.
“It’s done,” I said to my wife beside me. She gave me a forgiving, knowing look.
Earlier, I had called for extra time from the waiter and had now succumbed to the understanding that I would have to face friends and work mates with the news that I had cracked near the finish. I had hoped to find clarity in the extra time, but none had come. My heart beat viciously in my chest to the point of distraction.
Surrendered to the ignominy of falling at the final hurdle I was thrown an expected lifeline.
A friend at the table handed me a drinks menu to peruse before cackling out the fact that I, of course, couldn’t have one. Revelling in her better position and, no doubt, sensing my defeated persona. She could smell an easy kill, a notch on the belt – Detox-Destroyer pulled the menu away from me.
The waiter returned. My mind made up.
“Would you like a drink, sir?”
“Yes please…I’ll have a water, thanks.”
Stubbornness won the day.