As I wrote before, I’ll share in this blog useful and useless reflexions. Well, this one topic is useless.
It’s telled that you can philosophy about everything. Well, this topic is about beer.
Indeed, beer, being an alcohol liquor, “blurs the Cartesian distinction between res extensa and res cogita that has dominated western thought for over five hundred years”, between reason and unthinking, between education and barbary. Of course, taking a beer is also at the same time a source of both pleasure and harm: it limelights the problems of distinguishing between control and excess, between man an animal, and – in the sad case of addiction – between vice and disease, whowing your Mr Hide to te world, unchained of the society rules. But hey, that’s not what we are going to talk about now, I was just trying to get fancy. Here’s the real and useless reflexion about beer.
Happiness consists in a cold and cheap beer with good company, once told me a dear friend. This is the kind of phrase that she certainly doesn’t remember saying. But that is the beauty in this anonymous but important sentence – at the moment, for me. You’ve certainly had, without knowing it, as do I, said things that to us seem meaningless: a routine sentence during a routine conversation that the other one will remember, think about it, make an important deal of it and, maybe, as I did, wrote it somewhere to, some day, give a shitty and useless reflexion in a blog about it.
This simple sentence took me to this reflexion: no matter how full your life may seem, or how empty, there’s always room for a beer. I’m not making an apology of alcoholism, or justifying it, alcoholism is wrong, as any addiction. I’m not as well pretending to undercover a truth, but just giving my opinion about what the “beer time break” represents in my opinion.
Best thing when you drink a beer is not the beer and the taste itself, but what this moment represents.
Indeed, try to remember this moment when you take a cold beverage, during the afternoon and a hot day. This moment when you’re just in the outside terrace of a bar, that you take with a dear friend the first sip of this beer that is at 0º. We all enjoy that, but less for the flavour of the beer than for the moment itself.
It represents a moment of break, a relief during a busy day, that all of the cause-consequences of this days guided us here. During this moment you’re just enjoying this first sip, without wondering about the work, the studies, this paper, essay or analysis that you have to give tomorrow, the last defeat of your favourite team – I’m for Barça, so it doesn’t happen often – or when you finish your examination – even more when it did not pan out – and you go with everybody to the nearest and every-day-bar with your friends that shared your sentence. Well, about any of your routines troubles. You’re just happy to put behind you this day and, because of that, it’s the moment when you’re the most able to say: fuck it, let’s start again, it’s a new day.
Why’s that? For me, it’s because I’m just taking a cold beverage that I appreciate, knowing that I’ll have twenty minutes without worrying of anything, with a friend at my side that I know that won’t worry me, that I’ll pass twenty minutes talking about useless things – or not, remember the marvellous script of Pulp Fiction, by Tarantino “That’s when you know you’ve found somebody really special. When you can just shut the fuck up for a minute and enjoy the moment”. It has arrived that I’ve walk 40 minutes to go with some friend or a work colleague to some bar because someone said that “beer is free for one hour!” or “beer is half the price for one hour!” And of course, you enjoy most the moment if it’s free of cheaper!
In the movie Patterson, of Jim Jarmusch – a tremendous movie, believe me, as would probably a say not so tremendous president – the main character, who have an easy life, enjoying routines moments and the beauty of this unique moments, always, every day of the week, after the work and before going to bed, goes to this nearest bar walking the dog to take and enjoy the daily pint.
Patterson movie, the daily beer-time
During my 2-month mission to Madagascar, to take a personal example, we had what we called a “THB party” – THB is the local brand, synonym of beer – where after a long day in the nearest city, where tropical raining started, all wets, after that returning home herded in a bus – the famous “taxi-brousse” – and then, almost home, the bus had a breakdown and had to wait for another one, our Malagasy friend proposed to go to a bar and invite us to some THB. We had fun, laugh about the day and for everything else. And that’s how life would have to be, even if it’s for just an hour on a moment.
Writing that I think about the lyrics of Charles Aznavour’s song, Emmenez-moi:
Furthermore, I think that beer favours talk, communication and help to bring people together. When I see a long date friend at Barcelona, Perpignan or anywhere we always go taking a few beers and just talk, about us, about new things, about the system, we philosophy about the injustices and how bring a new system etc. During my exchange semester at Stockholm or when I started a new year at Grenoble, people of the campus always organized some “beer-talk” where you just go, take a beer, and talk. Why’s that? Of course, it’s part of the occident culture to take a beer but it’s also a way to have an excuse to see each other and talk. And talking, debate and learning about everyone culture and differences is the richest thing and the most useful mean to avoid ignorance, racism, sexism and populist vote. Remember that in 1984, of George Orwell, they try with the Newspeak to reduce drastically the number of words and, coupled with an extremism individualist policy and culture, reduce the conversation and the thinking.
So that’s why I think, taking a cold bear with a friend is one of the good examples of a carpe diem philosophy – did Horace or Ronsard were fans of the beer-time? – even if it can also be a good carpe noctem during the parties.
Well, that’s what this quote of my friend made me think about that I share here.
Marc Becat Busquet