Dark mornings, the sun not rising until I’m on the train. Afternoons never mustering real heat or light, dimming by four, dark again by 5. Wind slicing through the streets of lower Manhattan. Snow, rain, ice. Maybe it’s because of a cold coming on; maybe it’s the cleanse and I’m actually a boring person without wine. But I’ve felt little inspiration to think, let alone write. Oh January, you’re the worst.
Last night I felt a stir of temptation as I walked past a cabinet full of wine bottles, one of them gleaming redly at me. I’m open, it said, its cork tipped to one side. His name was Mark West and he stood shoulder to shoulder to another tempting-looking fellow, a Kendall Jackson. My heart beat, redly. My cheeks flushed, redly. But I kept going, into the kitchen, where I poured myself a glass of water.
I read a profile by the founder of Drynuary – not a fun name, either to say or spell, but it’s not such a fun concept either. John Ore has made a brand around not drinking in January. All 31 days, or so he intends, while freely admitting to a mid-month tipple one year and an “early dismissal” another, due to a dinner at Peter Luger’s (kind of a lame excuse, but who am I to judge?)
Ore sounds nicely non-evangelical, even ambivalent, about his brand. “Drynuary forces us to consider the the role alcohol plays in our everyday lives, especially when its absence is the most obvious or stark. My wife and I don’t hibernate for a month, sipping herbal teas and avoiding glances at the stemware…” he writes. But “by the fourth week,” he says, “I’m sick of whatever it is that used to be interesting about this.”