In sophisticated settings, people are always drinking whisky. It’s a real grown up drink: the classy men and the alluring Anna Kareninas of this world drink whisky. So do larger than life people, and people who are falling in love, and young and stupid people. It’s the type of drink I imagine writers drink, the bohemian ones who smoke a lot of cigarettes and never sleep during the night.
I saw old Japanese men drinking whisky at a bar in Tokyo once. They each sat at their own table with their faces half covered by a cloud of smoke. I thought that was very cool.
Whisky is the type of drink that makes me feel like a character in a story whenever I drink it. In the old days, I would feel giddy when it would start to rain and we’d run into bars in search of shelter and end up ordering whisky because that was the kind of thrilling thing people did in novels. Whisky is a grown up drink but in those moments, I didn’t feel like a grown up at all. I felt stupidly young and carefree and invincible, like everything about the world was right and would stay that way forever just because.
I didn’t even like the taste of whisky back then but I liked how drinking whisky made me feel. I don’t mean drunk; I mean reckless in a good way. Like my life was exciting and like I was an exciting person. Spontaneous moments like that always made me feel like I had discovered the real meaning of life: who cares about unanswered emails, and errands, and all the perfectly good reasons you had to be upset. The only thing that mattered was a life full of moments that made you feel like your life was full, and that you were happy, and that you had at least one person in the world who loved you and would always love you, no matter what.
At the beginning of the year, I bought a bottle of whisky and placed it on a shelf in the kitchen next to the coffee and herbs. I’ve always wanted to be the type of person who drank whisky and actually enjoyed it. Paul says I’m Scottish now because I finally finished the bottle. I have no idea if it was good whisky or not. I bought it at Lidl and felt like an idiot when I was staring at the rows of bottles pretending I knew what I was looking for. I drank it out of a wine glass because that was the best alternative to not having a proper tumbler.
Probably when I’m older and thinking about my time in Edinburgh, I’ll remember these dream-like nights drinking whisky and feeling sophisticated and young all at once. It will probably gleam very golden in my memory,and I’ll probably feel very tender and wish I could go back in time to relive it all again. Whisky is very much a wistful drink and I am very much a wistful person. I think that’s why I like it.