A Place I’ve Never Been

This morning my wife told me about a CNN article she ran across describing a developing trend about the decline in alcohol consumption in the US. It opened with a description of a New York gathering place that was alcohol-free and featured a drink called a “shrub” – a club soda drink with a vinegar, fruit, and sweetener mixture added.

In my refrigerator at this moment is a cruet filled with ginger and turmeric infused apple cider vinegar sweetened with honey. A small amount mixed with club soda makes a nice mid-day drink that I have been enjoying for several years now. Since I don’t drink alcohol these days and have been drinking shrubs for years, I find myself in a place I’ve never been before.

I’m ahead of a trend.

Not sure how I feel about that; I’m generally suspicious of trends. It took me a long time to join Facebook, and I have only recently been made aware of something called Instagram. I’m confident that at least 80% of my smartphone’s capabilities go untapped, since I’m still struggling with the fact that I don’t have a phone – I have an extremely powerful pocket computer that also happens to function as a mobile phone. Generally speaking, I’m out of touch with what’s happening at the moment.

Since trends are by definition a fleeting thing, I assume that the fact that I’m in the forefront of this one will last a couple of hours at most. Then I can go back to being so far out of the loop that I can’t see the loop from where I’m standing. And that’s okay; I’m pretty comfortable there.

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A career working with teenagers on the fringes of society has made me both sensitive to and appreciative of the complexities of character and the struggles, inner and outer, that we all wrestle with in one form or another. My writing emphasizes character development over action, and, as a lifelong Southerner, the rhythms and cadence of the Southeastern United States influence both my spoken and written voice.

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